It was a day of dance, music and all kinds of performances as the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) celebrated the World Theatre Day at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, on Tuesday last week.
The two-day event, which ended on Wednesday, started with the launch of the first entertainment tree that will be nurtured by NANTAP/Nollywood celebrities. The seeds were planted by Kabir Yusuf, general manager, National Theatre, Faith Egbogbe, chairman of NANTAP, and executive members of the committee.
Egbogbe said planting the first entertainment tree at the mini garden of the theatre was very important to human life, saying “we should try to plant in our homes. It saves health when we plant and grow trees in our homes or around us. We at NANTAP see the importance of planting trees in our environment, therefore I commend the work of Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola on his effort in planting trees and we the theatre practitioners want to assist the government in actualising this.
“As celebrities, we can use our influence on the society to make people plant trees, because if we tell people to plant a tree they would believe and understand instead of criticising the government for planting trees in order to make our society healthier.”
In his key note address, Olukunle Sotade, former manager of Lagos State Garden and Parks (LASPARK), titled: “Sustainable Environment in Reaction to Climate Change,” said planting a tree was not just for aesthetics purpose, as its advantages to human life were unquantifiable.
“When planting a tree,” he said, “it is not just for Lagos State but atmospheric. It helps removes the carbon in the air. The effect of climate change on the environment; the climate change is due to the changes on earth. Regular rainfall, drought, economy, food, health, water, are how it affects human. Change in rain affects our food because we need rain in order to be able to harvest our plants, but the issue of flood due to urbanisation, hurricane, tsunami, cholera, malaria can be caused by water also. Climate change is high temperature on the economy; loss of life, income, influence on the choice of tourism. We can always reduce, reuse and recycle.”
According to him, the less use of generators as a source of energy help reduce carbon emission into the atmosphere. “We should begin to think of alternative sources of power,” he said, saying “we should make more use of solar, or wind as source of energy instead of releasing carbon into the atmosphere. We should turn off all electrical appliances when not in use, less driving of cars to decongest the road and less release of carbon from motor vehicles, rather ride a bicycle. We all can help by planting trees because it takes the carbon and produces oxygen.”
Lagos has produced 4 million trees in its bid to beautify the environment and go green, he said, adding “we should help ourselves and environment to planting more trees, change our light bulbs to translucent bulbs, save energy; don’t put on the ACs when you are not using them, wash clothes with hands not machine and become green friendly.
“How entertainment industry helps, they influence and gather crowd, capture the attention of a diverse public so they can advocate message that can bring change to the environment. They could also produce movies to help inform, educate and influence green policies. Trees reduce the carbon in the atmosphere but most of our trees are being taken for furniture, firewood, books, thereby reducing our trees in the society. We need to plant more in the cities due to urbanisation so as to avoid tragic occurrences, avoid wastage of energy.”
In his remark, veteran actor, Dejumo Lewis, said the simple understanding of the environment and the roles people could play can go a long way in making people live healthy and happy. He nostalgically recalled living in his grandparents compound with trees and the serene atmosphere, saying “it was very healthy back then. It is a challenge for all of us to make this environment a healthy place.”