I don’t know about other African countries, but I know Nigeria and its people. Most of us are lackadaisical about things we can’t see and have little or no appreciation for what doesn’t directly affect us (no offence to us, you know I’m right). We’ve tagged the issue of climate change and environmental pollution as an “oyinbo” thing. Funny we should think that, because we are affected. We simply haven’t been paying attention or chosen to dismiss the warning signs.
Need examples? Last Christmas was one of the most peculiar (granted the entire 2020 was peculiar). There was no harmattan! That never happens. Harmattan and Christmas are like pizza and cheese, they complement each other. Instead, harmattan shifted its season premiere to late January, when we should be expecting a season finale. Let me give you another instance. Have you ever heard of rainfall in January? I haven’t been alive that long, but I’ve never experienced that before. Mid-last year, we experienced an intense heat-wave that could drive anyone mad.
A significant cause of drastic climate changes like the ones we’ve been witnessing is energy consumption. With over 7.8 billion humans walking this Earth, we burn energy faster than can be produced. Meanwhile, energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas are limited and take years to form. If we keep consuming energy at the rate we currently are, in about 40 or 50 years we may have exhausted our energy resources. Energy conservation plays a major role in reducing climate change. It helps preserve and replenish our non-renewable energy sources.
Energy conservation also curbs global warming. Effects of global warming include severe weathers, heat-wave, flood, hurricanes and drought which will affect water supply. Energy conservation is also important to heal Earth’s depleting ozone layer. The ozone layer is the protection line between Earth and the ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. Basically, it is this big blanket protecting us from the full heat of the sun. You think the sun is scorching now? You wait till there is no more ozone layer. Direct exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can cause skin cancer, speedy ageing, eye cataracts and immune deficiency disorders– And these are just some of the effects on humans, not mentioning plants and animals.
I hope I have been able to convince you as to why we must conserve our energy. Truly, one person’s behavioural adjustment to conserve energy will do little or nothing to help preserve the environment. However, if each of us should make some minor adjustment to our lifestyle, it will cause a ripple effect that will go a long way in repairing our declining environment.
Now, your next question should be, how can I conserve energy?
- Car fumes emit 60% of air pollution. Walk if your destination isn’t far. Another alternative is the use of bicycles.
- Change light bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs. Though they are more expensive, they conserve energy significantly and last longer. And remember to switch them off when you don’t need them or when you are leaving home.
- Turn off electric appliances when you are not using them and go for energy-efficient appliances. As a bonus, your monthly electricity bill will reduce.
- Plant trees and if you can’t plant them, don’t cut them down just because you feel like it. Trees are not only meant for producing papers, they offer another layer of protection against harmful sun rays. Planting trees around your house also keeps it cool, you might not need AC.
- Burn less coal and use LPG cylinders instead. They reduce air pollution and conserve energy.
Apart from the fact that taking these steps will contribute on a larger scale to energy conservation, you also get to save a lot of money on electric bills. One person can’t do it alone, but together we can make our environment healthy again.