It may seem unlikely that there is yet a solution to the global warming crisis but this story is about one community in Lagos Island, Nigeria which is in the midst of devastating floods.
A group of villagers, who spent decades fighting off encroachments, are fighting back against the rising water levels from the sea, which they believe is caused by carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
To add to the problem, construction on all the surrounding land is also in a state of disrepair and is very vulnerable to flooding. It is believed that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is on the brink of further “megadroughts” as the area nears the ninth consecutive dry season.
In the country, the true extent of the environmental crisis is not known; environmentalists say that at least 1.3 million people died due to the deadly droughts between 1991 and 1996, a water shortage that killed 3.2 million people in Africa’s Sahel in 2006, and the post-apocalyptic famine that killed up to 15 million people in Somalia between 2011 and 2012.
In the past decade, the Indian Ocean has begun rising 3 to 4 centimeters each year, according to research done by the International Panel on Climate Change, as coal-burning to produce electricity surges and a new wave of megacities in Asia takes shape.
But many families living along the coastal and lagoon towns of Lagos are again being affected by the rising waters.
The government has provided low-cost emergency infrastructure such as silt barriers and boulders to help the residents, as well as pumps to push out rising waters. However, this does not guarantee that they will be able to fight it off in future.
During the 2015-2016 rainy season, it’s already pushing 30 to 35 centimeters higher in some areas, with higher concentrations reported in coastal towns with big infrastructure, such as Badagry.
“It is a double-edged sword,” said Garuba Dauda, a civil engineer, speaking to the Nigerian Telegraph. “As development is happening in our cities and settlements, it is also happening in the rivers which we don’t build dikes on. It’s a double-edged sword because in many parts of the country you can see houses collapsing and homes rising, perhaps downstream as well.”
In Lagos, the flooding has broken into some of the homes in some neighborhoods, in some cases with tragic consequences.
“We are not just concerned about the flooding,” Emma Animaku, who lives near Ajao Estate in Ikorodu, told the Guardian. “Some people are losing their land. They have started sending the people to their homes. When the water comes up from the lagoon to the fringe, these areas are being drowned.”
Not everyone is as quick to argue over who is to blame for the situation.
“Our problem is the way this environment is being built on,” said another resident of Ajao Estate. “It’s a tremendous thing that they are trying to do to us.”
Eileen Yen, a senior researcher at University of New South Wales Climate Change Institute, told CNN that the ocean is currently peaking during the wet season, and moving southward as the annual rainy season approaches.
While global leaders have pledged to curb emissions as part of the Paris climate change agreement signed last year, rising temperatures are also being fueled by record high temperatures globally this year.
However, our poll suggests we’re struggling to match the climate it will take to properly solve the global warming crisis.
The most recent findings from HuffPost’s Data Project proved that according to what people say they want of their elected representatives, cutting carbon emissions is a top priority for Americans, ranking a top 10 issue for 71 percent of respondents.
On the other hand, poor climate change mitigation has been ranked #41 on our list of the most pressing issues for 56 percent of respondents, while in third place is healthcare (38 percent), followed by immigration (35 percent), crime and violence (31 percent), education (29 percent), the economy (29 percent), and the list of top things for which American voters don’t want Congress to focus (30 percent).