TCI Magazine
The Environment

The Gospel of Safe Environment

The environmental is one aspect of our life many people either do not understand, or are not keen to bother about. But without our environment, life as we know it on planet earth will cease to exist. For instance, a little rise in global temperature as a result of human activities could spell unprecedented cataclysm. As at 2021, the Land-Ocean Temperature was about 0.85 degrees Celsius. According to climate researchers, humanity can barely cope with a temperature increase of about two degrees Celsius. Anything above that, there will be no telling what will befall human beings and life on earth as we know it!

Environmentalism is a form of religion. To be an environmentalist, one has to have a new birth into it as Christians do when they become born again. I will never forget the day I became a born-again environmentalist.

It was in 2010. I was a piano teacher teaching piano in private homes, mostly of expatriates, in Ikoyi and Victoria Island. Before that period, I had taken an interest in environmental issues. I read books and every article on environment I came across in newspapers and magazines.

Each day, before making my rounds at homes where I had teaching appointments, I would visit an empty plot of land near Falomo Roundabout, close to the police barracks where some aboki (Hausas and Fulanis) sold discarded good, including used books and past editions of magazines. Some of the good books I have on my shelf today were bought from that place.

That particular day in 2010 at Falomo, I picked up an old copy of TIME magazine dated April 13, 2009. It was a special environment issue with a cover story titled “Vanishing Act: How Climate Change Is Causing A New Age Of Extinction” By Bryan Walsh. I bought the old magazine and left for my piano lesson.

After I finished teaching the students I had in Ikoyi, I went to Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, where I had another lesson around Idejo street. Having gotten there a little bit too early, I decided to sit on a pavement in front of the Chinese Embassy on Idejo street and read my environmental magazine. It was a story of Andasibe, a rain forest in Madagascar, which the author called ‘the library of life’ due to it being home to a large part of the 8 million species of life on planet earth!

The author also describes Madagascar, “which separated from India 80 million to 100 million years ago before eventually settling off the south-eastern coast of Africa – a geographic isolation which made it a Darwinian playground, its animals and plants evolving into forms utterly original.”

About 90 percent of the Island’s plants and 70 percent of its animals are endemic, meaning that they are found only in Madagascar. Bu here is the sad news:

What makes life on the Island unique also makes it uniquely vulnerable. “If we lose these animals on Madagascar, they’re gone forever,” says Russell Mittermeier, President of the wildlife group, Conservation International (CI).

That loss seems likelier than ever because the animals are under threat as never before. Once lushly forested, Madagascar has seen more than 80% of its original vegetation cut down or burned since humans arrived at least 1,500 years ago, fragmenting habitats and leaving animals effectively homeless. Unchecked hunting wiped out a number of large species, and today mining, logging and energy exploration threaten those that remain.

“You have an area the size of New Jersey in Madagascar that is still under forest, and all this incredible diversity is crammed into it,” says Mittermeier, an American who has been traveling to the country for more than 25 years. “We’re very concerned.” Madagascar is a conservation hot spot—a term for a region that is very bio-diverse and particularly threatened.

Suddenly I was overtaken by a strange emotion. Why are we humans so destructive of God’s property, the earth, our environment? I asked myself. I did not know that tears were splashing from my eyes down my cheeks. I did not know too that one of the security men at the Chinese Embassy had been watching me. Although there were other young people around who had come for visas, the security man came to where I sat and started asking me questions. I stood up and started walking down to the house where I had piano lesson.

Deep down me, I knew that something fundamental and significant had happened to me. I was a born-again environmentalist. It was similar to a spiritual experience I had one day in 1992 at the Obafemi Awolowo University – the day I became a born-again Christian.

From that day I had that experience in front of the Chinese Embassy at Idejo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, my passion to care for the environment mounted daily. I became an environmental activist and writer. I voraciously consume books, newspaper and magazine articles on environment. I took it upon myself to preach the Gospel of the Environment.

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