Bisi Adedeji follows a daily routine, leaving home by 7 am to catch a cab for her office commute. However, her home is a considerable distance from the main road, requiring a lengthy walk. The sandy nature of the street makes it challenging to find bike or tricycle riders willing to navigate the area, as they fear getting stuck.
“ Even as I go out of my house, I go along with an extra water bottle and body cream so i can clean off the sand that ruins my feet, or better still, I use to wear a pair of socks out till I reach a clear surface where I can take it off,” she said.
Adediji, who lives in Tumfure, Gombe state, says She’s tired and wants to move because her daily routine is too hard. She’s considering selling her house to go to a better place without much stress.
“The quantity of sand was not always like this. It has increased over the years, and i don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of the population and the houses that people keep building around this vicinity,” she said.
In Bauchi, Musa Abubakar depends on farming for his livelihood. He plants crops like rice and beans yearly, but this year has been challenging. “It’s been hard for farmers in Bauchi. We hoped for good crops, but they started dying because there was no rain,” he explained.
Adediji and Abubakar don’t know why these changes are happening. They think it’s just natural, and they hope things will get better. They don’t know about climate change or how it might be causing these problems.
To crown it all up, they do not know what climate change is about, nor do they accord the changes they see to it.
These individuals are only a few of the numerous people who feel the impact of climate change but do not have the slightest idea of what it is, what it is doing, and the extent it could go.
According to National Geographic, climate is the long-term weather pattern in a particular area. The United Nations also defines climate change as long-term temperature shifts and weather patterns. Such shifts can be natural due to changes in the sun’s activity or Large volcanic eruptions. It also adds that since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas.
While climate change remains a global challenge, its impacts unveil themselves differently. For example, many places have experienced changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves.
The planet’s oceans and glaciers have also experienced changes—oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, ice caps are melting, and sea level is rising.
Nigeria has not been insulated from climate change, which is evident in the increases in temperature, variable rainfall, rise in sea level and flooding, drought and desertification, land degradation; more frequent extreme weather events, affected freshwater resources and loss of biodiversity. The durations and intensities of rainfall have increased, producing large runoffs and flooding in many places in Nigeria.
Rainfall variation is projected to continue to increase. Precipitation in southern areas is expected to rise, and rising sea levels exacerbate flooding and submersion of coastal lands. Droughts have also become a constant in Nigeria and are expected to continue in Northern Nigeria, arising from a decline in precipitation and a temperature rise.
Human Infrastructure is also threatened by a changing climate, with evidence of encroachment of coastlines, stress to the energy grid, decreased hydroelectric power supply and shifting structures or landscapes. Loss of shelter, roads, and farmlands due to erosion in some parts of Nigeria has reached a point where it calls for urgent actions.
Myths and Facts
While efforts are put in place by the government, organizations, and individuals worldwide to propagate knowledge about climate change, there are existing myths that are a clog on the wheel of progress on climate action. Some of the popular ones include;
1. Myth: Climate change is a Western phenomenon.
Fact: It is a global problem that affects everyone and would even do worse if keen attention is not paid to fighting its ravaging impacts.
2. Myth: The climate is not really changing
Fact: The world is warming at an unprecedented rate. Data collected from all over the world confirms that the decade from 2000 to 2009 was the warmest on record, and the Northern Hemisphere, in particular, is warmer than it has been in 1,300 years.
3. Myth: The Earth’s climate has changed before; it’s just part of a natural cycle.
Fact: The Earth’s climate has changed many times, but never as rapidly as it is now. The fact that the climate has changed before is evidence that human activity is affecting it. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are the highest they’ve been in 800,000 years.
4. Myth: Human beings aren’t responsible for changing the Earth’s climate
Fact: Using carbon dating, scientists have confirmed that the increased carbon dioxide levels come from burning fossil fuels. So, yes, human beings are responsible. It’s called anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change.
5. Myth: Scientists don’t agree about climate change; the jury is still out.
Fact: The majority of scientists, including those in prominent scientific institutions, agree that the world is warming due to human activity, specifically the burning of fossil fuels. Urgent action is needed. It’s like the consensus on gravity or the Earth being round.
6. Myth: Some places are colder than usual – so much for global “warming”.
Fact: Weather and climate are different. Weather is short-term, while climate is long-term. Localized cold weather doesn’t disprove global warming.
7. Myth: It’s the sun.
Fact: Changes in the sun’s activity can’t explain the recent rise in global temperatures. If it was solely due to the sun, all layers of our atmosphere would be warming. However, only the surface and lower atmosphere are warming, while the upper layers are cooling. Also, the sun has been cooler in the past 35 years, while global temperatures continue to rise.
8. Myth: Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans.
Fact: Volcanoes emit less than 1% of the CO2 humans put into the atmosphere each year. Submarine volcanoes emit around 97 million tonnes of CO2 annually, while land volcanoes emit about 242 million tonnes. In contrast, human activity generates a staggering 29 billion tonnes of CO2 each year.
9. Myth: CO2 is natural and not a pollutant.
Fact: Even though CO2 is natural and essential for life, it becomes dangerous when it accumulates in the atmosphere. Just like oxygen, which is necessary for us, high concentrations of CO2 can be harmful. Along with other greenhouse gases, CO2 is causing the atmosphere to heat up to dangerous levels.
10. Myth: Some glaciers are growing.
Fact: While glaciers can fluctuate in size due to localized weather conditions, the overall trend is that they are losing ice as the world heats up. The World Glacier Monitoring Service has collected data from hundreds of glaciers worldwide, and the evidence shows that glacial meltwater flowing into the oceans is contributing to rising sea levels.
There are many more myths around climate change that confuse people. By regularly explaining and teaching, people like Adedeji and Abubakar, along with many Nigerians, can understand what’s happening with the climate. This way, they can learn how to protect their environment and join the effort to slow down the fast changes.