By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Connected Development in collaboration with Transcorp Hilton and Abuja Global Shapers, joined millions of people around the world to observe the 2021 Earth Hour, in order to raise awareness and educate the citizens on the need to make personal commitments that will galvanize the needed action to ensure that post COVID-19, climate change will be taken very serious.
The event took place on Saturday in Transcorp Hilton Abuja, where participants made personal commitments to safeguard the environment by changing their actions, as well as creating awareness and enlightening others on the need to think about the environment.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive, Connected Development, Hamzat Lawal, noted that climate change is one of the devastating crises the world is facing, noting that collective effort is needed to achieve policy and decision making as global warming affects everyone.
He disclosed that CODE has been working with Transcorp Hilton for the past six years on this great initiative, which has led to communities and citizens taking action to reduce the use of energy consumption.
According to him, “Today we are ravaged with a health crisis because we have not taken our earth and immediate environment very serious and with this commitment, we are hoping that post Covid-19 we will have more political will, we will put in place policy and regulatory framework, we will galvanize mass action particularly at the grassroots in ensuring that the Great Green Wall for instance that connects 11 countries, the green belt will be built and Government will release needed resources.
“We know that Nigeria has the Great Green Wall initiative where at inception N10 billion were approved and released for this initiative. I think as young people, accountability is key because as much as the Government has the political will, if citizens do not mass mobilize to ensure transparency and accountability of utilization of these resources, then we will not have a green belt connecting Nigeria to Djibouti down to Mali”.
Lawal further stated that to have a unified action, Nigeria needs to have a climate change commission, and called on President Buhari to leave the legacy of ensuring that he champions climate action, not just providing lip service, but inspiring legislative frameworks that get executive backing so that Nigeria can have a Climate Change commission and inspire Africa to take action.
“I believe that this action, irrespective of the political will, will go a long way. I call on all of us here, beyond this one hour, to commit to mother earth and nature. We have inspired our Government in Nigeria to come up with an energy mix whereby the over 70 million people that are not connected to the National grid, enjoy clean energy using solar power. What you do after this hour will count.”, he said.
In his welcome remarks, the General Manager, Transcorp Hilton, Kevin Brett, noted that the Earth Hour is about protecting the planet and its resources, adding that today, more than one billion people around the world would come together for this call, for action on climate change by doing something very simple, just switching off their lights.
He pointed out that this gesture makes a bold statement about the importance of collective action on climate change. “We are proud to participate in our power and have asked you to join us and others around the world in this very important effort”, he said.
For her part, Ijeoma Osuji, Public Relations and Marketing Executive, Transcorp Hilton Abuja, said Hilton is committed to cut down environmental footprint by half, and increase their social impact before 2030, adding that it is in line with the Earth Hour which is why Transcorp Hilton Abuja is involved.
“In Transcorp Hilton Abuja, we go beyond tonight to do a lot of sustainable actions like our light bulbs are all energy saving bulbs, we recycle soaps from the guest rooms, we don’t just throw them as waste into the environment because we will be polluting the environment.
“We encourage everyone to do the same by turning off nonessential lights, use more paper and not nylon bags and dispose of them properly. I and Transcorp are enjoining all of us to pledge to live sustainably going forward”, she stated.
Also speaking, Murtala Abdullahi, Climate and Security Reporter and Member of the Abuja Global Shapers, noted that localized and global action are what is required to combat the impact of climate change across the world, adding that the observance of the Earth Hour is an important moment where people take little bit important steps to conserve our resources, energy and to remind us that the earth, our environment and our lives are intertwined together
He emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that if the environment is not looked after, the environment will not look after us, adding that immediate actions are necessary to avert another pandemic.
The Abuja Metropolitan Music Society (AMEMUSO) treated the guests to rendition of several songs.