Let me take you back to see the major causes of unsustainable natural resources utilization and environmental degradation as a whole. In this context, since then, both development and poverty have been contributing to environmental degradation.
With development, people think of economic development only without looking back the cost and externalities that natural resources and environment encounters, such that at the end of the day we attain economic development living in the world of depleted natural resources and environment that threatens life on the globe. So, what is the use of this development if it ruins humankind?
With poverty, man is proving to be man’s own enemy by destroying nature and polluting the surrounding where he lives. The whole of this is done in the course of looking for livelihood sources. People cut down trees for polls, firewood, charcoal making for sale, and expansion of farms e.t.c. With poverty, people think of no alternative to meet their household requirements except from natural resources.
With environmental education, our people should be trained on how to interact sustainably with their environment, moreover there is a need to train our people on alternative ways of getting household earnings. The local communities should be guided to form small groups where different economic strategies can be easily imparted to free these people from natural resource dependency.
In groups people can be trained on how to use modern beehives that yield enough honey for business, also people should be imparted with new skills of collecting honey instead of using fires that kill the bees and worse still turns large forests to deserts.
For the livestock keepers, they can be trained and enforced to reduce their large herds of cattle and start to keep cattle depending on the carrying capacity of the area. With better handling of our livestock, we can increase both quality and quantity of beef and milk yields. This will make us increase our incomes and become less dependent to natural resources.
In groups, people can be trained to form Village Community Banks/Community Conservation Banks i. e VICOBA/COCOBA respectively. With such group savings group members are eligible to access small loans with simpler conditionals for every community to meet that will enable them to initiate small income generation activities.
With all these, it is the role of the GOs and NGOs to provide adequate knowledge to the Village environmental committees on laws and policies that govern natural resources and environment. Such communities when empowered can amicably conserve the environment.
Last but not least all together should restore back the sense of ownership of natural resource to the local communities that, they should feel that the NR in their vicinities belongs to them, thus everyone has to be a faithful custodian of it.
I know that it is difficult to attain the standards we desire, we will not succeed in one day or in one year, but what I can assure you today is that together we can make this happen.
So ladies and gentlemen, let’s opt for these bitter choices for the betterment for promising undiminished future of mankind.