Green Personality of the Month: Barakat Tiamiyu Bidemi

The Green Personality of the Month is a new idea of the Green Campus Initiative that aims to recognize and celebrate positive, dynamic, and motivated young individuals. Their great passion for the environment and society cause them to take positive actions which do not only improve the environment but also influences others to go green and live sustainably.

Inspired by her works, the Green Team is pleased to announce Barakat Tiamiyu Bidemi of House of Babiti, as the pioneer Green Personality of the Month.

Meet Barakat Tiamiyu Bidemi, a 19-year-old undergraduate student of Urban and Regional Planning, at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria. After founding the House of Babiti - a group of individuals dedicated to promoting youth engagement in active leadership and influencing them to become change drivers - in November 2015, she has successfully hosted 120 students of the Obafemi Awolowo University and network members of the Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI, for a #YALIGoesGreen inspired event. This event sparked undergraduate's interests in taking part in sustainable environmental actions. Bidemi's hobbies include bead making, travelling, and event planning.

We caught up with Bidemi to ask her a few questions:

You, House of Babiti and your friends made news recently with your work and eco-inspired event at Obafemi Awolowo University. What are some of the most important things you learnt during that process?

Yes, we had the event in January, the 23rd, this year. It was our maiden edition. The journey through was like an adventure; having to do new and different things. Some thought it was close to impossible for me to organize that event because I was in my first year at the University. They kept asking, “How are you going to pull things together?” But I believed, and still do, that we should not wait for all conditions to set right, somewhat, before doing the things we believe in: little things make big things. During all of this, I got to understand the essence of surrounding oneself with people that will inspire and gear your ambitions; with these, one will always want to do more.

Why do you believe that environmental sustainability and climate action is so important?

Climate change effects are not gender, ethnic, religious, or racial biased. Climate change affects everyone and every economy. We all need to take action, actions that will mitigate the alarming environmental risks in our communities. Future generations are posed to risks, due to fossil fuel dependence. The environmental sustainability measures and climate actions we take now will help save our world and the future.

What are some of the environmental challenges facing communities and people in Nigeria?

There is desertification in northern Nigeria, increased rise of water levels in oceans and rivers, in the south resulting in flooding, erosion, and land loss. Deforestation and oil spill are present challenges of the Niger Delta region. Also, it is instructive to note that many people still do not understand the phenomenon that results to what they feel or see happening around them. 

In a recent article House of Babiti did, we saw interesting discussions about best techniques that can be used to ignite pro-environmental attitude in different people, especially youths. Why do you think in different societal settings we still have a situation where fewer youths than adults are adopting greener and more sustainable lifestyles? How do we change that?

Just has explained in my recent write-up, many of us, youths, live our lives unconsciously, there are no distinctions, we do things because that is how we perceive the society to be, we follow the 'mother sheep.' Adults in the society on the other hand, still retain distinctions between right and wrong environmental practices, even without any literal understanding of climate actions. Most of our youths grow up in a setting where less interest is shown in sustaining the environment.

These can be reduced through proper sensitization both on social media and physical means. Also, introducing or illustrating sustainable actions to young people, while presenting incentives will go a long way in igniting their passion. Collective efforts should be made in organising events and enlightening youths on the need to have a better and healthy environment.

What do world leaders – in government and business – need to do to make environmental sustainability a reality for all communities?

World leaders in government need to adopt sustainable environmental practises in their diverse economies, take full considerations of the environment risks attached to the development of frameworks before endorsing them, create policies that will check industrial carbon emission, and invest and improve the renewable energy sector. World leaders in business should contribute to the green economy, innovate products of renewable material and help relate to the public on how green practices improve their businesses.

Every time you have an idea; you have a place on your mind. Tell us, what event are you planning to organize soon and where?

Yes, there is always an idea and a place, the place comes first before the idea. I am dedicated to making an impact everywhere I go. Presently, I am in Kaduna State planning a green event designed for undergraduate students of Kaduna State University. Since the Green Campus Initiative has proven to be a catalyst for students participation in environmental happenings, I am happy as a GCI Ambassador to introduce eco-sustainability to Kaduna State University. The event is coming up on the 2nd of June, 2016, and tagged "Greening the Campus". It is going to be positive and exhilarating. I want to thank the respective stakeholders who have been contributing in different ways and the Department of Geography of the University for their support so far. 

Bidemi has the planet and people in the heart. Say hi to her via +2347050541172 or