As Nigeria joined the global community in marking the 2021 World Environment Day on Saturday, June 5, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) called for the protection and restoration of ecological systems.
To be able to do this, according to the organisation, Nigeria must take concrete steps such as urgently quitting addiction to fossil fuels, stopping promotion and use of pesticides and herbicides, risky genetic engineering technology, and massive destruction of ecosystems through reckless exploitation of nature.
Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, said: “One would have to be totally insensitive not to recognise that we are in a state of multiple environmental crises in the world today. No wonder many of the United Nations Days celebrations, such as the World Environment Day, are all hinged on restoring the environment.”
The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “Ecosystem Restoration”.
The Director stated: “The theme reinforces our conviction that something is wrong with our environment and all hands must be on deck to save it. For Nigeria, the message is that it must wean itself of fossil fuels addiction and transit to clean and safe community-driven renewable forms of energy that ensures harmony with nature.”
Bassey added that the resilience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depends on preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems protected and preserved for the benefit of present and future generations.
World Environment Day 2021 emphasises the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature as humans are completely dependent on ecosystems for good health, water, food, medicines, clothes, shelter, and energy.
The organisation disclosed in a statement: “HOMEF believes that the health of humans and the health of the planet is One Health.”
Magdalene Idiang, HOMEF’s Volunteer Coordinator, said: “This is why we have to stop invading forest ecosystems, destroying homes of species and manipulating plants and animals for profit and by so doing, creating conditions for new diseases and pandemics.”
She warned that the use of poisons and agro-toxins, such as pesticides and herbicides, to kill pests and weeds lead to desertification, pollution of water, soil and air, and destruction of biodiversity.
Aside the practice of using agro-toxins, the agricultural sector is suffering from increased campaign for the adoption of genetic engineering technology in crop and animal breeding, Idiang noted, adding that the technology erodes biodiversity, disrupts ecosystems, and undermines food systems.
HOMEF notes that the dominant pattern of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, the extinction and disappearance of species and the climate emergency being experienced. It urges the respect of planetary boundaries, ecosystem and species integrity as crucial steps in protecting and restoring ecosystems.
“To restore ecosystems, the government and the public must stop harmful environmental practices and put an end to deforestation, industrial pollution, promotion of genetic modification of crops and use of toxic chemicals.
“World Environment Day is a day of action and not mere talk,” HOMEF concluded.