Northern Nigerian Breaking News

My yearning for COP27- Dahir Muhammad Hashim

By Dr. Dahir Muhammad Hashim

Climate change is a global threat to the shared existence of the human race on this mother earth. Africa, and Nigeria in particular, takes a disproportionate share of the ravages caused by climate change and its consequences. Unfortunately, communities that are most affected by climate change are mostly underrepresented and often left out of conversations related to climate change.

The forthcoming climate convention (COP27) scheduled to take place in November 2022 in Egypt presents a remarkable opportunity for young people and Nigeria to join the ranks of the global leaders fighting against climate change.

I believe that the presence of young climate change activists in the forthcoming climate convention will provide us with the podium to voice our most pressing concerns.

As a young medical doctor, conversant with the health implications of climate change particularly heat waves and other natural calamities, and how they continue to cause devastation. Experts have substantial evidence proving that excessive heat waves from the greenhouse effect, can cause mental health problems including mood and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse, kidney damage due to dehydration, and many other life-threatening illnesses. As leaders continue to ignore the existential threat of climate change, particularly the health implications, my curiosity led me to realize that if we did nothing to stop the widespread cutting down of trees, the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would increase, having major negative effects on the economy, human life, and eventually the environment.

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This led me to establish Panacea Foundation, a youth-led non-governmental organization. Our focus has been on tree planting and ensuring sustainability through environmental awareness and advocacy, with the belief that our call is to evolve into strong change-makers in terms of resisting climate destruction and environmental degradation.

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Setting aggressive tree-planting goals and enforcing legislation that will stop mindless and unneeded deforestation is essential to finding solutions to the world’s dire climate issues. Recent research has shown that planting trees is the most effective, natural strategy to fight climate change.

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There is now no machine or technology that can absorb carbon dioxide and other hazardous gases more effectively than trees. We spread the word about the value of tree planting to lessen the adverse effects of climate change on our society. By generating employment opportunities, preserving habitats, and regenerating biodiversity through tree planting, we hope to build a sustainable environment.

I have been bringing together people, community-based organizations, school-aged children, and stakeholders in planting trees together to reduce the catastrophic effects of climate change. We have, thus far, planted 135,382 trees in and around Kano, and by 2023, we hope to treble that number and cover several Nigerian states with roughly 1,000,000 trees. The majority of our trees come from a range of species that provide us with food, herbs for medicine, and important help with carbon sequestration. Our project also complies with the SDGs’ indicators and targets, including Zero Hunger and Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The COP27 presents an opportunity for people like me to share our success story with the world, and more importantly, expand our network of collaborators, gain access to resources that will help us expand our activities, and learn about cutting-edge methods, tools, techniques, and strategies currently that are effective in combatting climate change.

Despite having the accreditation, I have over the past two months, been struggling to secure the funds required to attend the United Nations negotiations taking place in Egypt (COP27). As a young climate activist from Africa, I would like to attend this COP27; however, I can’t wrap my head around why it has proved so difficult for young Africans to attend the ‘African’ COP.

Our yearning for climate justice has historically been viewed as a threat by many politicians and corporations that are responsible for the emissions of toxic gasses that are increasingly destroying our environment. I believe that this summit taking place in Africa this year provides us with a unique and rare opportunity to make our voices count.

As a young climate change activist, I am aware of climate collapse. More than 300 people have died in the recent floods in northern Nigeria, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes. Yet still, millions of people are facing the danger of starving to death because so many farmlands have been destroyed by floods. We are already seeing the effects of climate change, and the onus is on my generation to drive the transformation toward sustainability as we yearn for healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyles.

Given my solid record of environmental activism and conservation, I would like to build on my efforts by attending this global interaction of climate leaders and scientists. I hope my yearning get eventually secures the attention of those who can help facilitate my trip to Egypt to attend the COP27.

Hashim is the founder and pioneer chairman of the Panacea Foundation and can be reached via Dahiru.muhd1993@gmail.com

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