Happy Valentine’s Day Nature,
It is an honour to share this earth with you and I am proud to call you home.
I love and cherish our moments together, and as we celebrate our 25th Valentine’s Day, I need to tell you what a quarter of a century with you has meant to me.
You give in bounty. You shelter and feed me. You allow me to thrive and provide me with more than I need. Thank you for your variety and endless surprises. Thank you for the plethora of animals that you host and support. Thank you for your fruits and vegetables. Thank you – for every single thing you’ve given freely.
You have nurtured, loved and cared for us – asking for little in return.
I am sorry that we have exploited and taken you for granted. I am sorry for the landfills, oil drills, chemical pollution and spills. I am sorry for the ways that we’ve shown that we don’t care about you. I am sorry for the ways we’ve poisoned you. The ways we keep biting the hand that feeds us since the beginning of time.
We have damaged you, launched wars, killed, stole and turned our backs on you. We have been selfish. Yet you show forgiveness through unlimited care. Yet you show unconditional love through consistent provision.
Whether we know it or not, the world needs you now more than ever. It really must be tiring.
I hope you forgive us. I do hope we change our ways. I hope our children and their children don’t have to live in a world deprived of the beauty you have shown and given me.
My beautiful corner of earth, Nigeria, is unarguably blessed. Her inhabitants have been enriched with plush rainforests, savannahs teaming with big cats, soaring mountains, endless beaches and exotic deserts.
Nigeria is home to over 4,715 different plant species, over 550 species of breeding birds and mammals, and has the world’s largest diversity of butterflies.
To my fellow Nigerians, I urge you all to love more than your significant others, family and friends this holiday. I implore you to also love our environment and be kind to every living thing. This does not require a big life change. It only requires you to make more conscious decisions. It can be as simple as the 4 R’s: Rethink, Reduce, Recycle, Repair!
Our actions have direct, destructive consequence on the environment which sustains us. We need to make a change.
Please reduce your plastic wastes, recycle your bottles of wine and champagne this Valentine’s Day and source your food ingredients from your local markets to make dinner for that special someone.
I want to remind everyone that whatever step you take, no matter how little, counts in this battle to preserve Earth.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Nela is the Chief Executive of Obudu Conservation Centre, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to educating, protecting and restoring the wildlife and wild lands of the Obudu Region and the surrounding Cross River National Park . The Centre is committed to reorienting Nigerians about nature conservation through educational programs, research, local community outreach activities amongst others.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Follow @ynaija on Twitter