Amazon Rain forest wildfire: The dangers of Uncontrolled deforestation and lessons for Nigeria.
“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and one another”-Mahatma Gandhi
One of the major misconceptions of mankind is the mentality and ideology that certain elements of nature can be relegated and this mindset has led to various nefarious human activities towards nature without actually taking time out to evaluate the consequences of these actions. It is pitiable that mankind has failed to realize or better still ignored the fact that nature is not a place to visit, but home because if we do, we would rethink these detrimental actions one of which is deforestation. Deforestation in simple terms is concerned with the conversion of forest land to ranches, farms and urban use and the major action involved in the felling of trees. Forest, according to Gautama Buddha is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life activity; it affords protection to all beings, offering shade to the ax-man who destroys it. This statement vividly shows the importance of forest towards environmental sustainability notwithstanding its economic importance.
“If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls.”-Jane Goodall
A reasonable process of deforestation is aimed at converting these forest resources into useful products such as paper, plywood, firewood amongst others. But over the years, there have been cases where most of the forest resources have not been properly harvested thereby causing a massive depletion in ecology. Taking a critical look at the World’s Largest Rain forest, the Amazon forest in Brazil as a case study, which cuts across eight different countries and occupies about 40% of the entire South American continent according to reports from an environmental research organization. The rain forest, which is home to over 30 million indigenes as well as different wildlife species and generates about 20% of the world’s entire oxygen whilst absorbing around 90 to 140 billion of carbon has been experiencing several incinerations since the beginning of this year and recently it witnessed an inferno which according to reports is due to indiscriminate clearing of Land for Farming activities, cattle ranching as well as logging. Even if we are not bothered about the incessant hostile activities on forest resources at least let us take a moment to consider the consequences of these actions on the environment. As a result of the massive blazing at the amazon, 0.5 billion metric tons of carbon have been released to the atmosphere. Personally, I think is a backward step in promoting environmental sustainability and climate change as the emission of the massive amount of carbon into the atmosphere would only increase global warming and we would as always suffer the consequences.
Coming back to Nigeria, the so-called “Giant of Africa”, blessed with a diversity of forest and wildlife resources most of which are spread across the Niger Delta region. As at the end of 2012, the country boasted of about 10 percent landmass of tree cover but as a result of increased population, and excessive logging coupled with unregulated oil exploration activities without regards for environment impact, the country’s rainforests are fast declining and also with the current widespread activities of Fulani herdsmen nationwide, we might as well expect increase in ranching activities.
It is however expected that in a civilized society, we should be able to note adverse occurrences happening all over the world and learn from them so as not to have a reoccurrence of such events. Therefore, in other to prevent environmental disaster and contribute massively to environmental conservation and global warming mitigation the following measures should be taken into consideration.
Firstly, the government should encourage citizens to plant trees by setting up a nationwide campaign with the aim of increasing production and reduce the effect of global warming and climate change and bountiful rewards should be given to citizens who show interest in this initiative so as to encourage the initiative and also set up institutions to create proper orientation about the dangers of deforestation.
In addition to that, the federal government should partner with Non-government organizations (NGOs) as well as private individuals concerned with wildlife and forest conservation to promote ecological, social as well as the economic value of our forests. This would be a very strategic move to restore the biodiversity and complexity of our forests.
Furthermore, the ministry of the environment should do well to enforce quality and comprehensive environmental impact assessment for all extraction companies nationwide to ensure environmental sustainability. Environmental Impact assessment acts and policies should be reviewed by the legislature and heavy penalties and taxes should be imposed on companies that fail to comply with the polices.