*Photo: Dr Babade ( centre with cap) flanked by some Nigerians and diplomats during the launching of Sentosa Conservation Club in Abuja *
Nigerians have been urged to promote the culture of tree planting in homes, offices and business premises to make the environment more convenient for habitation and to protect the depleting ozone layer.
This was the message at the commemoration of the 2022 International Day of Forests (IDF) and the inauguration of the Sentosa Conservation Club (SCC) which was held at the Sentosa Park and Recreation, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja on Tuesday.
The need to encourage a green and natural environment and to encourage Nigerians especially the younger generation to understand the importance of tree planting according to the President of SCC, Dr Bamidele Amos Babade , informed the decision to launch the club.
Dr Babade said forest conservation is not only central to human existence but also plays critical roles in the environment which include the mitigation of climate change through the reduction of greenhouse grasses, adding beauty to the environment, provision of shade, edible fruits and seeds among others. All these he said make life environmentally, economically and socially convenient and satisfying for humans.
He said, “It is time for us to let our younger generation understands the importance of a natural and green environment. The importance of trees in the beautification of our environment cannot be over- emphasised. This is the message we want to take to schools across Nigeria and pass to our children so that they can imbibe the culture of tree planting and appreciate the work of nature at the very early age. In view of this, we want to engage in the planting of one million economic and fruit trees in the next five years. We are going to plant 200,000 trees each year and nurture them and this will want to promote in our homes, offices and business premises. School owners will be approached in the course of making the tree planting a remarkable success.”
“According to the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs, more than 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of land of forests are lost through deforestation globally an area roughly the size of England. This has resulted in the loss of biodiversity (plants and animal species) that nature blessed us with as well as reducing the world’s carbon sinks. Inappropriate management of forests and trees have plunged humanity into various degrees of environmental problems notably climate change hence the need for vigorous tree planting.”
The founder and chief executive officer, Women in Nature Conservation (WINCO), Mrs Emem Umoh, who delivered the keynote speech, said the IDF is a powerful global advocacy tool for forest conservation efforts. Umoh said trees balance the world’s carbon cycle and help in combating climate change, holding water in the soil which they release back into the atmosphere producing cooling effects.
“Trees in forests are natural aqueducts because they redistribute up to 95 percent of the water they absorb to where it is needed most. A quarter of all modern medicines come from the forests including two-thirds of all cancer fighting drugs sour sop (Annona muricata) which is among the non-timber forest products. Disappointedly, more than 12 million hectares of trees cover in the tropics was lost in 2020 alone which included 4.2 million hectares of the previously undisturbed primary tropical forests.”
The WINCO chief executive therefore called for the management of existing forests and the establishment of new ones through massive tree planting and embraces green lifestyles.
Goodwill messages were given by dignitaries at the event. The highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of the Sentosa Conservation Club plaque and planting of trees.
The global community has set aside the March 21 of every year as International Day of Forests through the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2021 with its maiden celebration on 21st March, 2013.