Bad Weather

Uloma took a long and hard look at the poor condition of her skin;  it had gone from soft and silky to wrinkled and scaly. She wondered what could have gone wrong overnight, as she called out to her sister who was cooking in the kitchen.

“Ada please come o! My skin is wrinkled and ashy; it’s starting to look like an old woman’s skin”

Ada came close to her sister to take a close look at her skin; she took both of Uloma’s hands and examined them closely

“Come on Uloma! Stop being a drama queen, it is just the harmattan.” Uloma replied

“But there was harmattan last year and the year before and it wasn’t this severe, it keeps getting worse, it looks as if each year is worse than the one before” Uloma countered.

Well! You have climate change to blame for that. If we don’t change the way we do things, it is only going to get worse” Ada replied.

“Ahn ahn Ada! What has climate change got to do with the severity of the harmattan?” Uloma queried

“Uloma climate change is responsible for the drastic changes in environmental condition we have been experiencing lately. If you have noticed weather conditions have been a bit extreme in recent years; during the rainy season, it rains non-stop here in Benin City causing a lot of flooding and erosion. Last year dad’s uncle lost his farmland to flooding and when the flood finally subsided, the fertile part of the soil was completely eroded. He lost his only source of livelihood and had to start from scratch” Ada replied

“Do you know what causes this climate change” Ada continued, to which Uloma replied “no”.

“Many of our daily activities, the burning of fossil fuels in our cars, generators and the flaring of gas during the exploration of crude oil, have all been linked to climate change. When fossil fuels are burned, a very large quantity of carbon is released into the atmosphere and these interfere with the normal cycle of things, resulting in adverse climatic conditions. The release of these substances affects everyone around the globe, irrespective of where it is released because we all share a common atmosphere. Climate change results in adverse weather conditions, the dry season is drier, the rainy season wetter and the harmattan becomes harsher” Ada added.

“The extremely “dry” dry season dries out the soil, making it very loose and it can easily be blown away by strong gusts of wind during the harmattan or swept away during the rainy season resulting in soil erosion. A prolonged dry season can lead to the encroachment of deserts.  Soil erosion strips the soil of vital nutrients and desertification strips it of moisture, both the nutrients and moisture are needed to support plant life. When the soil is stripped of both, food shortage and starvation is inevitable. We all need the environment for our survival, and when the environment suffers, we all suffer. If climate change is not tackled, the environment may not be fit to support us and future generations.” Ada continued.

“Wow, Ada, this little discussion has been kind of informative, how can we overcome climate change?” Uloma asked.

“To overcome climate change we need to invest in renewable sources of energy, reduce the rate of deforestation and find more innovative ways to conserve our natural resources. Using renewable sources of energy will ensure that pollutants such as carbon and sulphur compounds are not released into the atmosphere. Afforestation, which is the planting of trees, will help the soil retain moisture by reducing the rate at which water evaporates from the soil, thereby preventing the encroachment of deserts. Also trees purify the atmosphere by taking up carbon during photosynthesis, using it to manufacture glucose and releasing oxygen in the process”. Ada answered

“Thank Ada for educating me about climate change, I promise to be more conscious of the environment from now on. I will pass what I have learnt today on to others, plant as many trees as I can in my lifetime, reduce my over dependence on fossil fuels and reduce my carbon foot prints”. Uloma replied.

“You are welcome Uloma, do not hesitate to let me know if you need anything on your quest to becoming the next Wangari Mathai” Ada said teasingly.

They both laughed heartily, as Ada exited the room leaving Uloma to ponder on what she had just heard.