My name is Promise and I live in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. Jos is located on a plateau, one of the highest human settlements in Nigeria. I have lived here for 20 years and one thing that I have always given thanks to God for is the favourable weather conditions.
When I first lived there, Jos would get as cold as 2°C during the harmattan (autumn/winter) and, during the dry season, only as hot as 27°C. This made Jos such a beautiful place to live because it was good for people, animals and plants, and the nature of the soil enabled a variety of farm produce to yield bountifully in Plateau State.
But our climate has changed. In Jos, the temperature now gets as high as 42°C. As well as the heat this means an increase in pests and diseases. Rain has become unpredictable, disrupting farming cycles and reducing the chances of bountiful harvest. The cost of growing food is increasing and food is becoming more scarce, so food prices are rising. The result is increasing poverty rates, particularly amongst already poor and vulnerable communities, and it makes me sad that there is little I can do to help struggling farmers without good resources to help them adapt. God’s creation – of which we are a part – is one of his greatest gifts to us and something that we should value.
Nigeria is a big country and the effects of climate change are felt differently across the nation. In the southern parts, the increase in sea levels is displacing coastal communities and causing them to lose their indigenous lands. On a trip to Lagos (a south westerly region of Nigeria), I simply could not believe how an entire community was flooded as a result of severe rainfall. The ground floors of shopping malls were entirely flooded, goods were damaged, people's homes collapsed and properties lost. I wondered how those families and business owners would recover from such a great loss, and all I could do for them was pray. We are left with a disaster our people do not understand, and for which they are not responsible.
Meanwhile, in the northern part of the country, with temperatures reaching 48°C, people are facing droughts and rapid desert encroachment, so migration to regions with better vegetation is at its peak. This creates tension among local communities due to the increased demand for limited resources, such as land and water.
Without financial help, it will be impossible for many families and communities to adapt to and survive the impacts of the climate crisis. Our decisions and our actions have an effect on others, no matter how far away they are.
Your response to this email matters, and could make a difference to your global neighbours in Nigeria. You can help by signing our petition to call on the UK Government to influence wealthier nations to deliver the $100 billion per year that was promised to help vulnerable communities respond to climate change. As followers of Jesus we believe that promises should be kept. I believe that this will have an even bigger impact than you can imagine as God can use our actions in mighty ways.