The objective of this literature is a multipronged three-dimensional approach to finding sustainable measures to abate the underway global climatic conditions which in turn could save our collective future. It implicitly seeks action on three fronts:
1. This study seeks to draw the urgent attention of a broad range of potential climate regulating actors, including citizens, local communities, government bodies, policy makers, the private sector, and civil society organizations to the current state of the world climate and projections for the future (in the face of action or inaction)
2. It seeks the collaboration of these actors in pooling their collective resources and multidisciplinary experiences and intelligence to aid in creating a safer, cleaner climate for the world
3. It also aims to ratchet up advocacy on the far-reaching dividends inherent in the collaboration of climate regulating actors as they encourage the advancement of green spaces in various communities across the world.
Summary of study
•The current state of global climate and the projected future
•How human actions exacerbate the situation
•Way forward – what we should start doing
•The likely outcomes of our new action
“…and if possible, trees should be planted on bridges!
Green life should permeate every sphere of the society.”
– Ayobami Onakomaiya
19 years into the third millennium, the bleak reality of our time is right before the eyes of every man – climate change. It is clear the world is almost toppling on its face before a continuously changing world climate, which primarily is being engendered by the vast amounts of carbon combustions daily and universally discharged into the atmosphere. While the cost of inaction will continue to mount, remaining on this path without pro-active and well-directed efforts at slaying the global dragon may pose a future threat to the livelihood of all nature, especially humans in the coming decades. How rapidly we take decisive steps to ameliorate this strain on the world climate will determine how sustainable the future will be in few decades to come. This level of urgency, without doubt, is a far cry from what should be.
In a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activities have resulted into a continuous rise in global warming above ideal temperatures and the surge is expected to continue, drawing with it, some potential climate risks on natural and human systems if restraining measures are not set in place. In another data released by the Global Commission on Economy and Climate, the last 19 years since the start of the twenty-first century have been characterized by critically rising global temperatures, with 18 of those years being the hottest on historical record.
In effect, the changing climate over this protracted period has had widespread downsides, posing huge threats to national economies, plant and animal life, and human settlements across the world. As reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the changing world climate has resulted in a broad variety of uneven climate conditions such as hot extremes in most inhabited regions like Sub-Saharan Africa, contrasted by heavy precipitation in some world regions, alongside some intense drought and precipitation deficits in other world regions.
On biodiversity, various plants and animals have become vulnerable to species loss and extinction. Sea level rise, water scarcity and crop failure in some parts of the world are also climate deficiencies, with these, increasingly forcing people out of their homes and communities. According to the World Bank report: Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration, by 2050, more than 143 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia could be forced to move within their own countries in search of less vulnerable places to live.
Having enunciated some of the ills being triggered by the ever changing world climate, some curious inquiries come to mind:
• What should we start doing?
• How can we abate this climate situation?
• How can we still ensure a sustainable future in spite of these ever scaling challenges?
All three inquiries are the same, in which answers to them are not far-fetched. If actions would be taken to intensely mitigate the climate situation as will be recommended, we can achieve our ultimate goal of a collective sustainable future, underpinned by cleaner and safer societies.
As earlier mentioned, the major causes of climate change are the huge amounts of carbon emissions daily and universally dispersed into the atmosphere. One significant way to curtail the spiraling climate challenge caused by carbon emissions is to take urgent steps to intensify carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere.
A global response on CDR would neutralize widespread carbon emissions and help achieve net zero CO2, dampening down the projected global mean temperature to 1.5oC (fair global temperature for the estimated future date) – by mid of this century, 2050. To accelerate this global decarbonation process, decisive actions are urgently needed on two major fronts:
1. Rapidly winding up the era of deforestation and degradation of the world’s forests
The world’s forests are generally major assets which drive economic growth for countries. In a data report released by the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, forests directly support the livelihoods of more than one billion people. They strongly support and regulate the climate underpinning the global economy. Also worth mentioning is the fact that forests are the only currently available large-scale, proven, and cost-effective technology for carbon capture and sequestration.
The global goals (SDGs 13, 15 and the Paris Agreement) on climate action cannot be met without aggressively slowing down, halting and reversing global deforestations. In a 2017 report published by the World Resources Institute, Washington DC, conserving forests could even cut down carbon emissions as much as getting rid of every car on earth.
Winding up the era of world’s forests degradation will require a combination of pro-active measures, including the protection of forest areas, better land use planning and enforcement, improved policies and forest governance, and divestment of investors from deforestation-risk companies. Incentivizing citizen actions which are targeted at accelerating the winding up process of the deforestation era through innovations, advocacy, or other measures will also be catalytic in galvanizing more citizen efforts to deliver on the zero-deforestation goal.
2. Intensifying Efforts at Encouraging More Green Spaces!
Some two billion hectares of the world’s landscapes are available for reforestation as highlighted in the pages of the 2018 New Climate Economy report. This offers a wide range of opportunities for trees planting, natural forests cultivation, sustainable agriculture, just to mention a few. As mental projections already show, this would in no small measure boost progress on the world climate and environment goals, as they would largely aid in decarbonizing economies, which in the long run, would substantially evolve societies into cleaner and healthier forms.
What are we saying?
Plant more and more trees! We shouldn’t nurture our natural world barely for survival. Man was made to thrive. Support trees planting projects, establish institutions that will enhance the advancement of green spaces, heighten the green spaces awareness, and let the campaigns go wider and viral! Let the world be enlightened to go green!
Drawing from a video documentary released by the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Environment, an astounding two-third of the United Kingdom’s territorial space is covered by trees! In effect, the lifespan of citizens are prolonged, and air pollution is sequestrated to a minimum. Other countries can follow the trail as well! Nigeria for example, has ample opportunities to advance its green space efforts, but this starts with a new level of thinking. We need to see the society we inhabit, not as a wasteland, but to foresee it through the refined prism of what an ideal society should be.
We need that mental shift, to begin with – foresight, rather than poor sight. Narrowing this literature down to Lagos Nigeria, major road sides are bare – no trees. Mid-road terrains which offer massive creative spaces to exemplify green initiatives – no trees. Residential avenues, street road sides, firms’ environments, public offices and ministries, religious worship centers, restaurant environments, and many other areas all need to be ‘greened’; and if possible, trees should be planted on bridges! Green life should permeate every sphere of the society.
Globally, these efforts will require decisive political will and leadership from governments and policy-makers, while the private sector, civil society organizations, and other concerned individuals all have critical roles to play.
We are on the cusp of a new era, and now is the time to set all actions on course for the delivery of the great promise of bequeathing a sustainable world to the coming generation. The cost of inaction in regard to these recommendations may be appalling in the coming decades. However, if urgent actions are taken, the society reaps the dividends, and our collective future is saved at last.