Towards sustainable environment

climate violation, environment
Oil spills in Bodo, in Gokana district of Ogoniland, have devastated the local environment.

By natural design, man and his environment ought to, and should live and cohabit harmoniously. Either of them should not take undue and manipulative advantage of the other. In other words, they are both expected to play a complementary role to each other.

Environments, in their unaltered natural state, provide numerous benefits to the health and general well-being of man. The health condition of people living in more natural environments, with agricultural land, forests, grassland or urban green spaces near their residences, empirically-proven, is far better than persons living in cities.

It is a fact that man’s relationship with nature, since time immemorial, has been exploitative. Virtually every step in human history has been accompanied with a leap in environmental degradation. The primitive hunter-gatherer tribes, due to their limited population size, did not impact significantly on the environment.

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But later on, humans developed efficient ways of sustaining themselves as advancements in technology and agriculture took new dimensions. The technological mileage then allowed for more permanent settlements. Hence, human population grew rapidly, and that only indicated that additional resources were required to cater for the expansion. The breakthroughs also enabled cities to emerged and take shape from little societies.

The growth of cities created a wedge between people and nature. Nature became what we could control and profit-off, instead of something that should be part of us and we should also be subject to. As a matter of fact, global environment has been adversely impacted by human activities through releases to the environment (polluting emissions, discharges, waste production etc.); changes to (degradation of) land/habitat; and through the use and depletion of resources.

Agricultural activities (like soil tilling, grazing, and fertilizer/pesticide application), burning of coal and natural gas to generate power, use of refrigerants and coolants (ozone-depleting substances), sewage and industrial discharges, oil spillage, urban development (tree and vegetation removal), dredging, energy production (exploration and drilling), creation of transport infrastructure (like roads, highways, bridges), and deforestation/logging, among others, have continued to destroy the ecosystem, its diverse habitats and exotic biodiversity.

Considering environmental factors in the early stages of decision making (e.g. for projects, product development); reducing energy consumption and increasing the use of renewable energy sources; advancing, developing, and employing green technologies; reducing consumption of resources; increased reuse and recycling, thus decreasing resource consumption, waste production and disposal; promoting eco-efficiency and green procurement (through buying more environmentally friendly goods and services) are effective ways to control and check the spate of environmental degradations.

Abdulsalam Mahmud





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