Ya'u Mukhtar
Ya'u Mukhtar

Global Warming and Looming Dangers on Living Beings, By Ya’u Mukhtar

NEWS DIGEST – To begin with, I recently travelled to Dungas and Wacha in Damagaran, Niger Republic where I engaged a friend on a courtesy visit. We prepared and set on our road early passing through Maigatari border in Jigawa state. Immediately when I set my sight on Niger soil, the most important issue that came into my mind and captivated my attention was the nature of the biome which I found myself. The distribution of the plant cover is a typical of Sahel savannah region, conveniently known as desert vegetation. The vegetation usually receives very little precipitation per annum and was characterized by the presence of very few scattered trees and some grass species which are known to survive in a drier condition. According to my perception which has been proved beyond any doubt by several researchers, this scanty vegetation cover contributed a lot to the intense hotness in this Sahelian region. As a result of this, the earth’s atmospheric temperature is on the increase and this has contributed a lot to critical global warming which makes the place a boring place to inhabit when due consideration is given to climatic conditions as a means of justification.

Sequel to this, I deem it necessary to briefly look at an overview on the causes and effects of global warming on living organisms. Subsequently, some possible remedies were also proffered which when implemented appropriately will of course help in management and control of this harsh environmental condition both in Niger and Nigeria.

This continuous rise in temperature of the earth is really upsetting and the root cause of this is global warming which begins when sunlight reaches the earth. Global warming is a serious issue which occurs as a result of multifactorial causes, mainly natural and human influences. Over the centuries, the pattern of the climate has been dynamic. Global warming can happens due to the natural rotation of the sun that changes the intensity of sunlight and moving closer to the earth thereby emitting more heat to it.

The major natural cause of global warming is the greenhouse gases. They include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogenous oxides and in some cases chlorine and bromine containing compounds. These gases trap the solar radiant energy within the atmosphere and re-radiate it back toward the earth surface and their overall effects bring about abnormal increase in the planet temperature.

However, human influences have been the major causes of global warming more than the natural ones. The environmental biologist have noted that, the attitude and treatment of humans toward the environment especially vegetation is seriously dangerous. And the earth has been changing for many years until now and it is still changing because of modern life style of humans. Human threatening activities to the ecosystem that contribute a lot to global warming includes industrial revolution, burning fossil fuel, mining, bush burning and the most dangerous one which is illegal cutting down of trees i.e. deforestation.

Industries usually burn fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas for powering machines. During the process, the machines emit a lot of carbon dioxide which accumulate in the atmosphere and trap solar rays. Besides industries, transporting vehicles such as cars, due to incomplete combustion also release carbon monoxide from exhaust which pollute the atmosphere and increases global warming.

The most common issue that causes global warming is deforestation. In this modern world, people have been known to cut down trees to satisfy their various desires such as building of accommodation, industries, schools, hospitals, acquire more lands for agriculture etc. besides that, people also cut down trees to produce papers or books, wood, timber, clothing, farming tools just to mention but few. However, the consequences of such action upon our natural ecosystem can never be overemphasized. Continuing deforestation can leads to high accumulation of carbon dioxide released during animal respiration in the atmosphere because there are less plants to absorb it, and this can directly triggers global warming. The carbon released during burning also reacts with the atmospheric oxygen to give carbon dioxide which increases its concentration in the atmosphere. When there are very few plants, the rate of photosynthesis will also dropped thereby leading to relatively low level of inhale oxygen in the atmosphere.

Global warming can severely affect the health of living beings. Excess heat can cause stress which may lead to blood pressure and heart diseases. Crop failures and famines, which are a direct consequence of heating up of earth leads to food shortage, can cause a decline in human body resistance to viruses and infections. Global warming may also transfer various diseases to other regions as people will shift from regions of higher temperatures to regions of comparatively lower temperatures through migration. Warmer oceans and other surface waters may lead to severe cholera outbreaks and harmful infections in some types of sea food. Moreover, it is an established fact that warmer temperatures lead to dehydration which is a major cause of kidney stones.

More so, overheating of the planet can leads to dermatological diseases such as severe skin burns. Subsequently, the solar rays hitting our body directly from the atmosphere can bring about a sudden change in the sequence of our genetic makeup/DNA. This in turns leads to mutation which can be either beneficial or deleterious in most cases.

The hazards caused by global warming are tremendous. Excessive use of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil play a part in it too. The usage of fossil fuels should be discontinued immediately. The most significant solution to put an end to this disaster is the use of alternative energy sources. They include wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro. The most noteworthy point in using these sources is their clean nature as they do not produce any sort of pollution or toxic gases that can lead to global warming. They are environmentally friendly and pose no threat to ecological balance. However, their high installation and setup costs may drive energy companies and households away from them at first but in the long run they are surely beneficial for everyone. Most importantly, fossil fuels will deplete one day and sooner or later, we have to turn to renewable energy sources for energy production. Thus, the eventual solution to end global warming is to use alternative energy sources.

Let me finally conclude by strategizing the needs for a sustainable tree planting project exercise within all our localities and the subsequent conservation of existing plant biodiversity. These trees, together with the rocks helps in anchoring the soil together thereby preventing the occurrence of several environmental hazards such as flooding, soil erosion and desert encroachment. Large populations of trees through photosynthesis provide adequate oxygen for respiration by animals and also help in absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide which in turn reduces the intensity of global warming.

(M Sc. Candidate, Ethnomedicine, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria)
[email protected] / [email protected]

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