According to observers, the World Earth Day reminds humanity that the earth is theirs to protect and preserve but, over time, humans have abandoned their roles in protecting the planet because of selfishness and drive for profit.
The International Mother Earth Day’s theme this year urges man to “Invest In Our Planet” as a means to building a liveable future for humans, other beings and natural systems.
“This is in the best interest of humans as we need saving, not the planet. We have had extremely negative footprints on the Earth, transforming, exploiting and consuming without thinking of replacing or replenishing the stock of what we are consuming. We tend to think that the Planet is limitless and that the gifts of Nature can be grabbed without any sense of care or responsibility,” said HOMEF’s director, Nnimmo Bassey, in his address at an activity to mark the day.
He added, “It is obvious that humans have gravely ignored the need to see climate change as a catastrophic phenomenon. Globally, leaders are more ready to invest in destructive activities than to invest in climate action. In Nigeria and the rest of Africa we tend to believe that if other regions gained by polluting the atmosphere, we must exercise the right to pollute so as to attend their level of so-called progress.
“Nigeria keeps flaring gas in the oilfield communities, pumping millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and poisoning both the people and the environment. That is called progress at the altar of foreign exchange. Deforestation is going on at alarming rate all across the nation. Where is climate action in that? The world is moving away from internal combustion engines or cars using petrol and diesel, perhaps we may be celebrating the fact that we will become the cemetery of discarded cars and machines.”
Bassey further stated: “Today is a good day for everyone to decide to be active ecological defenders in our communities. We should also reject risky agricultural genetic engineering as it erodes our biodiversity and thus negatively impact our environment. Do not engage in polluting activities such as destructive mining, oil theft, deforestation and other wasteful actions. Reject single use plastics. Plant a tree. Be your brother’s keeper. Love and invest in our planet because we have no Planet B.”
Israel Orekha, the director of Connected Advocacy, spoke on the topic “Invest in our planet” expressed optimism that the earth has a potential to get better if we invest in our youths.
“There is a gap in capacity and inadequate knowledge in our youths. The need to bridge the gap is by involving young people in the drive to sustaining the future and to adopt an eco-friendly solution,” he stated.
Babawale Obayanju of Environmental Rights Action (ERA/FoEN), who spoke on the “Future of the Earth: Plastic or Fish”, noted that, over the years, the investment in the future has been investment in machines.
“With continuous upgrade and modernisation in our equipment, we have become modern day slaves and we are losing our culture and identity as Africans. Our future should be in the interconnectedness with the planet and how we can protect our fishes which we suffocate with our waste and plastics in our oceans,” he said.
Bassey added: “At Health of Mother Earth Foundation, we believe in the intrinsic Rights of Mother Earth and the rights of humans and other beings to be respected and to live in dignity. Our work cuts to the root causes of the problems in terms of our food systems, the state of our environment generally and our right to hold and share knowledge towards building resilient and sustainable societies.
“It is time to build up courage and to preserve and protect our health, and our livelihoods by embracing alternatives that are sustainable, healthy and safe for the planet and we must stop all forms of destructive extractive activities in Nigeria, Africa and the world.”