REIGNING queen, Miss Earth Nigeria, Susan Garland, is impacting the world, not just by catwalking. She has written a book, The Earth Is Important Too. The book, which focuses on the effects of climate change on the earth, was formally presented to the reading public on Sunday, May 10, 2020, in Lagos. Speaking at the launch, the author and future environmentalist said it was worrisome that, in some parts of Africa, people found it hard to believe that climate change existed. Despite this misconception, she said, serious climate issues like flooding, drought, a loss of biodiversity leading to infectious diseases, were rife in Africa. Following the launch of the book, she said, her foundation, Beyond Garland Initiative, would carry out tree planting projects across the world aimed at planting a million trees. She listed countries vulnerable to the effects of climate change as Japan, Philippines, Germany, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Rwanda, Canada and the Fiji Islands.
“Japan, as we all know, has suf- fered the worst hit of earthquakes. The Philippines has suffered from typhoons, earthquakes and other disasters. They are very vulnerable because of the position they occupy in the equator of the earth, and it just happens that they are the ones greatly affected by climate change.
“Our cause is to make sure that, as we make sales on this book, we are going to these specific countries. We are selecting six of them to plant trees and to also make sure that the impact of climate change is eased. It is important to note that each book sale equals two trees planted,” she said.
The ten-chapter book covers the effects of climate change in Africa, the effect of biodiversity in the Middle East, the activities of companies regarding the emission of fossil fuel, how politics is affecting the fight against climate catastrophe, the agricultural controversy surrounding climate change, as well as government’s response to climate change.
The book also proffers answers to the question of what lies ahead, because, as Garland puts it, it is quite evident that we cannot turn a blind eye to our human activities and how it affects climate change. “We should all gather around to have a proper discussion about the big elephant in the room, that is, the earth, and how we can protect it. The ball is in our court. We have to make sure that we reduce, reuse, recycle, and make sure that the generations to come will not have worse adverse effects climate change that we haven’t even experienced yet,” she added.
Garland explained that the two-toned cover of the book was deliberate to portray how the earth could be seen. Climate change, she explained, started when industrialisation began; and, with fossil fuels, it had damaged the earth through the ozone layer.
“With this book, we are going to reach out to the world. We are planning to make sure that we have volunteers from so many parts of the world that will take up the cause of climate change. We will also go to schools and educate them about climate change. I want young people to bring to their consciousness other alternatives of producing fossil fuel. We will work with the government locally and globally to get things done.”
The Irish-Nigeria model said, “I actually went for the competition, because I thought it was related to my vision and goal. I studied Environ- mental Biology. Pageantry was not what I thought that I was going into, but I just wanted to see how I could learn. I try to learn everyday, and, when I went for the competition in Nigeria.
“I emerged the winner, which made me qualify for the world competition in Philippines. I learnt a lot of things, which improved my thinking on many things, which I never thought of before. I will start with UAE and Nigeria first before going to other countries to plant the trees. I am hopeful that the other coun- tries will accept my proposal.” Advocating for the protection of the earth strikes a cord with her, because it is home to all”. An avid reader herself, Gar- land admitted her liking for the famous author of Purple Hibiscus,, “I like Chimamanda Adiche because of the way she writes. I have read a couple of her books and I hope to meet her in future.”
The beauty queen won’t be participating in future beauty competitions in order to focus on her projects in helping hu- manity and writing. Accord- ing to her, “My next book will be related to life issues where people will read and be inspired. I hope to create a publishing outfit that will help up-and-coming writ- ers publish their works.”