Sunday, 18 October 2015


Up until I joined I never knew World Earth Day (WED) was celebrated every April 22 nor was I aware that there was anything like World Environment Day (June 5) or World Water Day (March 22). The truth was that I never cared.

I first discovered two year ago while rummaging the web for any ongoing essay and short story contests that Nigerians can (an opportunity I always grabbed to sharpen my writing skills and also evaluate myself). At that time, I was concerned about a number of things; if my writing actually made sense, how people felt about my work. My idea was that if I should win any contest or even get short-listed, it meant I was doing great (that never happened. An awful way to evaluate oneself).

Meanwhile, I decided to read a few articles on the website (there is always something new to read every day by the way). When I did, I found a new purpose to life greater than my hunt for bounty; our planet is dying and I was one of the murderers.

Like myself, there are millions of people out there who are unaware of how their behaviours change our planet. Many years ago, I knew the exact month to expect the rains, when it will stop and when harmattan will take over the mantle of leadership but that is no longer so.

Climates have change; earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, erosions and melting of glaciers have taken over our environment. Why won’t the earth be annoyed? We keep taking and never give. Caring for the earth is not a government thing but the responsibility of everyone.

Yes, we have to cut down trees for timber, but what stops us from planting another to replace the one cut down? Why acquire more than you need and end up discarding many of them? Why can’t industries figure out better ways to manage their waste rather than dumping them into the sea? Why must we burn coal and fuel when the sun is there to give us cleaner energy?

The most disturbing and most prevalent especially in Nigeria is the culture of wastage (to show the world that you have ‘arrived’). People throw lavish parties with lots of food and drinks spilled. Same is the case every evening at drinking joints. People eat and drink and become drunk, leaving foods on their plate which are later collected into a dustbin.

At no other time has this crusade of attitudinal change been more relevant than today when parts of the world are gripping with food shortage. Even in Nigeria, there are still families that go to bed on empty stomach. The truth is that the earth is capable of supporting everyone’s dream but not their greed. We have approximately 7 billion people in the world in one planet, so consume with care.

I used to think I was an individual, what difference can I possibly make? But going through I got ashamed of myself; youngsters––as young as fifteen and under––raising their words and living the talk to make our environment a better place. You may be just one person in 7 billion but believe me, there are tens of people that look up to you to model their lives. Live the change and it will trickle down.

More recently, an ambassador on the platform (Miss Bindu Bhandari) wrote about her interview with what she tagged ‘the real Eco-hero’. It was about a man, a refuse collector that goes ahead to sell the scraps he picked from the environment to recycling plants so as to generate money for his family’s upkeep. The people that do this kind of job are the ones we most often look down on but through her interview I discovered otherwise.

The action of the man helps remove wastes that are not biodegradable from the environment. If not for this great website, I may still be basking in my ignorance environmental matters.

To end this write-up, I want to dish out 5 pieces of advice;
1) Don’t let a year pass without planting a tree or flower.
2) Reduce; while you dine, remember there are people out there who can’t afford to.
3) Re-use; all the old plastic and tyres can be put into other uses.
4) Insist on clean energy
5) Recycle; to reduce the rate at which new raw materials are mined

That refuse scavenger in you vicinity is an Eco-Hero. Who are you?

photo credit: Arushi Madan on