Environment

World Environment Day 2024

It is World Environment Day and the focus is on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience

More dirty plates mean more water

I was at a work event at one of the prestigious hotels in Accra and during lunch, I went for my some soup. After drinking the soup, one of the waiters came to pick the bowl but I told him I was going to use it again, I used the same bowl to eat some rice and beans stew and some fried plantain, he was coming to get it again but I insisted I wasn’t done eating and wanted to use the bowl again. Then I went to pick some fruits and slices of cake, he immediately came to me and said no we have special bowls for the desserts, but I just smiled and told him, I was more comfortable using the bowl I picked the first time. One of the people I was sharing the table with wanted to know why I was using one bowl for all my food. I explained to him that all the food I am eating are going to one place, it doesn’t matter if I eat them in the same plate or different plate, they will eventually get mixed up in my stomach anyway. Using one bowl also means that one less plate to wash, and then the water that would have been used to wash the extra plates is saved. He laughed long and loud, apologized for laughing and said one useful lesson learnt. Today, as we mark World Environment Day, I just realized that I was contributing to save water, hence a step taken to reducing drought, one of the focus of the theme for this year’s World Environment Day.

It is time to think green

Since I became actively engaged in the environmental sustainability space, one of the things I have resolved to do is to make conscious efforts to ensure that I leave a good mark on the environment, I have realized that there are a lot of things we do as humans that hurt the  environment. If I am not contributing anything positive to the environment, why should I do things that will hurt it. The truth is that, many of us forget that we as humans depend solely on the environment for all our needs, be it basic or whatever.

Today is World Environment Day and the theme for this year is Land restoration, desertification and drought resilience. Our future under the slogan we are #GenerationRestoration. This theme reminds us all of the need to protect our ecosystems, which are essential for sustaining life on planet Earth. It also calls for collective efforts from all stakeholders to preserve biodiversity, protect natural habitats, and help to restore degraded ecosystems. We can address a lot of environmental challenges, from climate change to species extinction if we turn our focus towards restoring the planet. According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, up to 40 per cent of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affecting half of the world’s population.

Land degradation, desertification, and drought pose significant threats to ecosystems, communities, and

Drought land

livelihoods around the world. In view of this, it has become necessary for us to invest in sustainable land management practices, promotion of ecosystem restoration, and strengthening of community resilience to mitigate the impacts of desertification and drought and improve the well-being of present and future generations. Let us look at the theme and explain some of the terms.

Land degradation is the deterioration of land quality due to human activities such as deforestation, unsustainable agricultural activities, urbanization, and overexploitation of natural resources. Land degradation poses significant threats to ecosystems, biodiversity, food security, and livelihoods worldwide. Land degradation can be managed by encouraging afforestation, enabling policy and institutional frameworks that support sustainable land practices, sustainable land management practices, encouraging and empowering local communities to take ownership of land management and restoration initiatives.

Bare land can possibly turn into a desert

Desertification, the process by which fertile land becomes desert due to factors such as climate change, unsustainable land use practices, deforestation and so on. it can lead to loss of biodiversity, food insecurity, as well as destabilize the economy. Desertification poses serious environmental, social, and economic challenges around the world. Desertification can be caused by climate change, poor land practices, rapid population growth. To mitigate desertification, the strategies proposed for land degradation can be applied.

Drought is a prolonged period of abnormally low precipitation that results in water scarcity and ecosystem stress. It is a recurring natural phenomenon with significant implications for ecosystems, agriculture, water resources, and human well-being. The intensity and severity of drought is expected to increase because of the increase in climate change lately. Drought can lead to scarcity of water, crop failure, breakdown in the ecosystem among other things.

Looking at all the majors areas of the theme for this year, a lot of us may be tempted to think that we are not directly involved in solving the issues at stake, but I want to share a few practical things we can do to contribute in our own ways to the save the planet from land degradation, desertification and drought.

First of all, turn off the tap in your homes when not in use to save some water. This will not only contribute to

Turn off your taps after use

reducing drought, but it will also reduce the amount of money you are paying to your service provider. I did a small comparison on the amount of water I use to brush my teeth when I am brushing using the tap directly and when I use a cup of water to brush, I realized that I use way too much water when I use the tap, so I resolved to go with the cup of water. You can also keep some water in a container for your domestic use. You can try it and see; you will be shocked. Remember that little drops of water make a mighty ocean.

Again, as soon as you realize there is a leakage, fix it immediately to avoid the water from leaking. All you need to do is t get a plumber to fix the issue, instead most of us allow the water to leak away, the cost for repairs may even be cheaper than the amount you are paying for the water that is leaking away. Occasionally, do a random check on your pipes, toilets and other places that use water to see if there is a leakage, sometimes it may not be visible.

This is the commonest way to tap water

Last tip to conserve water at home is to harvest rainwater for domestic use. In my mother’s house, we depend a lot on rainwater for most of our use at home, it does not matter if we have a tap that is running at home or not, we would still harvest rain water and use it for washing, bathing, dishes, and even cooking, the only thing we do not use it for is for drinking. And when we harvest the water, it can take us about three to four days to a week to use it all, imagine the amount of money we would have saved from not using the tap water for that long. In all this, we are reducing drought and climate change.

To prevent land degradation and desertification in a practical way, we are encouraged to green our spaces by planting trees, flowers and other greens to prevent the top soil from eroding. Most people want to have a beautiful clear space devoid of reptiles, rodents and other animals so they will often clear the surface and leave it bare, exposing the land and making it prone to degradation.

Last but not the least, as I have drawn your attention to these issues, also try and educate others so that we can

Happy World Environment Day

all make conscious efforts together to make the planet a better place for us now, and for the future generations. We are the caretakers of the planet, remember, the planet does not need us, we need it! CHEERS!!!

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