Nigeria, in common with many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is becoming more urbanized and with increasing levels of urban in-migration, there has been an unrelenting demand for land for housing as well as for industrial and commercial needs.
Generally speaking, there has been no public outrage at the loss or decline of green spaces, whether natural or man-made. These include private gardens, allotments, playing fields, public squares, protected areas, for example, forests, wetlands, marshes and waterfronts.
This is unfortunate because green spaces have numerous benefits. These include tourism, leisure and recreation uses; nature conservation; social cohesion by serving as community focal points; and food security through urban agriculture.
In addition, as the concerns about the negative impacts of climate change have heightened, green spaces are accepted as critical to adapting to higher atmospheric temperatures.
Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that urban areas have green "survival" spaces.
1. Maintain a garden or allotment in any space available to you. You can also plant in pots or containers if you do not have such space.
2. Document and adopt green spaces within your area so that you can support their maintenance. Some companies already do this as part of their corporate social responsibility.
3. Lobby government ministries and parks committees of local government councils for the creation or protection of green spaces such as public squares and fields and for more sidewalk planting.
4. Do not cut down trees and help to maintain canopy coverage in our towns and cities.
From our archives: Legal & Policy Issues in Protecting Green Spaces in a Megacity