Between Climate Change and “Igbo Irunmole”.

It’s early November and rain still pour as if it were in June or July – the peak of rainy season in Nigeria. Early morning rainfall experience in ember months has become a norm and we are fast getting used to it. Flooding is sweeping through many states, lives and properties have been lost, families displaced from their homes etc.This is the simplest way to understand that Climate Change is real and here with us.

Deforestation is a major cause of Climate change and one in which Africa is more culpable than the industrialised nations. On their own part, the advanced countries are largely responsible for the greenhouse emmissions heating the globe through their large scale industrial activities. According to experts, halting the loss and degradation of forest ecosystems and promoting their restoration can contribute over one-third of the total climate change mitigation required by 2030 to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Back home in Southwestern Nigeria,our forefathers proactively engaged the use of indigenous knowledge for forest conservation. They established what is known as scared grooves and sacred forests. The likes of Osun groove in Osogbo, the “Igbo Irunmole” or “Igbo oro” in the old Oyo empire and so on. These are large expanse of land where forests and animals are preserved but often designated for traditional purposes. Virtually every city has one of such forests or grooves before intense urbanisation and other human activities led to their dissapearance.

Beyond the traditional and religious purposes often ascribed to these forests and grooves, which I am grossly unqualified to write about, they have for many years being of huge environmental benefits to human survival. It was simply our forefathers’ creative approach to Forest Conservation. Knowingly or unknowingly to them, their thinking and actions created a buffer against climate change as rainforests play a vital role in protecting the planet against global warming. These forests suck greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and release oxygen.

The big question today is: Where are the vast expanse of thick forest like the ‘Igbo irunmoles’ or ‘Igbo oro’ of the 17th and 18th century? Those density and thick forest? They have vanished, the ‘Igbo Irunmoles’ have given way to grassland because of constant deforestation and indescriminate logging of wood for fossil fuel, agricultural, housing and industrial uses.

If our forefathers without western education and the challenges of climate change can use indigenous knowledge to create “Igbo Irunmoles” and grooves. With our 21st century education, better knowledge of the environment and so on, what modern measures are we deploying to conserve and restore the forest, how do we intend to mitigate the scourge of climate change, what are we doing to protect the environment from becoming inhabitable and what plans do we have for the coming generations?

Effort towards setting up a Green Initiative that aims to promote tree planting, environmental protection and addressing the problem of Climate Change is ongoing. Interested volunteers, schools and organisations can signify

Email: info@tundeolatunji.com

With a growing population of about 200Million, if we plant at least a tree per head every 2 years and plant a tree in honour of every new child, Nigeria can grow about one billion trees within a decade. I have planted mine and I’m still planting. Will you plant yours? Please plant one and let’s save the earth.

Good morning and I wish you a purposeful and productive new week.

‘Tunde Olatunji
Office of the Chief Whip
Osun State House of Assembly
www.tundeolatunji.com