Category: Energy Conservation

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The Ozone layer

Ever heard of the Ozone layer and how we constantly contribute to its depletion?

The first time I learned about the Ozone layer, I was in elementary class and I found it interesting. I remember talking to my dad and siblings about it then. Now, let me explain what it means and how we deplete it every day.

The ozone layer is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It contains a high concentration of ozone (O3). Don’t get this wrong, the sun’s radiation is essential to humans, animals, and plants’ survival but too much of it is harmful. So basically, what the OL does is absorb a type of radiation called ultraviolet radiation, or UV light, which can penetrate organisms’ protective layers, like skin, damaging DNA molecules in plants and animals.

I’m sure you understand why the ozone layer should be protected at all cost. Unfortunately, it is getting thinner and thinner every day because of a chemical known as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). A chlorofluorocarbon is a molecule that contains carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. CFCs are everywhere, mostly in styrofoam and plastic products. Businesses and consumers use them because they’re inexpensive, they don’t catch fire easily, and they don’t usually poison living things. But the CFCs start eating away at the ozone layer once they get blown into the stratosphere.

Before you burn any plastic or styrofoam, bear in mind that you are contributing to the destruction of the one thing that cannot be repaired. So, instead of burning them, recycle them.

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Nigeria And Carbon Credit

The next few years will be important in the development of Nigeria and Carbon Credit.

Due to the increased number of large industries, combustible fossil fuels such as coal, power plant gas, oil, vehicles in Nigeria, the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases has become alarming.

Carbon dioxide is a harmful gas to humans but essential to plants. It can linger in the atmosphere for a thousand years. An increase in the amount of carbon dioxide creates an overabundance of greenhouse gases that trap additional heat. This trapped heat leads to melting ice caps and rising ocean levels.

In other to reduce the rate of harmful effects of these gases, the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Agreement of 2015  laid out international CO2 emissions goals. With the latter ratified by all but six countries, they have given rise to national emissions targets and the regulations to back them.

With these new regulations in force, the pressure on businesses to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint is growing. Most of today’s solutions involve the use of the carbon markets.

The carbon market has successfully turned CO2 emissions into a commodity by giving it a price. These emissions fall into one of two categories: Carbon credits or carbon offsets, and they can both be bought and sold on a carbon market.

A carbon credit is a permit that allows the company that holds it to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. One credit permits the emission of a mass equal to one ton of carbon dioxide. It’s aimed at reducing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Carbon offset on the other hand is a certificate representing the reduction of one ton of carbon dioxide emissions. It is a way of balancing the scales of pollution.  Offset schemes have been used successfully in the past to solve other environmental problems.

According to Bala Wunti, managing director of NAPIMS ( National Petroleum Investment Management Services), Nigeria has earned about €1 million from cutting carbon emission in its oil and gas production in joint projects between TotalEnergies and the NNPC subsidiary, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).

In May 2021, Total announced an ambition to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 together with society for its global business across its production and energy products used by its customers.

Through a joint statement developed between Total S.A. and institutional investors – as participants in the global investor initiative Climate 100+1 – Total said it would take 3 major steps towards achieving this ambition.

These include Zero across Total’s worldwide operations by 2050 or sooner, Net Zero across all its production and energy products used by its customers in Europe by 2050 or sooner, 60 percent or more reduction in the average carbon intensity of energy products used worldwide by Total customers by 2050 with intermediate steps of 15 percent by 2030 and 35 percent by 2040.

Since Total and NNPC has taken the first step in Nigeria, it will be good for other top organizations in Nigeria to follow suit. With this development, it is hoped that the reduction of CO2 in Nigeria will be swift.

 

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Green Bond Project in Lagos

The Green Bond project in Lagos is set to begin.

A Green bond is a type of fixed income instrument. Governments, banks, municipalities, and corporations use green bonds to raise money for new or existing climate and environmental projects. They are aimed at encouraging sustainability and supporting climate and the environment.

Recently, the Lagos State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Financial Market Dealers Quotations and Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) to raise funds for the Lagos Green Bond Market Development Programme. The government hopes to use the bond to address climate change and environmental challenges in the state.

Governor Sanwo-Olu

Earlier, Governor Sanwo-Olu lamented that climate change is expected to hit developing countries the hardest. Unfortunately, low-lying states such as Lagos are expected to fare the worst.

Despite the devastating effects, the governor noted that investors increasingly viewed climate change as a gateway to new business opportunities. Investors now have an opening to profitably protect the planet – Green Bonds.

Typically, green bonds are commonly used to finance projects like energy efficiency projects, renewable energy projects, and pollution prevention.  Other considerations include Clean Transportation projects, wastewater, and water management projects. Also, green bonds offer tax incentives, such as tax exemptions and tax credits, in order to attract investors to the projects.

As such, the government expects to raise between N25billion and N100billion from the bond issue. This is according to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Mrs. Solape Hammond.

Accordingly, the Chief Executive of FMDQ Group, Bola Onadele-Koko, noted that the project is in line with the Governor’s THEMES agenda. The agenda hopes to achieve the SDGs as highlighted by the United Nations, which includes job creation, economic growth, etc.

Interestingly, the project will tackle goals 6 – clean water and sanitation, 7 – Affordable and clean energy, 8 – Decent and economic growth. More specifically, however, the bond will directly impact goal 13 – climate action of the SDGs.

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Jollof Rice & The Environment

What does jollof rice have to do with government policy on LPG use? Well, the Federal government is making efforts to encourage citizens to utilize Nigeria’s huge gas reserve and discourage the use of firewood in Nigeria.

wonderwoman, firewood, LPG apathy, wonderbag, smoked fish

Mrs. Koffo posing with her wonderbag in her fish-smoking room.

Meet Mrs. Koffo, a smoked-fish monger at Ibeju lekki. Her husband is a fishnet maker while her son is a fisherman. We came across them during the Zenith Bank-sponsored LPG awareness and empowerment campaign at Ibeju Lekki.

LPG For The Home, Not For Business

Mrs. Koffo, was excited and welcomed the idea of LPG, which she soon started using to make meals at home. However, she frowned at it when she was told that it could also be used to smoke fish. At the time, She dried fish in an enclosed space. Here, she inhales a huge amount of smoke on a daily basis, thus jeopardizing her health.

Team members were quick to observe that Mrs. Koffo looked many years older than her stated age. In every likelihood, her many hours of “smoking” were responsible for this.

Yet, according to her, “the look, feel and taste of the fish will be different if she uses gas”. In the same way, some people would always opt for “firewood rice”(Jollof rice made with firewood), claiming it had a better taste.

Firewood Jollof vs LPG Jollof

The “look and feel” of smoked fish, and the taste of firewood Jollof, are but 2 of the many challenges still to overcome in the drive for LPG use in Nigeria. Policymakers and in this case, policy drivers, must be well aware of the cultural nuances in the country as the campaign progresses. Typically, these age-old norms are hard to change. And when change comes at a seemingly high financial cost, it is even more difficult to effect.

Although we had achieved moderate success during this campaign, we noticed that some traditional practices could hinder the use of LPG in many communities in Nigeria.

 

 

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HEALTH BENEFIT OF CONNECTING WITH NATURE

The health benefits of spending time in nature are massive. Some of these benefits relate to our physical health, demonstrating time outside has direct impacts on health measures such as blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. A large part of these benefits has to do with the physical activities that happen in green spaces, such as walking, hiking, team sports, and more.

Studies have shown that after being exposed to a stressful situation, viewing a nature scene or being in nature can actually help lower the physiological effects of stress such as heart rate, muscle tension, and pulse transit times. Additionally, research in prisons shows that inmates with cell windows with views of the natural world had lower rates of digestive illnesses, headaches, and had fewer sick calls overall. The stress-reducing health benefits of nature also extend to the workplace. Employees with a view of nature perceive lower levels of job stress and higher levels of job satisfaction

Humans elicit positive psychological responses to nature, which involve feelings of pleasure, sustained attention or interest, feeling a “relaxed wakefulness,” and a decrease of negative emotions such as anger and anxiety. All of these effects can be beneficial in our professional and academic environments, as well as our personal lives.

When a person is exposed to nature, the brain is better able to relieve itself of “excess” circulation (or activity) and nervous system activation is reduced, allowing us to feel relaxed and present. Additionally, experience with nature can help strengthen the activities of the right hemisphere of the brain, and help restore harmony to the brain as a whole.

After hours of sitting behind a desk or in front of a computer, it can be pretty easy to feel drained and tired. However, research has shown that exposure to nature can help promote a sense of natural fascination and curiosity, which can help increase creativity.

Viewing natural scenic areas may actually reduce the physiological effects of stress. Patients in hospitals with access to view natural scenery show increased recovery rates, had better evaluations from nurses, required fewer pain killers, and had less post-operative complications compared to those who viewed urban scenes.

When given a choice, people prefer natural environments (particularly those with natural water features, large old trees, intact vegetation, or minimal human influence) to urban ones. This period, take your friends, your loved ones, or just yourself and enjoy all the outdoor wonders of nature!

 

 

Energy ConservationEnvironmental NewsfeaturedPollution

THE BLACK AND WHITE OF TEA BAGS

You would probably be surprised to learn that most tea bags contain up to 25% plastics. The main reason for this is that in order for the tea bags to seal up and keep their shape in hot liquid, a plastic polymer, namely polypropylene, must be added. This is usually so that the tea bag is held in a  shape, which producers claim helps the tea leaves infuse better. Even though the amounts of plastic found in tea bags is minimal and vary between manufacturers it adds up to quite a bit when you look at the big picture.

Due to the plastic content, conventional tea bags cannot completely decompose. This makes them a bad option for compost material and the environment… not to mention your body.

Recent research from McGill University in Canada also found that most types of tea bags leak millions of plastic particles into our drinks not only from the sealing plastic but from the bag itself. Microplastics have widely been found in the environment, in tap and bottled waters, and in some foods. A new study has found that a single plastic teabag steeped at a brewing temperature of 95 degrees Celsius releases around 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup

Most tea bags are made of thin and permeable papers and are not biodegradable. They contain harmful chemicals. The package and material can pollute the environment significantly.

However, it is not all doom and gloom with teabags.

There are few ways to recycle tea bags, including re-soaking used tea bags. This tea-enhanced water actually provides some nutrients if you use it to water your plants.  You can also break open the bag and sprinkle the wet leaves around potted plants for a similar effect.

Used tea bags can also be a great way to keep your glass and mirrors clean. Simply wipe the mirror or glass pane with a moist, used tea bag and dry with a soft cloth.

Leftover tea can even refresh your skin. Add a few used tea bags to a bowl of hot water and hold your head above the steam to moisturize your face. The same idea can be used to calm tired feet, too. Simply add the used tea bags and warm water to a soaking basin, immerse your feet, and relax.

So what do you do with your used tea bags?

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RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR ENVIROMENT

Human activity causes environmental degradation, which is deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; extinction of wildlife; and pollution.

The environment has an effect on people’s behavior and motivation to act.

When an environment is clean and neatly arranged, it influences the mood of people; for example: a well decorated room can bring about comfort and a relaxed state of mind. Interestingly, a bright room with so much lights, whether artificial or natural, can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, and sleep.

In the light of the above facts, we need keep our environment clean at all times, ensuring the cleanliness and proper aeration of our homes through any of the following habits;

  1. Disposing our dirt properly
  2. Weeding our environment periodically
  3. Curbing infestation through fumigation
  4. Habitual hand washing with soap and water; running water preferably.
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HUAWEI IDP INTERVENTION REPORT

It is December, just when the wind was getting chilly, with most people taking a deserved break from work to travel and be with loved ones. When the exchange of gifts becomes commonplace, it’s quite easy to overlook a few things, especially those that matter.

But, in the spirit of giving and community awareness, HUAWEI teamed up with Friends of the Environment (FOTE) to show love and care for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Abuja.

Nigeria is ranked 8th among the 9 countries in the world with the highest number of displaced persons (1.2million) and 4th in Africa, trailing DR Congo, Sudan and South Sudan.

IDPs are simply people who are on the run from home, facing, as in the case of Nigeria, multi-faceted complex and often over-lapping issues like insurgency, communal conflicts, flooding and violence between pastoralists and farmers.

These people flee from their homes in search of basic human needs, food, shelter and clothing; and they live in little colonies or camps with aid from the government, organizations and individuals.

Huawei, showing a high level of social responsibility and empathy, visited two IDP camps namely Area One IDP Camp and New Kuchingoro IDP Camp with a combined population of just a little over 4,200 persons.

The donations made to the camps comprised solar lamps in particular, food items, clothing, and sanitary pads for women.

Speaking at the handover of the items, the Huawei representative reiterated their commitment to connect with people, not just on a technological level but also on the human and humane level.

While socially responsible organizations are reaching out to help IDPs, the surface in reality has barely been scratched. The Chairman of the New Kuchingoro IDP Camp remarked with glee that this was the first time they were receiving any form of aid since 2014.

According to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), in the first half of 2019, about 142,000 new displacements were recorded in Nigeria, 140,000 by conflict and 2,000 by disasters.

Huawei has a tradition of caring for the less privileged, and it would go a long way if other organization would set their moral compass right and take a cue from the Asian tech giants.

Friends of the Environment remains committed to advocacy for the needy in society, while ensuring the use and application of energy efficient tools and practices at home and in the workplace.

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WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2019 – BEAT AIR POLLUTION

Just like yesterday, another year has rolled in to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED) which usually holds on the 5th of June, every year.

Friends of The Environment (FOTE), in collaboration with the Conservation Club of Federal Science and Technical College(FSTC), Yaba and West African Seasoning Company Limited organized a symposium to commemorate the world environment day.

The World Environment Day was first held in 1974 and has grown to become a global platform for public outreach with a view to stimulate global awareness on the need to protect and preserve the Environment for Sustainable Economic Development.

This year’s theme is– ‘Beat Air Pollution.

the sub-theme adopted by FOTE is the ‘Use of LPG as a Sustainable Fuel’.

Engr. (Mrs.) Joanna Olu. Maduka – Chairperson of FOTE, says there is a need for more Nigerians to embrace the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, if the plan to reduce air pollution and further cut down on the carbon footprint coming from firewood must be actualized. During the Welcome Address.

According to her, at present, we have discovered that many of our schools still use wood fuel for cooking. We therefore, have invited secondary schools with their teachers to this event, there will also be a cooking competition, while the efficiency of LPG will be compared to that of firewood, kerosene and charcoal as fuel for cooking.

She said, “This event is to launch the campaign for the creation of awareness and sensitization of our youths and women on the usage of LPG”.

Besides, despite the health and environmental issues attributed to the use of charcoal and firewood to cook, many Nigerians are yet to embrace other cleaner alternatives. Read more…

Environmental pollution: Group seeks transition from firewood to gas

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Why A Retreat To Nature Can Be So Therapeutic

Psychotherapist and philosopher Erich Fromm (1900-1980) called the longing for nature biophilia. This is people’s love for nature, for the living. The term comes from the Greek and literally means “love of life or living systems.”

After Fromm’s death, the evolutionary biologist and professor at Harvard University, Edward O. Wilson, adopted this term and introduced the “biophilia hypothesis.” Wilson spoke about the “human urge to affiliate with other forms of life,” in other words, about our connection with nature. It is a connection that has evolved over millions of years. Human beings come from nature. We evolved and interacted with nature. We should therefore be considered a part of nature, just like all other life forms. The same life force in us is also in animals and plants. We are a part of the “web of life,” as Wilson expressed it.

The biophilia effect stands for wilderness and the conception of nature, for natural beauty and aesthetics, and for breaking free and healing.

The lessons of wilderness

Scientists call what goes on in humans when they’re in the wilderness an immediate conscious experience (ICE). The main focus here is on the psychological aspects of the experience of nature and wilderness. It’s about what individuals experience personally when they come into contact with nature, about what’s going on inside, what states of consciousness they are experiencing, what new ways of thinking and seeing they develop, how they find new solutions to problems or learn to deal with physical or psychological stresses. Whatever happens in the consciousness when a human being is immersed in the wilderness, environmental psychologists call it an immediate conscious experience in nature.

On top of perceiving the physical reality of our environment with our five senses, we humans also tend to derive additional meaning from the impressions we see, hear, smell and feel. This is true for our social environment as well, which we analyze, trying to make sense of everything that goes on around us. In general, the human species is the only one on this planet that searches for so much sense and meaning in life — and in nature. We can interpret nature and find metaphors and symbols that “tell” us something. It’s a very individual process. Depending on our background or our current state of mind, reading nature can differ completely from person to person and moment to moment.

A seedling can, for example, symbolize our own desire for children, a growing business idea, or a new life plan. A mighty tree standing in a wild place, defying wind and weather, can trigger associations with steadfastness. I recently saw a perennial growing out of a sidewalk grate. It took root in a small handful of soil that had collected there, and it was in full bloom. I suddenly thought how it’s possible to make so much from so little, when there is a will. This association came to mind while I was looking at the determined perennial.

Or think of a sprouting willow tree after a clear-cutting. The tree defies its destiny, revitalizes itself even after a radical interference in life, and attempts a new beginning. It grows above and beyond the harm done. Those who are in a similar situation, wanting to leave old wounds behind and to feel revitalized, might find solidarity with this unfaltering willow and feel inspired to find new energy. The willow may be whispering, “You’re not alone. I made it. You can rise again, too.” The symbolism of a damaged, downright mutilated tree that defies its destiny and maintains its will to live is intense. It may also be relevant in cases of physical trauma — for example, if a person has to cope with a physical impairment or negative physical changes and wants to say yes to life, just as the mutilated willow does.

The value of retreating into nature

Nature offers us impressions that we can see and interpret as symbols and, at the same time, it offers us a place of retreat, where self-reflection is accessible. It thus supplies us with the material and, at the same time, the space to reflect on it. The value of the wilderness experience lies in the “being away;” that is, being elsewhere. When we get out of the usual everyday experiences and find ourselves in a completely unfamiliar, inspiring environment, we gain a little distance from our problems.

Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, environmental psychology professors at the University of Michigan, identified “being away” as one of the most important mechanisms through which our nature experience affects our psyche and gives our soul space. These conclusions came from their numerous studies with test subjects who found a retreat in nature and then reported on what the wilderness did for them. “Being away” also means having a time-out from society, escaping human civilization for a while, alone or in selected company. It represents being away from consumerism, away from the digital world, away from the expectations of others, away from the performance pressure and the corset into which modern life often squeezes us. It signifies being far away from a world in which we must constantly fit a certain image and in which we are force-fed what it means to be a “good” person, a “well-adapted” person, a “hardworking” person, or a “productive” person.

“Being away” means we are in an environment where we can be as we are. Plants, animals, mountains, rivers, the sea — they are not interested in our productivity and performance, our appearance, our paycheck, or our mental state. We can be among them and participate in the network of life, even if we are momentarily weak, lost, or bubbling over with ideas and hyperactivity. Nature does not send us utility bills. The river in the mountains does not charge us for the clear, clean water we get from it when we wander along its banks or camp there. Nature does not criticize us. “Being away” means freedom from being evaluated or judged, and escaping from pressure to fulfill someone else’s expectations of us.

“Being away” is the ideal way to experience the therapeutic biophilia effect of nature.