‘Nature’s gifts are often hard to value in monetary terms’

African bush elephants in Yankari National Park

The pendulum of global attention over the Earth’s health hung again to the realm of the rural and urban environment today, as the world celebrates the 2017 World Environment Day (WED).

With many countries joining the celebration, WED has proven to be the biggest annual event for positive environmental action that takes place every June 5.Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organised thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, and to replanting forests.

‘Connecting People to Nature’, the theme for World Environment Day 2017, implored citizens, groups and corporate entities to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty as well as its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth.

In recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems such as global warming are helping mankind to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support prosperity and well-being.

Consequently, environmental groups and leaders in Nigeria are using the occasion to seek a paradigm shift that ensures better standard of living for the populace as well as concrete steps to protect the environment and conserve natural resources.

The Executive Director, International Center for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED), Ewah Eleri advocated for the strengthening of linkages between environment and development by having a paradigm shift on the way to approach environmental management.

“We need to reinforce air quality, sustainability of soil, management of forest and farm land and water bodies. We must make transformation change to happen as the poor depends on thus natural resources.

For Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, of the Geography department, University of Lagos, there is no development that will not have impact on the environment, no matter how limited, whether building houses, construction of roads or borehole.

According to him, the government should make people to recognize that we’re part of nature. “If we interact with nature in a progressive manner and on the proper understanding, respond to environment interaction, we will be able to sustain it,” he said.

“ Nature’s gifts are often hard to value in monetary terms. Like clean air, they are often taken for granted, at least until they become scarce. However, economists are developing ways to measure the multi-trillion-dollar worth of many so-called ‘ecosystem services,” according to Dr. Christie Ihebom, of Communication for Development and Social Change (CDSC).

Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), in a statement jointly signed by Lead Director, Eze Onyekpere and   Programme Officer, Martins Eke said: “The celebration reminds us that we are part of nature and our development, rights and welfare are intrinsically tied to the health of our planet.”

The group called on Nigerians to take more interest in matters of the environment and climate change, especially as it relates to fiscal governance and holding the government accountable for its obligations.

“We note the inadequacy of resources budgeted for ensuring the optimum health of the environment and high carbon content budget vote options that choose the wrong pathway and thereby pollute and defile the earth. Appropriation for the acquisition of nuclear power technology, which is being phased out in some parts of the world is not the best way to spend resources that connects people to nature.

CSJ recalled the duties of the Nigerian State to respect, protect and fulfill environmental and climate change obligations, which it has freely undertaken under various national and international standards. “The obligation to respect enjoins governments at all tiers to refrain from actions that pollute the environment and move away from high carbon content led economic growth.



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