From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), yesterday, quoted the United Nations to have said that Nigerian government can generate up to $9 trillion if it secures 350 million hectares of its degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems between 2021-2030.
His words”According to the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem restoration 2021 -2030, “the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could generate $9 trillion in ecosystem services.
” Restoration could also remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
“The economic benefits of such interventions exceed nine times the cost of investment, whereas inaction is at least three times more costly than ecosystem restoration.”
This was contained in a statement signed by its Programmes Director and Administration, Mike Karikpo, Esq and made available to newsmen in Benin City.
He said that the ecosystems are dynamic communities of plants, animals and microorganisms interacting with the physical environment, landscapes, lakes, and oceans.
Karikpo said however, owing to human activities especially since the advent of the industrial revolution and a neoliberal economic ideology that prioritizes profit over sustainability, ecosystems are being degraded at astronomical rates across the world and many ecosystems may have been destroyed irreversibly.
Karikpo maintained that the ecosystems across the world support life on earth and considering the multiple crises we face such as the climate crisis, the corona virus pandemic, financial and economic crisis, time is of the essence as governments at all levels, individuals need to act now to save our planet and save lives.
The Programmes Director and Administration said, due to the importance of the ecosystems to the survival of all creatures, the United Nations has therefore set aside 2021-2030 as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
He stressed that degraded and destroyed ecosystems already cost the global economy 10% of its annual output and without concerted global actions to preserve, restore and enhance the viability of our ecosystems, our capacity to make progress in critical areas such as education, health and employment will be greatly compromised.
But Dr Godwin Ojo, Executive Director, ERA/FoEN stated that, “Restoring the ecosystem will enhance biodiversity, clean polluted rivers and contaminated soil and improve local livelihoods of our people.”
He stated further that, “ecosystem restoration will enhance capacity of our soils and forests to store greenhouse gases rather than the false solutions of carbon capture and storage facilities that do not cut emissions at source and poses grave danger to ecosystems.
Speaking also, Chief Saint Emma Pii, member, Bodo Council of Chiefs, and Chairman, Board of Trustees, ERA/FoEN stated that, “our surest way of escaping the looming danger is to live in harmony with nature.