Changing rain and snow patterns, melting glaciers, rising sea level leading to floods, increasing drought, and higher temperatures are among some of the devastating effects of climate change on the earth. The impact of climate change is felt by all and seems to be worsening; it, thus, requires an all-hands-on-deck approach to fight back and restore the earth. The theme for this year’s Earth Day celebration is “Restore Our Earth” and promotes the idea that green technologies, innovation, and natural processes and not just mitigation and adaptation are needed to restore the earth. Earth Day has been celebrated since 1970 on April 22 to drive global action for a better environment for all, serving as a platform to engage and inform.
Generally, the strategy to combating or lessening the effect of climate change is two-pronged: mitigation and adaptation. The mitigation approach is used to reduce emission of greenhouse gas (GHG) such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thus, tackling the primary cause of climate change. Adaptation, on the other hand, focuses on reducing the adverse impact of climate change and reduce our vulnerability to the effects of climate change.
Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and reducing the quantity of waste that ends up in landfills and in water bodies by converting them to valuable products such as compost are examples of climate change mitigation. Propcom Mai-karfi’s Compost intervention is an example of mitigation approach as it promotes composting; the process of transforming organic and biodegradable waste materials into a valuable product, compost. The benefits of compost to the earth are manifold including removing carbon dioxide from the environment and acting as a replacement for inorganic chemical fertilisers. Inorganic fertilisers require considerable energy to manufacture and when used intensively on some soil types (sandy with low organic content) can have detrimental effect on the soil’s health .
In 2000, the FAO reported that the soil in Nigeria was losing an average of 48kg nutrients per hectare per year. The situation in northern Nigeria, especially the North East is additionally dire due to increasing desert encroachment and the continued ban of inorganic fertiliser by the government because some of its constitute parts are used in making home-made explosives by armed groups. Composting, thus, remains a viable alternative to ensuring farmers in northern Nigeria have access to fertiliser to nourish their farms and improve yield. Thus far, farmlands fertilised with the compost brand promoted by Propcom Mai-karfi have outperformed fields where chemical fertiliser was used.
Another example of the mitigation strategy is Propcom’s Briquetting intervention, which promotes the use of briquettes as an alternative to firewood and / or charcoal used by most rural dwellers in Nigeria. From the intervention’s pilot, Propcom produced over 12,000 briquettes from farm wastes as alternative to firewood resulting in a reduction in deforestation by about 1,961 cubic meters of log wood and an estimated 25,500 litres of light cooking fuel.
Replanting forests is an adaptation strategy against climate change. Agroforestry, a land use management system in which trees and shrubs are integrated into agricultural farming systems for economic, social, and environmental benefits, is one example. An instance of using Agroforestry as an adaptation strategy is Propcom’s Agroforestry intervention, which addresses land degradation in northern Nigeria and income generation for smallholder farmers. By promoting tree planting and rehabilitation at the smallholder farmer level and catalysing private sector interest and investment in agroforestry in northern Nigeria.
To give some context, with support received from Propcom through the Agroforestry intervention, every hectare of farmland where agroforestry is practiced around 3,500kg of atmospheric carbon is sequestered, 100kg of nitrogen is fixed in the soil and 175 trees rehabilitated. To date, over 8,800 farmers have benefitted from the improved skills training provided by the Intervention and 12,000 hectares of farmland in the NE is currently practising agroforestry.
Embedded in today’s Earth Day theme is the message that more can be done at the individual level to restore our earth. Earthday.org maintains that restoring the earth is everybody’s responsibility because we inhabit it and depend on it for everything – food, livelihood, medicine, recreation, among others.
We all need a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity. – www.earthday.org
Through the collection of interventions under our Environment portfolio, Propcom has created solutions that contribute to reducing climate change and its environmental impact, especially in northern Nigeria. As the global community celebrates Earth Day today, we add our voices to the school of thought that restoring our earth will require us to do more than mitigate and adapt. We will need to push the boundaries of innovation and consolidate efforts at individual, community, national and global levels. We all have a role to play.
To learn more about Earth Day, please visit www.earthday.org.