…Climate Change: Nigerian Youths As Instruments Against Adverse Perpetuation
By Patrick Aigbokhan
The high increase in rate of climate change effect in Africa has set a number of burdened climate change activists individuals and groups on their toes in the fight against the monster trend and its adverse effects on humanity and the entire nature, hence a call on the youths in the society in the quests to take the bull by the horn in the fight against it.
Climate change is a change in global or regional climate patterns, particularly one that is apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
Over the years now, a great number of groups and individuals, who have embarked on a campaign against its adverse impact on human life and nature, are yet to conquer, due to certain structures that are not in place, activities prevailing against the fight, as well as an oversight of its reality and effect on nature and the human race.
At the 7th Sustainability Academy on Youth and Climate Change organized recently by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), youths were enlightened on the realities and adverse effects of climate change on humanity and the entire nature.
The event, which took place Friday, June 17, 2016 at the LUFASI Nature Park, Lekki, Epe, Lagos, was graced by a number of active youths, climate change activism movement groups and individuals.
Facilitators at the forum, however charged the youths to take the onus on themselves as the most vibrant and affected segment of the citizenry, to rise in the fight against the trend in order to secure and sustain a better future for themselves and the entire human race.
Hilma Mote, Executive Director, Africa Labour Research and Education Institute (ALREI), from Lome, Togo, who spoke on ‘Youth, Labour and Climate Change’, urged this category to break the jinx by being the first generation to start the fight against the adverse effects of climate change in their communities.
“Nigeria has produced great environmental activists, but they need to be multiplied. And you could be one of them as to be at the discussion table. Gone are those days when young people should just sit back and be told “you are the leaders of tomorrow,” What if tomorrow never comes?” she said.
Mote stressed that, while the youths pursue their passion to become professionals in any field of career, they can also make a commitment to themselves to defend the welfare of people.
She encouraging that, combined with their everyday career, the youths are definitely going to be unstoppable.
“I believe that the greatest professionals are also those who have a deep understanding about the social and economic challenges facing our societies and they become prolific doctors, teachers, engineers because they combine their academic training with activisms for the great good.
Your biggest asset is your youthfulness. Use that asset now because with each passing day your youthfulness is being reduced,” the climate change activist stated.
In her own presentation, another facilitator, Ruth Nyambura, Eco-feminist and Youth Climate Change Activist from Kenya, who described climate change as a social justice problem, admonished Nigerian youths to be careful what they accept as excuses from culprits who deliberately perpetrate climate change evil acts for their own personal gain and to the detriment of the masses.
She berated some of the meetings held by some international bodies under the guise of proffering solutions to climate change problems, which never see the light of day.
“As youths, you must be very careful about your participation in meetings. Don’t attend conferences that are of no strategic value to the human race. Make sure every meeting you attend is of immense benefit to the affected victims, and not just for selfish interest,” she said.
Nyambura cited some cases in her country, Kenya, as instances, saying that the country is the third largest exporter of cart flower, yet women who labour on the flower farms in Kenya barely earn good living.
The climate change activist said, “It is our resources in Africa that foreign countries use to enrich their economies. Remember that it is not the local flower farm workers in Kenya, for instance, that make money, but the one who sells the flower in those foreign countries.
“About 20 percent of the population has contributed to 80 percent of the pollutions we are experiencing, and they are still polluting.
We can’t de-link the ecology crisis of our countries from economy matters. Our systems and structures are not working, so, rather than seek to apply some non-workable solutions, we should fix up our system and structures.
“Climate change is a social justice problem. Think of it, can everybody in Nigeria afford to use power generating set? Yet kerosene is difficult to access. So, it’s a problem of class and category.”
Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, Chairman, Managing Director, LUFASI Nature Park, who also explained the need to place credence on nature and guard seriously against its abuse, alerted that foreigners have a way they scheme to erode African systems by introducing their own measures as an ideal way of doing things, thereby destroying the state of natural resources in the country.
He urged that no such foreign unworkable ideologies should be accepted any longer, but Nigerian youths should take it upon themselves to fight any such omen that tends to disrupt the country’s natural endowments.
Expatiating on the LUFACI Nature Park invention as an instance, Majekodunmi added, “We could have decided to allow this placed used as an estate with magnificent edifices, with a huge investment running into several millions of naira. But seeing the great value in preserving nature, we decided to reserve it for nature’s beneficial use”.
Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Justice Advocate, HOMEF, while speaking on the relevance of nature and its beneficiaries, stressed the need for activists in this regard to begin to look at measures to protect the earth’s natural endowment and not allow the treasures to slip away from humanity.
“There is nothing on earth, as far as nature is concerned, that doesn’t have value or positive impact on human lives. Imagine the Federal Government in a recent development, introducing the use of GMOs into the country’s agriculture. GMOs can only work for mono-cropping. It is not possible to plant corn, yam and cassava together. It is only natural agriculture that will fit into our Nigeria system, and not the kind of technology system that the government is trying to adopt,” he said.
Already, impacts are being witnessed, following average increase in temperatures across the globe.
For instance, rainfall patterns, heat waves, increased severity of weather events such as floods, droughts, cyclones, are all said to have a heavy economic and human toll.
Women in rural areas have been faced with the trauma of having to travel long distances to fetch fire wood because all nearby trees have been chopped down to make way for the construction of one structure or the other and those trees were never replanted.
Innocent children and adolescents are not left off the hook as some of them are drowning on their way to schools at one time or the other due to floods.
Animals are also facing the wrought as they die untimely due to droughts.
And due to lack of rain falls for agricultural produce, millions in Africa have become victims of food insecurity.
In spite of these misfortunes, a few minorities are fattening up. These are the culprits in the extractive, oil and gas sectors of the economy who are benefiting from the status quo, and do not necessarily want things to change.
Unfortunately, as the situation deteriorates, it has not let anyone off the hook.
…Climate Change: Nigerian Youths As Instruments Against Adverse Perpetuation