An environment NGO, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), has charged African nations to adopt agro-ecology and discontinue further use of fossil fuel as part of sustainable efforts to combat the threats of climate change.
The executive director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey made this call during a workshop on benefits of agroecology as a real solution to climate change.
Bassey, a Nigerian architect and award-winning environmentalist, author and poet, talked about what he deemed to be a subtle exploitation of the African continent in the climate change matrix.
The environment activist stated that the ravages of climate change on Africa and other vulnerable territories as manifested in the extreme weather events, like the recurrent flooding episodes in Nigeria and other places, cyclones in other parts of the world, and the heat waves in North America that have claimed thousands of lives and livelihoods, should be clear signals to all who care, to pay close attention to the problem except those who still live in denial about its reality.
He warned that these are just the beginning of the climate change catastrophe if the viable solutions are not pragmatically adopted in due time to address the crisis.
He lamented that instead of tackling the climate change crisis, leaders allow profit interests, and political considerations becloud their mindset about the sustainable approach to it.
In his address titled, “Agroecology as a Real Solution to Climate Change,” Bassey said: “The ravages of climate change on Africa and other vulnerable territories are by now clear to all who care to pay attention except those in sheer denial. Extreme weather events like the reoccurring flooding episodes in the Niger Delta, cyclones in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Eswatini and the heat waves in North America that have claimed thousands of lives and livelihoods are just the beginning of birth pains of the climate catastrophe if we keep peddling false solutions and avoiding real actions to tackle the crisis.
“Destructive activities including irresponsible extraction and consumption, industrial agriculture and wars are at the core of the climate change menace yet instead of tackling these at the base, we give room for corporate profit interests, political and military dominance perpetuating the myths that climate change can be solved with mathematical formulae and other market schemes.”
READ ALSO: African Govts Ignore Global Decarbonisation Agenda, Says Environment Activist, Nnimmo Bassey
He said some technologies are worsening the problem and are no solutions to the climate crisis. Such, technologies he stated, include “intentional large-scale manipulation of earth systems otherwise known as geoengineering – including solar radiation management, ocean fertilization, rock weathering and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage.
“Other common false solutions are carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), carbon trading, net zero/carbon offsetting and REDD+. Carbon capture or even carbon removal must be approached from the sensible understanding that continual extraction and burning of fossil fuels are counterproductive and injurious to the planet, the people and other beings.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that landed us in the mess in the first place,” Bassey added.
On possible solutions, he said “Agro-ecology has been proven to cool the planet by enabling soils retain carbon, and reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released in various industrial agriculture processes such as production of inorganic fertilizers, transportation of food over long distances, intensive mechanisation etc. In addition, agroecology builds biodiversity which is key in resilience of ecosystems to climate change impacts.”
Bassey stated that the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ought to be a democratic space where real solutions such as agroecology are demanded with commitments made accordingly.
He advised that countries in Africa that have suffered the most from climate change must be adequately represented and carefully examine the narratives driving the conversations and negotiations at the upcoming COP 27 in Egypt.
He said “The COP 27 should return to the drawing board and focus on binding emissions cuts with polluting nations accepting to do their fair share on the basis of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) rather than the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that so far have not dented the huge store of carbon in the atmosphere.”
While urging commitment to phase down of continued use of coal, Bassey called on African leaders to “demand climate justice and insist on the payment of climate debt for historical and current harms.
“The marketization of Nature, including through diverse forms of carbon trading must be denounced and rejected,” he added.
“African leaders going to the COP 27 must demand for investment in agroecology with support for the majority farmers, rather than industrial, colonial or plantation agriculture that depends on fossil fuels, promotes risky technologies, and continues to devastate the environment, displace communities, and feed climate change.
“This School of Ecology will further expose the false climate change solutions and highlight the relevance of agroecology in climate change mitigation and resilience,” Bassey concluded.