Open Your Heart
By Joe-Ikechebelu Ngozi, Isielu Ruphina & Akanwa Angela

Although belated, we join the world to celebrate the World Environment Day themed Ecosystem Restoration and formally marking the declaration and launch of UN decade from 2021 to 2030 on ecosystem restoration to urgently prevent, halt, and reverse the global activity degrading the environment. With this declaration, governments around the world are making efforts to mitigate the effects of our changing climate and its resultant degradation on the ecosystem. Nigeria’s commitment does not resonate to the commitments and ratifications of the several international agreements and protocols bordering on ecosystem restoration. Also, the right positive responsibilities and political willpower of multilevel leaders in public and private structures are required to restore natural environmental resources in affected communities.

NCEHR, a community and academic partnership initiative is aware of radical environmental behaviours in our communities. Who does not know about the incessant littering of waste, and the slow rate of reduce of the offensive litters on the street? Who is not aware of the annual flooding events and its impact on marginalized groups, such as women, children, disabled people, and non- immune population? Who is not aware of the rural drift of young women and men to urban areas and its impact on farming activities and food security? We are aware of the effect of tree cuttings in the state, their impacts on the well-being of arboreal animals and the health and well-being of human. For e.g., Anambra state, currently, has been experiencing devastating heat waves. Besides, the world has witnessed ecosocial and health systemic issues overtly and covertly creating environmental pandemics, such as climate emergencies, COVID-19 infections, ethnoracial crisis and injustices, with potentials that these events may not abate soon.

As a community-academic partnership linking two universities across various disciplines, NCEHR recognizes the importance of the global call to One Health, where the health of humans, animals, and the environment intersect to influence and produce social and health inequities. We are looking for partners within Anambra and beyond to ally with us on interventional initiatives that will (re)focus on ecosystem restoration, such as activities to manage waste, activate green spaces, and translate our ecorestoration outcomes as knowledge from participating communities as knowledge bearers.