The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has asked Nigerians to take the issue of climate change seriously.
Fashola also suggested how to address the issue while speaking on “Urban design and climate change” at the first Nigeria Urban Design Forum on Thursday.
The forum was conveyed by a former Lagos State Commissioner for Town Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, a statement said.
Fashola said evidence had demonstrated that not only was the threat of climate change real, but that its impact was already being felt and that human beings were perhaps the most vulnerable.
He said, “From diminishing fresh water sources to desertification and loss of arable land to high water levels and flooding, survival-induced conflict in the search for land, food, and water, higher cost of living arising from volatile rises and crashes in the cost of oil and hydrocarbons as sources of energy for fuel, heating, lighting and production of goods and services, the human civilisation faces a turbulent survival.
“The examples at home are many — the erosion of Nigeria’s coastal waterfronts, loss of property and lives as a result of flooding, loss of grazing land as a result of desert encroachment, diminution of Lake Chad, silting of many rivers, requiring humongous capital outlay to re-dredge and maintain them to serve their sustenance purpose of transport and agriculture, clashes between herdsman and communities, power outages, high cost of fuel, electricity and drinking water, etc.”
In the light of all this, the minister made some recommendations, asking Nigerians to change their lifestyle if the climate change phenomenon would be successfully addressed.
He said, “We, as the cause of the problem, in the way that we have lived and the choices we have made, must change. This is a change that is dictated by the necessity to survive and this is the heart of adaptation on the compelling relevance of this forum.
“The way we use land, the way we use electricity, the way we use petrol, the way we use water, the way we use transport facilities and the way we do many other things that we took for granted now demand a rethink and adaptation. This is because our planet has changed; and for it to serve us, we must adapt.
“My proposed method of intervention will be to bring up a few examples, ask questions, and leave us to reflect and make the choice whether or not to adapt. In many parts of Nigeria today, it is commonplace to see houses built without windows and therefore no access to sunlight.
“Although these occurrences are common with some of our very vulnerable people, many of whom live in unplanned settlements called slums, the time to rethink installing a window in such houses is now; and the time to ensure that no such houses (even if unplanned) are built without windows is now.
“Furthermore, I will quickly mention the need for designs to embrace energy-saving technology like sensors that automatically switch off power when not in use, low energy-consuming light bulbs, all of these must now be standard practice in architecture and urban design classrooms and seminars.”