Ethiopia accomplished an exceptional feat in August 2019 when they planted a staggering 350 million trees within a mere 12 hours. Prior to that, it was India that held the record for planting 50 million trees in a span of 24 hours. Looking ahead, Nigeria should set its sights on surpassing Ethiopia’s achievement by July 2024, aiming to plant an astounding 400 million trees within the same 12-hour timeframe. This ambitious target would mean an impressive ratio of two trees for every citizen. Nigeria’s forest cover has suffered a devastating loss of 60%, with continuous yearly tree depletion. Implementing this endeavour would play a crucial role in replenishing the lost vegetation. Irrespective of their political leanings, every Nigerian can find common ground through this initiative.
The 2023 elections witnessed all major political parties, including APC, PDP, and Labour, incorporating climate crisis resolutions into their manifestos. An intriguing proposition put forth by Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s Presidential nominee, involves the creation of environmentally conscious green guards. Collaborating in unison, Nigerians can conquer the inconceivable and discover togetherness beyond the realm of football. Remarkably, this endeavour should be propelled by ordinary individuals rather than governmental entities. In both Christianity and Islam, the act of planting trees is greatly promoted. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught that when a Muslim plants a tree, every portion consumed from it represents an act of charity from the planter. Moreover, anything taken or lost from the tree also carries the essence of charity.
Africa is confronted with substantial hazards of climate change.
It is anticipated that this endeavour will receive backing from religious leaders belonging to associations such as JNI and CAN. Ethiopia’s campaign achieved a remarkable triumph that even critics recognized: integrating tree planting into the nation’s culture. This achievement can be likened to condensing an intense awareness campaign into a mere 12-hour timeframe. The individuals engaged in deforestation for charcoal production and export generally do not take part in tree planting activities. However, by actively participating in the planting process, they significantly reduce the chances of cutting down trees that have been planted by their own community. Psychology has coined the term IKEA effect to describe the phenomenon of people assigning higher value to something they have actively contributed to.
Despite Africa’s contribution of a mere 3% to worldwide emissions, it is astoundingly responsible for 16 out of the 20 countries most adversely affected by the consequences of climate change. Consequently, Africa is confronted with substantial hazards arising from this issue. Its population, already bearing the brunt of floods, droughts, and malnutrition, experiences dire hardships. Nigeria should assume a pioneering role in effectively tackling the pressing climate crisis. Various institutions attempted to validate Ethiopia’s assertion of planting 350 million trees, yet encountered obstacles stemming from the planting techniques employed. To overcome this, the novel methodology facilitates autonomous verification through the utilization of analytical tools such as World Forest Watch analysis or Google Earth Engine.
Primary emphasis will be on fruit trees and indigenous breeds.
With 774 local government areas in Nigeria, an exclusive portion of land will be allocated in each area for the purpose of planting a forest. Planting forests has a multitude of advantages, as emphasized by the IPCC. These include the stabilization of rainfall patterns, enhancement of soil fertility, and mitigation of urban heat. To fulfill the task of planting 400 million trees, every local government must allocate around 517,000 trees. Nigeria can employ the Akira Miyawaki technique, which involves planting three to five seedlings within each square meter. By implementing this approach, a maximum of 50,000 trees can be nurtured per hectare. Therefore, each local government would require approximately 10 hectares of land. On a nationwide scale, this aggregation adds up to 7,740 hectares.
Furthermore, it is anticipated that these woodlands will achieve self-sufficiency within the next two to three years. ALGON and the Governors’ Forum are both viable platforms for coordinating this project. Local governments are not the sole entities capable of engagement; an equal opportunity is open to private farms, banks, universities, schools, NGOs, oil and gas companies, mosques, and churches, among others. The primary emphasis will be on fruit trees and indigenous breeds, ensuring nourishment and conserving regional biodiversity. For instance, within the country’s 200 Million Trees campaign, there is an assortment of 32 native species and 27 fruit cultivars.
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An extraordinary influencer and coordinator, such as the Vice President Kashim Shettima or Governor Bago, in conjunction with backing from institutions like the National Council on Climate Change and the Great Green Wall, are the sole essentials required. Consider a future where Nigeria flourishes with the emergence of 774 lush forests in a mere span of three years. These remarkable woodlands will not only offer sustenance and augment biodiversity, but also pave the path for financial gains by promoting tourism and supporting local nurseries. It’s time to commence this endeavour, as Nigeria is presented with a span of seven months to shatter this record.