Integrating the Protection of Nature in Infrastructure Development-With Focus on Africa.

Economic development amid sustainability is discussed with the earth’s carrying capacity. In a finite world, there cannot be infinite infrastructure development. Between the late 17th century, moving towards the mid-19th century, we had the industrial revolution, which brought about automobiles, and thereafter, we had the information technology revolution, which came with the internet and other electronic gadgets. But now, we have a low carbon, resource-efficient, and ecological sustenance revolution. Thus, we have to accept that a new era has begun, the one that revolves around clean energy, species protection, and environmental cautiousness. During the previous revolutions, the earth’s natural resources were the ones mostly degraded. Living standards were increased, which led to longevity. The human population increased over a short period, this impacted the Forest, Wildlife, and other biodiversities within the Western World. Africa resources were fragile during these times. After the Industrial Revolution in the Western world, the import and export business scheme all around the world changed. Africa became the sole exporter of raw materials, and begun importing manufactured goods.

Presently, Africa is moving immensely towards manufacturing. With countries like Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana in the lead, the continent is diving in a new era of industrial activities. Within their new era, I think, this is the time that African Leaders should look back at the errors of developed nations. With this new concept that ‘they’ (developed nations) introduced-Sustainable Development, Africa can incorporate a form of development that will prioritize their resource preservation, while maximizing infrastructural development. During the Americas, Europe, and Asia development, research has shown species were endangered (even leading to a huge amount of extinction); their advancement increased the carbon footprint in the atmosphere, which is now an alarming worldwide problem. Thus, as Africa has embarked on its industrial developments, the business community and Leaders in Africa need to review and analyze developed countries’ agendas to enable them to strategize a sustainable plan of action.

With a technique being introduced by Developed Nations now, there is a trended opportunity word called ‘innovation’. Major projects that are funded these days are aimed at innovation. This concept is pushed forward esp. when they’re dealing with Africans. These countries are not just exploiting Africa physical resources, they are also drilling innovative ideas from their Youth’s minds. Hence, the continent is not losing only its raw materials but also, their knowledge. Developing countries’ Leaders have to study the techniques been utilize by Developed nations, to be sustainable in every area of their development. Speaking of analyzing, few weeks ago I came across this article. Now that all countries are stirring towards clean energy, they are ignoring the long-term effect of the kinds of energy being used. Hydropower seems like a naturally clean form of energy. But in the process of power generation: species habitats (especially migratory fishes) are been altered when river waters are blocked. The ecosystem at the rear of the Dam becomes motionless, which changes all organisms’ interactions in that region, or most times lead to their deaths. Globally, terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity is being lost due to infrastructure development. If these kinds of developments are causing harm to animal species, what methods can Africans put into place to minimize this chaos, while conserving their species diversity? When questions like these are answered, Africa Development becomes beneficial to both Humans and Nature of the present and future generations.

Making Civilization Sustainable.

Research has shown that deforestation is more common in places that are more accessible-having more road networks. This is true. I remembered during one of my field works walking four hours in the forest. During these times, I saw old-growth trees and a fragile forest. This forest was tight because it was not accessible. Forests that are close to road networks in the Amazon tend to face a higher rate of deforestation as compared to those that are far. If we are to cut down trees to enhance development, we should invest in forest management experts. We saw that during the industrial boom, developed nations lost most of their forest. Silviculture is the study and practice of the management of trees and the forest for the services they provide. A well-planned methodology put together can provide a strategy that can balance deforestation to afforestation and reforestation. Environmentalists, conservationists, Foresters…etc., are all towards the same goal-conserving nature’s resources. I’m not going to preach the science of not cutting trees, but rather put forth a way in which species can survive during progression. Regarding my previous post, a proposed strategy of “two for one” can reduce deforestation impacts from logging companies. Let’s not be too deep-seated in ecology that we forget that we need development (which provides jobs) to pay our bills. Trees will be cut because development is essential. Environmental Impact Assessment can provide more insight on the impact an infrastructure will make on the environment before its constructed, while prioritizing the state of the species that are found in that area. With understanding in the Silviculture systems, People can know how to make their development sustainable in a progressive World.

As overpopulation is on the rise, the need for living space has increased. This is also leading to deforestation and habitat destruction. Vertical Cities can host an entire human population in a multistory building to help save animal habitats. Making use of the air space can serve as a solution to land scarcity. As nations in the continent of Africa are rousing towards advancement in the future, it will be essential to start seeking solutions to some of the problems that should arise with these developments. Migration into urban areas is something that is doomed to happen, as people yield to making their lives easier. With vertical cities, biodiversity can be conserved in the presence of development. Le Corbusier, a Swiss-French Architect was one of the first to propose the concept of vertical cities. His idea was aimed at creating an environment where Nature, Animals, and Man can merge as one family. So now, if vertical cities seem to be one of the solutions for overpopulation (even though it quite expensive), what thoughts are African leaders having towards this??

Featured Image: Regent, Sierra Leone. Captured by Anthonette Quayee

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