Home » Africa: Lagos State UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Urges Urgency on Climate Change as World Bank Warns of 140M People Displacements by 2050

Africa: Lagos State UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Urges Urgency on Climate Change as World Bank Warns of 140M People Displacements by 2050

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Sustainable Development Solutions

After the resounding success of the webinar centered on the role of youth in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), organized by the Lagos State region for the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN), this webinar, a significant component of the SDGs advocacy program of UNSDSN Nigeria, delved into the pressing theme: “How Urgent is Climate Change? A Call to Action for Youth.”

The driving force behind this remarkable event was none other than Zainab Aderounmu, the Lagos State representative for UNSDSN. Her vision was crystal clear: to ensure that every individual is not just aware of but also actively engaged in pursuing and achieving the SDGs. This commitment to inclusivity and collective action lies at the heart of sustainable development.

The event drew in distinguished speakers who are trailblazers in the field of sustainability and environmental stewardship. Among these luminaries were Mosimileoluwa Alabi, the founder of RecyclubNg, whose dedication to promoting recycling practices has had a profound impact on environmental conservation.

READ: Africa: Lagos State Government Unveils Plan to Support Exporters, Aims to Become an International Trade Hub with New Export Promotion Policy

Ashade Abdulsalam, the founder of Green Janitors, brought his innovative solutions to the forefront, highlighting the significance of eco-friendly janitorial services in preserving our planet. Lastly, Adesola Adegeye, the astute CEO of Ecobiz, shared invaluable insights into sustainable business practices, emphasizing the pivotal role of enterprises in driving positive environmental change.

Mosimileoluwa Alabi, the founder of RecyclubNg, has a mission: to educate and empower young people to become environmentally conscious leaders of tomorrow. Her organization’s focus is on climate change and finding practical solutions to this pressing issue.

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So, what exactly is climate change? It’s a significant alteration in the typical weather patterns and temperatures that make up our climates. Importantly, it’s largely driven by human activities. Mosimileoluwa explains the distinction between natural disasters and climate change. While natural disasters have identifiable causes, climate change is a more gradual and widespread transformation that can lead to disasters like floods.

She draws attention to real-world examples, like the floods in Lagos, which can be attributed in part to climate change. In some regions, such as the northern areas of Nigeria, rising temperatures have hardened the soil, making it difficult for farmers. This is a sign that the Earth, as originally designed by God, operated in a delicate balance.

Historical data collected by scientists provides evidence of how climate change has evolved over time. Human activities have increased the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases, originally intended to provide warmth to the Earth, are now trapping too much heat, resulting in climate crises like floods and droughts.

Scientific charts indicate a sharp increase in carbon emissions into the atmosphere, making it challenging for natural systems like trees and plants to absorb these excess emissions.

Mosimileoluwa emphasizes that there’s only one Earth, and it’s our collective responsibility to work towards a sustainable environment. She acknowledges that we can’t eliminate industrialization, but we must develop sustainable solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. If we don’t act now, the Earth’s rapid transformation will lead to devastating consequences.

She introduces the concept of a “net-zero carbon emission goal,” which means balancing the amount of carbon emissions we produce with what can be absorbed by natural systems like trees, oceans, and soil. She stresses the urgency of taking action promptly because the consequences of climate change are already visible, and if we delay, the damage will be irreversible.

In conclusion, Mosimileoluwa effectively conveys the essence of climate change, its causes, and the urgent need for solutions. She inspires her audience to recognize their role in mitigating climate change and working towards a more sustainable future.

Ashade Abdulsalam, the founder of Green Janitors, highlighted a critical aspect of climate change: its profound impact on international peace and security. Climate change exacerbates competition for vital resources like land, food, and water, leading to socioeconomic tensions and, in many cases, mass displacement of people.

Think of climate change as a “risk multiplier” – it makes existing challenges even more severe. People may be forced to leave their homes and migrate to survive due to the growing threat of climate change. The World Bank estimates that without immediate action, over 140 million individuals in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and more will be forced to migrate within their own regions by 2050.

Furthermore, a staggering 90% of disasters are now linked to weather and climate, costing the global economy a whopping $520 billion annually. These disasters push 26 million people into poverty each year.

A recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that unless we significantly reduce our reliance on coal, oil, and gas within the next decade, global temperatures could rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, surpassing the targets set in the international Paris Agreement. This would result in irreversible and catastrophic damage.

So, what can individuals do to combat climate change? One crucial step is to reduce our “climate footprint” by using fewer fossil fuels. Young people, in particular, should be aware of the growing risks that climate change poses to human health, infrastructure, food and water resources, and the planet’s biodiversity.

Two key actions are mitigation and adaptation:
Adaptation: This involves efforts like restoring natural floodplains to reduce flood risks, planting trees in cities to cool urban areas, managing cropland more efficiently, improving water use, strengthening healthcare systems to cope with extreme heat, and preserving wetlands as natural defenses against coastal flooding.

Mitigation: This means reducing the release of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. To achieve this, we must cut emissions from major sources like power plants, factories, vehicles, and agriculture. It requires a fundamental transformation in how we power our economies, grow food, travel, live, and consume products.

In summary, Ashade Abdulsalam emphasizes that climate change is not just an environmental issue but a global security and economic challenge. To combat it, we must collectively reduce our carbon footprint, adapt to changing conditions, and urgently transition away from fossil fuels to secure a sustainable future for our planet.

Adesola Adeyege, the CEO of Ecobiz, offered a vital perspective on climate change. She stressed that climate change is not a separate issue but intricately linked to everything we do in our daily lives. She urged us to understand that if we don’t take action promptly, it could unravel the progress we’ve achieved over the years. Climate change’s impact is already becoming evident, and if we ignore it, the situation will worsen, potentially leading to mass migration and other serious consequences.

Adesola also encouraged us to view climate change as an opportunity rather than just a problem. She emphasized that we can address climate change in a way that benefits people, the planet, and our economies simultaneously. In other words, by taking action against climate change, we can create a win-win-win situation where we protect the environment, improve our quality of life, and drive economic growth.

In essence, her message was clear: Climate change is a challenge we must face head-on, and by doing so, we can transform it into an opportunity for positive change and sustainable development.

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