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Make Kano Green: Youth initiative fighting climate change in Kano, North

In the wake of intense and unwavering heatwave being witnessed in Kano and some states in Nigeria’s northern region, concerned youth have taken up the…

In the wake of intense and unwavering heatwave being witnessed in Kano and some states in Nigeria’s northern region, concerned youth have taken up the responsibility to fight this element of climate change for the betterment of their society.

‘Make Kano Green’ – an initiative driven by concerned youth in Kano State aimed at planting one million trees across Kano and its environs as well fighting relative issues much associated with climate change, is perhaps one of the most brilliant initiatives that youth in Kano and other states across the Northern part of the country are largely and actively involved in.

Daily Trust reports that in the last two months, Kano has consistently witnessed excessive heat of between 42 and 44 degrees Celsius during afternoon hours and not less than 37 degrees during evening hours.

Residents find it very difficult to cope with the situation as many said this year’s heat is different from past years. It’s indeed keeping many on their toes – a development that triggered the revival of the ‘Make Kano Green’ initiative.

Trees not only provide shade and reduce the urban heat island effect but also serve as a natural barrier against pollution, improve air quality and support biodiversity.

Their destruction will only exacerbate the heatwave impact on our communities, particularly the vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

make kano green
make kano green

 

This initiative started from an individual’s will and passion to safeguard and revive the natural environment by calling on the people over the social media to donate seedlings for planting at strategic locations in the state.

This movement has so far reached 13 states in the Northwest and North Central of Nigeria, including Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Plateau and Zamfara.

Speaking on the initiative, Ismail Auwal, who is the convener of the movement, said it all started five years ago due to the lack of trees identified in the state.

He said, “In 2019, social media was flooded with complaints about the sweltering heat in Kano. But instead of just lamenting, as a group of friends, we decided to take action. We identified the lack of trees as a major contributor to the heat and launched a tree planting campaign, dubbed “Make Kano Green.”

“We began by contributing seedlings and resources among ourselves, with the highest donation coming from Malam Yakubu Musa of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), who provided 100 seedlings. We then developed a comprehensive strategy, identifying suitable areas for tree planting, ensuring favourable soil and climate conditions, and considering the projected size of the trees to ensure ample space for growth.

“Through advocacy efforts, the group engaged with community stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of tree planting for environmental conservation and encouraging active participation. We requested community youth leaders to mobilize like-minded individuals and gather necessary resources such as unused nets, wood and baskets, to house the seedlings during planting.

“The team suggested potential dates for the tree planting event and allowed the community to choose the most suitable time, ensuring maximum involvement. Between 2019 and 2023, we planted around 5,000 trees, achieving a 47 per cent success rate. However, the primary objective was to create awareness and inspire people to take responsibility for tree planting.

“This year, we adopted a different approach, aiming to plant 1 million trees before the end of 2024. Instead of personal donations, we called for public donations and raised over 6,000 seedlings within 24 hours. We also inspired youths from 13 northern states to launch tree planting campaigns, supporting 10 of them with seedlings.”

Courtesy of how the initiative is gaining acceptance, in Kano, local independent chapters have begun to emerge, such as ‘Make Tukuntawa Green’ and ‘Make Kofar Mata Green’.

The campaign has attracted the attention of sub-national and national governments, with meetings held with state government representatives and the Minister of Environment, Honourable Balarabe Abbas.

The ‘Make Kano Green’ campaign is a testament to the power of grassroots movements and community-led initiatives.

“By empowering individuals and communities to take ownership of environmental conservation, we can create a greener, more sustainable future for all,” Auwal believed.

He added that “In five years’ time, we hope to witness a paradigm shift, with individuals taking proactive steps to plant trees in their communities, cities, and villages,” he said.

But the biggest challenge is from those who remove trees for fuel and other things.

“Our ultimate goal is for the government to enforce sanctions against those who recklessly destroy trees, thereby safeguarding our natural heritage for generations to come.”

While many have expressed concern about the upkeep, maintenance and the growth of the seedlings, Auwal explained that the initiative has adopted a targeted approach to bridge that gap.

“We prioritise planting in individual homes and businesses that demonstrate a commitment to nurturing trees. By focusing on engaged community members, we ensure that each tree has the best chance of survival amidst challenging environmental conditions.”

As the initiative envisions a future where environmental consciousness pervades every aspect of society, Auwal sees a future of a transformed landscape in Northern Nigeria, where trees flourish and communities live in perfect harmony with nature.

Meanwhile, the Kano State government has also commenced planting trees on the streets to create avenues across the 44 local government areas.

Recently, while flagging off the event at a ceremony, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf planted the first of the three million trees by the Government House in Kano.

He pointed out that “The largest share of about 1.5 million will be distributed and planted across major streets in the eight metropolitan local government areas,” he said.

 

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