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Mercy Corps launches tree-planting scheme

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By Abraham Adekunle

The organization is committed to a 50% carbon footprint reduction by 2030.

Following the Paris Agreement which 196 countries negotiated and adopted at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), the subject has garnered much awareness and traction. The goal of the Paris Treaty is to maintain the global average temperature below two degrees Celsius. Since then, Nigeria has also shown willingness to contribute to the overall goal of the legally-binding document. So, on August 24, 2022, the Federal Government launched its Energy Transition Plan. The plan is tailored towards the twin objective of achieving universal access to energy by 2030 and a carbon-neutral energy system by 2060.

Based on this commitment, the Federal Government have taken several steps towards achieving the goal. One of them was the plan to phase out kerosene by 2030. All of these is in a bid to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Net zero is a target of completely cancelling out the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity. This is to be achieved by reducing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Humanitarian organization launches tree-planting scheme.

A set of policy guidelines and initiatives had been unveiled towards achieving the target. According to the country director of Mercy Corps Nigeria, Mr. Ndubisi Anyanwu, the humanitarian organization remained committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2030. He added that environmental sustainability now lies at the heart of Mercy Corps’ strategic decisions. Anyanwu spoke at the launch of its maiden Green Week 2023 campaign, which resulted in a tree-planting exercise at the Government Secondary School (GSS) Jabi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He stressed that there is a need to carry the youths along in addressing climate change in order to avoid issues with sustainability. In terms of statistics, Nigeria emitted over 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, representing an increase of about 300 percent from 1990. The country director revealed that while the Federal Government had committed itself to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2030, the organization is targeting a whooping 50 percent at the same timeframe.

Green Week at GSS will deepen eco-friendly practices and sustainability.

Mr. Anyanwu said at the Green Week event, “The Green Week provides us an avenue to accelerate the achievement of this goal, and entrenching environmental sustainability practices within our operations, program, culture, team members, and individual lives.” He revealed that the climate commitment, through the new Pathway to Possibility strategy, involved the development of a centralized tracking system to monitor and measure global emissions. So, the week had been set aside to deepen eco-friendly practices within and beyond the organization.

This practice is not only eco-friendly but also a gateway to fostering environmental sustainability in Nigerian youths, persuade students to nurture trees, and contribute to saving the environment. It will also increase awareness on environmental protection and influence behavioral change amongst team members and beyond. Meanwhile, the school’s Principal, Dr. Atanze Sanni, commended the humanitarian organization for the tree-planting awareness initiative that would have a far-reaching impact on the school and the country in general. He said that it was better to start earlier in educating children on how to imbibe the culture of planting trees.

Students of GSS were educated on tree-planting benefits.

Additionally, a representative of the FCT Secondary Education Board, Mrs. Mariam Yusuf, commended Mercy Corps’ intervention, adding that it would help the students understand the benefits of tree-planting in society. He also called on the organization to scale up its program to other schools. According to him, the board has about 80 secondary schools under its supervision. As part of the program, Deputy Director, Forestry Department, Federal Ministry of Environment Abuja, Mrs. Olukanni Bosede, simplified the concept of climate change to the barest understanding of the students. “When you cut down trees, sun rays come to us; when you cut down trees, you are creating greenhouse gasses which are trapping heat into the atmosphere,” she said in her speech to the students.

Related Link

Mercy Corps: Website

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