I live in the part of Enugu, Nigeria, where there are many trees. Whenever I retire from the hustle and bustle of urban Enugu, I regain respite from the serenity and naturalness of my suburb-home. I’ve always loved it, especially the characteristic fresh air and the inspiring quietude. We even have a small stream there. Sometimes I just go down there to clear my head, especially whenever it looks like I’d exhausted all available options on a given matter. We also have a beach there, one full of fine sand and water; very beautiful and scenic. I’ve been there just ones, but that ‘just ones’ gave me an unrepeatable and unforgettable experience. To say the least, my suburban neighborhood is chic!
Did I just say, “is chic”? That was a mistake; I meant to say “was chic.” I’m even already contemplating moving from there. What happened, you may be wondering. Simple: the guys from town came around. And you can already guess what’s happening there right now. Yes, it is so bad that someone already built a house right next to the stream, and, as it were, destroying the awe-inspiring vegetation that made me fall in love with that stream. In fact, the last time I went there was a long time ago. What about the beach? The first and only time I visited revealed that things were already falling apart: tippers move hundreds of trips of sand away from it every single day; others have turned the place into a mining site for stone – they just keep digging and digging. What about the trees? You can be sure that at least a couple of trees go down every single day.
There is something I particular noticed with the plunderers of my beloved suburb: ignorance. I watch the man chopping down the trees and all I notice is that the trees being fell appear to be his only problem on this whole wide earth. He appears not to be in the know that he is contributing his quota to the problem we’re all suffering now: climate change. I watch the man moving the sand from the beach and the one digging up stones, and all I see are people who are trying to either make ends meet or secure a better life for their family and other dependants. I look at the man knocking down trees and erecting condominiums, and all I see is a man trying to secure assets for the security of his and his family’s financial future.
On a second thought, what if they knew? What if they all knew that their actions were negatively impacting on humanity’s collective future? Would they have called it a quit? I doubt. The fellow who doesn’t know the meaning of ‘climate change’ may be excused, but some of the guys responsible for gas flaring at refineries are products the Ox-bridges. Some of the many factories in China and America that produce fumes and toxic wastes substantial enough to turn things upside-down are state-owned. Come to think of it, too, if the village stark illiterate were to be told the implications of felling trees, bush burning and other sundry activities that warm up the globe, would he/she stop? I doubt. At the end of the day, we’re all guilty as charged. Humans are somehow wont to having their way today regardless of future consequences.
The past weeks have been terribly hot in Enugu, and everyone is gone acomplaining. The complaint is so heavy that someone wondered if the last person that entered hell left the door ajar, such that some of the heat from the eternal burning fire of hell is getting to us. Of course, very very few remember that what goes around comes around; we sowed heat and we’re getting warmed.
Truth be told, it’s never been known that one ate his/her cake and still had it. And, it’s never gonna change now.