Our lives all depend on nature as much as nature also depends on us. Everything about our activities as humans leave a mark on nature whether it be positive or negative; people living in highly sophisticated societies with skyscrapers need breathing air as those living in thick rain forests and river basins. Our source for food to eat whether we buy from the supermarket or take it from the farm is all from nature. Nature provides for our livelihood from birth until death.
You could decide to argue or maybe innovatively think of ways to produce natural resources, for example, drinking water from your chemistry lessons. You might ask, why can’t we combine the molecules of water Hydrogen and Oxygen to form H2O. That would be a great idea but we still do not have the technology to manufacture large amounts of water in the laboratory . We would not be able to cater for all of humanities demand for water. The same applies to the air we breathe, which is purified and oxygenated by plants . We are highly dependent on nature for so, when we speak about preserving nature, we are really also talking about preserving ourselves.
In your biology class, you would have learnt about the water cycle and its complexities. In theory the cycle is perfect but factually climate change is taking a huge toll on our water cycle, leading to unpredictability in water availability and exacerbating water scarcity. Meanwhile, the lives of millions of people are being destroyed yearly as a result of water-related record numbers of water-related disasters –floods in the Lagos, Nigeria; droughts worsening across Africa, and storms around the World
The problems we experience with nature is not limited to water; the negative effects of our actions are significantly affecting nature as a whole. We need a healthy, diverse ecosystems to help us adapt to, or better manage, these changes and maybe we can reverse ecosystem degradation and help make societies more resilient to climate impacts by conserving, restoring and sustainably managing ecosystems.
For our own well-being, we must help nature by understanding the importance of nature and biodiversity. Every one of us have to be involved in protecting nature, we have to trace our activities that are causing pollution, depleting the ozone layer, causing climate change, species extinction, flooding, fire storms and many more. We are asking that you look deeply into innovative ideas you can develop to help your environment reduce our ecological footprint, conserve nature, and connect with nature.
Would you like to know some of the areas in which you can help to converse nature ?
Water Scarcity: Water is a basic necessity of life, water that is safe for drinking, cooking and other domestic usage is becoming rarer as the full-on effect of climate change is being felt. Solutions to providing clean and safe water at a reduced cost is therefore important. You may find some project ideas here on water conservation useful in inspiring your project idea:
Renewable Energy: Use of fossil fuels is largely responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases, while a large percentage of the rural and semi-urban population lacks access to the grid. There is the need to transition to a renewable, cleaner and more sustainable energy sources to build inclusive communities that are well integrated to each other. You may find some project ideas here on renewable energy useful in inspiring your project idea:
- Protection of Biodiversity: Flora and fauna keeps getting lost due to the effects of deforestation, climate change, poaching and unregulated game hunting. These has led to the loss of 8% of known animal species and 22% are at risk of extinction. There is therefore the need for conclusive solutions to put an end to the threats and conserve plant and animal life. You may find some project ideas here on renewable energy useful in inspiring your project idea:
- Plastic Pollution: Plastics have many valuable uses but we have become addicted to disposable plastics which has great environmental consequences. One million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute around the world, while 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once — and then thrown away. Plastic waste is now so ubiquitous in the natural environment and we need to slow the flow of plastic at its source, but we also need to improve the way we manage our plastic waste. You may find some inspiration here for solving plastic pollution in your community
- Freshwater Life: Though very important in our daily living, it is a finite resource as just 3% of all the world’s water, is fresh water. It is very critical to natural and human communities but threatened by a myriad of forces including over-development, polluted runoff and global warming. Despite their importance to life as a drinking water source, sustaining crops through irrigation, providing food in the form of fish, powering homes through dams and moving goods by barges –freshwater habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate.  What solutions can you proffer to protecting Freshwater Life? Check here and also these educative materials to help inspire your thoughts
- Marine Life: This Years’ World Oceans Day took place on June 8, 2021. It presented a unique opportunity to connect and unite all of humanity to focus on action for a healthier ocean and more sustainable society. A healthy ocean is a critical part of the solution to the climate crisis around the world. We can protect our planet’s life support systems – specifically the interconnected issues of the ocean, climate, and biodiversity. There has never been a more critical time be a part of world leaders find solutions to marine life challenges which will determine the health of our oceans and the security of future generations for decades to come. With your help and that of hundreds of others worldwide, we can protect 30% of our blue planet by 2030 “30×30”. Check here for project idea inspirations. You could also check here for more inspiration.
- Imperiled Species: According to the journal of Conservation Biology, “current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than natural background rates of extinction and future rates are likely to be 10,000 times higher” We therefore need to start looking for ways to make a change to human activities making species go extinct. You may find some project ideas here useful in inspiring your project idea.
- Threatened Ecosystem: This covers project ideas that are aimed at securing the future through the preservation of ecosystem and the diversity of life that it supports (nature conservation and biodiversity). To inspire your thoughts, see examples of projects on health ecosystems. (Please note that the projects exemplified here are not to be duplicated in your submission, they are only to inspire your thoughts. Projects that will be selected for the programme must be innovative and address a challenge or need in your context).
- Wildlife Conservation: There is intense pressure on wildlife through human population growth and rapid development. There is real urgency to protect and maintain the earth’s remaining natural ecosystems and biodiversity including our wildlife. Would you like to kind of ways you can get involved in your community and beyond to make a difference? You may find some project ideas here useful in inspiring your wildlife conservation project idea.
- Climate Change: The burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas for electricity, heat, and transportation is the primary source of human-generated emissions. A second major source is deforestation, which releases sequestered carbon into the air. All these contribute to climate change or global warming which has great consequences to our survival on earth. There is therefore need for solutions to reduce the consequences of climate change and prevent further global warming. You may find some project ideas here and here on climate change and global warming useful in inspiring your project idea.
Are you applying for ISNAD-Africa’s Environmental Education Programme 2021/2022 ? Please note that the projects exemplified in the weblinks are not to be duplicated in your submission, they are only to inspire your thoughts. Projects selected for the programme would be innovative projects that address a challenge in your chosen context. Also note that challenges note captured by these broad categorizations can still be looked into as far as you can demonstrate that the project idea is within nature conservation.
We look forward to receiving your applications and ultimately working with you to conserving nature across Africa.
Authors: Dawn Oluwadare , Adedoyin Adeleke