environment

Brighton Chama, GCI Campus Representative For Copperbelt University, Zambia Meets Konkola Trust School Environmental Club.

On March 20, 2018, our Zambian representative was invited to speak on Environmental Sustainability to the students of Konkola Secondary Trust School, Zambia. He spoke extensively about the work of the Green Campus Initiative in ensuring that Eco-conscious children are raised all over the world.

 

The training is in resonance with the vision of the school which made the School authority propose collaboration between the Green Campus Initiative, Copperbelt Chapter and Konkola Trust School, Zambia. This is to actively drive their school to becoming a Green School by adopting the Green Practices designed by the Green Campus Initiative.

Romance with the Environment 2018

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The annual Valentine’s Day does not go unnoticed; millions of people around the world find it an accurate opportunity to celebrate their loved ones. The peak of the day’s activity is usually marked with the ritual of gift sharing and lovemaking, sadly, that’s not always as good as it sound. Like most Holi-Day, waste is the highlight of the season. Many people often ignore Mother Nature on this love sharing day, while the larger bulk of people gift her with tonnes of waste.

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At Green Campus Initiative, Valentine’s Day is a time to #RomancewithEnvironment, a time to reflect on the beauty and loveliness of our Mother Earth. As usual, on Wednesday, February 14, our ambassadors took out time to celebrate with Mother Earth by wiping away some of the dirt that litters her crust. There was a general clean-up event which started about 2pm and lasted for almost two hours.

This may not be particularly a big deal to many people, but we know that mother earth consider it a great show of love. So we invite you to join us as we take #Climateactions to the next level. Stay connected to nature!

 

#CleanNigeriaNow

Are you in a 'Toxic Relationship?' Break up now! Start a new relationship with the Environment. #CleanSeas

Government Should Tap Into Renewable Energy Potential

Harvard and Oxford-trained scholar, Damilola Sunday Olawuyi, is a globally recognised professor of Energy and Environmental Law and director of the leading research think tank, the Institute for Oil, Gas, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (OGEES Institute) at Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti. He is Vice President of the Nigerian branch of the International Law Association; member of the World Commission on International Environmental Law; and expert member of the International Law Association Committee on Sustainable Natural Resource Development where he represents Nigeria. He served as visiting professor at Columbia University, Oxford University and the China University of Political Science and Law. He has several publications in leading international law journals on the subject of renewable energy, agriculture, climate change and sustainable development. In this interview with the Yetunde Ayobami Ojo, he says government should urgently develop the country’s enormous renewable energy potential.

Nigeria, like many oil producing countries, is still reeling from the impact of the drop in the prices of oil. Will the oil and gas sector ever fully recover?
Unlike many that have written and published the obituary of the oil and gas industry, we professionals in the field know that the future of the sector remains exceedingly bright. The industry has been through, and survived, similar periodic downturns in the past, ranging from the 1973 oil crisis (first oil shock) in which the price of oil increased 400 per cent, leading to scarcity in some countries; then the 1979 oil shock when prices increased 100 per cent and the third oil crisis in 1990s, which contributed to global economic recession of the early 1990s and the most recent one.

This recent downturn has hit all of us hard due to failure to government’s properly utilise proceeds of the glorious years, when oil sold over $100 per barrel, to develop our infrastructure and to vitalise other key sectors. I have worked in the oil and gas countries in the Middle East such as, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, and they are, for example, not in recession as we speak, due to years of proper utilisation of oil proceeds. For an oil and gas giant like Nigeria to ever be in recession is a great shame.

The US shale boom is another potential game changer, which has, and will continue to alter the demand for our oil and nudge us to an uncertain future outlook. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has for example predicted that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s leading oil producer by 2020 and, together with Canada, would become a net exporter of oil around 2030. These are tough predictions for Nigeria, as our main oil customer will itself become a leading supplier. This is why this is the time for Nigeria to start diversifying its economic base to shift to mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. This is what Qatar and a number of the Middle East giants are investing time and resources on, in order to stay ahead in the face of a changing energy outlook.

As we speak, I am currently leading a funded research project for the government of Qatar on this issue of low carbon energy transition. These are smart oil and gas producing countries that have accelerated their paths to energy and economic diversification. Wide scale economic diversification is the key for Nigeria to remain strong and competitive in the league of frontier energy jurisdictions.

What do you think is the most important step in diversifying the Nigerian economy at this challenging time?
Nigeria is very rich in energy. We only tend to focus excessively on oil and gas. Nigeria has strong comparative strengths in renewable energy, an area that the Nigerian Government has yet to fully develop.

Over the last five years, renewable energy has gained global prominence as the new oil and gas. Last year alone, worldwide investments in renewable energy amounted to more than US$214 billion with countries such as, Canada, China and the United States heavily investing in wind, hydro, solar and biofuel infrastructure projects. Apart from private sector investments, the United Nations, World Bank, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and other development agencies have established special Clean Funds through which governments at federal and state levels can access funds to develop renewable energy projects ranging from conversion of biomass or waste to energy; biofuels from agriculture; geothermal, mini-hydro, solar and wind energy projects. Renewable energy projects funded under this platform focus on ways to reduce energy poverty; generate clean jobs; and produce sustainable and renewable energy in developing countries. They can also be the key to solving Nigeria’s electricity challenges.

Nigeria’s potentials as a significant source of renewable energy have never been in doubt. From the water intensity of the Osun River in my home state, Osun; to the expanse hectares of arable land in many parts of Nigeria; and the sunshine intensity in the North, have led to several scientific conclusions that Nigeria could be one of the richest countries on earth in terms of solar, wind and hydro energy. Unlike oil and gas, these are clean, cheap, inexhaustible sources of electricity, meaning they never end. They also come with less environmental problems such as pollution or spillage.

Nigeria has infinite potentials to be the leader in renewable energy sources in Africa. Renewable energy can directly contribute to poverty alleviation programs by attracting international development funds for renewable energy projects; boosting internally generated revenue by attracting global and public private partnership investments in renewable energy projects; creating new energy jobs for youths; providing alternative energy supply for businesses; and deploying clean cooking stoves and household stand- alone solar solutions in rural communities.

Given these enormous economic advantages of renewable and alternative energy, how can government move this forward?
One key problem we have in this area is lack of sustained policy action by successive governments. On May 05, 2015, the Federal Government of Nigeria officially adopted the National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which aims to increase renewable energy investments to generate electricity and to address climate change problems. The policy also aimed to establish a federal agency on renewable energy like many other countries in the world have done. However, this program was launched in the last few weeks of former President Goodluck Jonathan administration. Since 2015, not much has been heard about the renewable energy programme. I have personally been leading scholarly agenda aimed at getting the current government to revisit this lofty energy diversification and electricity generation program.

In 2015, the Executive Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, invited me to help develop a policy programme that could help Osun State attain leadership in implementing a robust renewable energy and energy efficiency program over the next decade. However, this unfortunately coincided with the time our State had problems with protesting workers so we had to halt this plan. I do hope to revisit this ambitious plan in the future at State and Federal levels. For example, if well developed, we could generate electricity from solar, hydro and wind sources, making it possible for each state to be self sufficient in terms of generating adequate amount of electricity for domestic and industrial use.

How serious do you think Nigeria is in addressing the issue of Climate change?
Nigeria will need to move from bureaucratic rhetoric to more concrete and holistic action to address climate change. In the Paris Agreement, Nigeria pledged to reduce its GHG emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 and 45 per cent by 2030. These are ambitious targets, which on the ground, we have done little in terms of laws, institutions and policies to actualise.

As of today, we have no climate change law, no climate change federal agency and no national action plan on GHG reduction. I was personally excited when the current government appointed the immediate past Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, as Minister for Environment. However, she had to leave to become the United Nations Deputy Secretary General.

We need to revisit some of the lofty blue prints she developed on climate change mitigation and adaptation in Nigeria. The environment is too serious an issue to be left at the periphery of decision-making. Climate change should not be viewed as a threat alone, it is also a great economic opportunity for Nigeria to develop a green economy that encourages new jobs in recycling, waste management, green buildings and clean transportation. We can get there. We only need to start first.

How can you assess Nigeria’s readiness to achieve the SDGs?
As you rightly noted, on September 25, 2015, countries, including Nigeria, adopted a set of targets and goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, over the next 15 years. In other words, by the year 2030, the plan is that our world will be on the path of comparable and holistic social, economic and environmental development.

For these ambitious goals to be reached, we must ask, how can we avoid the same pitfalls and mistakes that made it impossible for us to attain the MDGs that expired in 2015. Everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you and I, to avoid the same false start. As of today, Nigeria has not done much to correct the same pitfalls, which centre on lack of sustained governmental action to pursue the sustainable development agenda.

By attaining the rank of full professor of law in 2015 at the age of 32, you became one of the youngest law professors in Nigeria, what are the challenges you faced in achieving that feat?
Well, I am humbled and honoured to follow the remarkable path of Nigeria’s current Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo. SAN who I understand also attained full professorship at the age of 33. I am very fortunate to have tapped into the visions of the President and Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, OFR, LL.D, CON, who is well known to be one of the most successful lawyers in Nigeria’s history and a leading advocate for university reform. Working closely with him challenged me to be the best in my teaching and research. Babalola’s accomplishments, from very humble beginnings, is enough motivation for every one associated with ABUAD to push for the greatest heights, break existing records and set new ones. The university and college of law provided the right atmosphere and resources for me to achieve this feat. Without the support and best wishes of everyone, ranging from the president and founder of the university, to the senior management of the university, the DVC and provost of the College of Law, Professor Smaranda Olarinde, to my head of department, and my students, this attainment would have been highly impossible. I faced no barrier; all I saw was motivation, encouragements and opportunities.

You are an alumnus of the Harvard and Oxford University, how did you achieve these?
I owe these achievements to the divine grace of God. How else could a young lad from Igbajo, Osun State, end up at these famous institutions? After achieving first class honours from the university, and another first class from the Nigerian Law School, I was double charged to follow the paths of the likes of ILA President, Professor Fidelis Oditah, QC, SAN who after making first class degrees from UNILAG and the Law School, also got scholarships to study at Oxford. Luckily, I was still at the Law School when I received a full scholarship from the Government of Canada to pursue LL.M in energy law at the University of Calgary in Canada.

Given these enormous economic advantages of renewable and alternative energy, how can government move this forward?
One key problem we have in this area is lack of sustained policy action by successive governments. On May 05, 2015, the Federal Government of Nigeria officially adopted the National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which aims to increase renewable energy investments to generate electricity and to address climate change problems. The policy also aimed to establish a federal agency on renewable energy like many other countries in the world have done. However, this program was launched in the last few weeks of former President Goodluck Jonathan administration. Since 2015, not much has been heard about the renewable energy programme. I have personally been leading scholarly agenda aimed at getting the current government to revisit this lofty energy diversification and electricity generation program.

In 2015, the Executive Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, invited me to help develop a policy programme that could help Osun State attain leadership in implementing a robust renewable energy and energy efficiency program over the next decade. However, this unfortunately coincided with the time our State had problems with protesting workers so we had to halt this plan. I do hope to revisit this ambitious plan in the future at State and Federal levels. For example, if well developed, we could generate electricity from solar, hydro and wind sources, making it possible for each state to be self sufficient in terms of generating adequate amount of electricity for domestic and industrial use.

How serious do you think Nigeria is in addressing the issue of Climate change?
Nigeria will need to move from bureaucratic rhetoric to more concrete and holistic action to address climate change. In the Paris Agreement, Nigeria pledged to reduce its GHG emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 and 45 per cent by 2030. These are ambitious targets, which on the ground, we have done little in terms of laws, institutions and policies to actualise.

As of today, we have no climate change law, no climate change federal agency and no national action plan on GHG reduction. I was personally excited when the current government appointed the immediate past Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, as Minister for Environment. However, she had to leave to become the United Nations Deputy Secretary General.

We need to revisit some of the lofty blue prints she developed on climate change mitigation and adaptation in Nigeria. The environment is too serious an issue to be left at the periphery of decision-making. Climate change should not be viewed as a threat alone, it is also a great economic opportunity for Nigeria to develop a green economy that encourages new jobs in recycling, waste management, green buildings and clean transportation. We can get there. We only need to start first.

How can you assess Nigeria’s readiness to achieve the SDGs?
As you rightly noted, on September 25, 2015, countries, including Nigeria, adopted a set of targets and goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, over the next 15 years. In other words, by the year 2030, the plan is that our world will be on the path of comparable and holistic social, economic and environmental development.

For these ambitious goals to be reached, we must ask, how can we avoid the same pitfalls and mistakes that made it impossible for us to attain the MDGs that expired in 2015. Everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you and I, to avoid the same false start. As of today, Nigeria has not done much to correct the same pitfalls, which centre on lack of sustained governmental action to pursue the sustainable development agenda.

By attaining the rank of full professor of law in 2015 at the age of 32, you became one of the youngest law professors in Nigeria, what are the challenges you faced in achieving that feat?
Well, I am humbled and honoured to follow the remarkable path of Nigeria’s current Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo. SAN who I understand also attained full professorship at the age of 33. I am very fortunate to have tapped into the visions of the President and Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, OFR, LL.D, CON, who is well known to be one of the most successful lawyers in Nigeria’s history and a leading advocate for university reform. Working closely with him challenged me to be the best in my teaching and research. Babalola’s accomplishments, from very humble beginnings, is enough motivation for every one associated with ABUAD to push for the greatest heights, break existing records and set new ones. The university and college of law provided the right atmosphere and resources for me to achieve this feat. Without the support and best wishes of everyone, ranging from the president and founder of the university, to the senior management of the university, the DVC and provost of the College of Law, Professor Smaranda Olarinde, to my head of department, and my students, this attainment would have been highly impossible. I faced no barrier; all I saw was motivation, encouragements and opportunities.

You are an alumnus of the Harvard and Oxford University, how did you achieve these?
I owe these achievements to the divine grace of God. How else could a young lad from Igbajo, Osun State, end up at these famous institutions? After achieving first class honours from the university, and another first class from the Nigerian Law School, I was double charged to follow the paths of the likes of ILA President, Professor Fidelis Oditah, QC, SAN who after making first class degrees from UNILAG and the Law School, also got scholarships to study at Oxford. Luckily, I was still at the Law School when I received a full scholarship from the Government of Canada to pursue LL.M in energy law at the University of Calgary in Canada.

From Calgary, I received another full scholarship to go to Harvard University for another LL.M, and while still at Harvard, I received the prestigious Clarendon Scholarship and the Queen’s Overseas Research Scholarship to study for a PhD at Oxford University. After this, I was called to the bar in Canada and then practiced energy law at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada for a while. This is a remarkable story of divine grace from God. Having received so much support and mentoring from institutions abroad, what I have done with my career so far is to utilise these knowledge to serve my nation and to motivate young and upcoming lawyers.

You have been recently shortlisted for by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) for the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria under the academic category. Do you intend to set up a law practice soon to mentor young lawyers?
I am very humbled and honoured to have been shortlisted for the SAN award. It is also a positive reinforcement for young academics and scholars that with hard work and diligence, recognition will come some day. But as you know, the SAN award is a privilege, not a right. While I have earnest hope for a successful final outcome, I would not like to think just too far yet about next steps. I like to take it one step at a time. To have been shortlisted is a great attestation to the integrity and transparency of the process, let us wait and see what follows.

What is your advice for students?
As I tell my students, a great lawyer knows a little about everything. My advice for them is that they should take the opportunities of being students to learn more about everything: politics, sports, music, current affairs, society, language, religion and of course law. Push the boundaries by reading more from books, newspapers, law reports, and every other available material on the subject in the library. Such mental curiosity and desire to know more is the secret of success in this profession, whether as a practicing lawyer, legal academic, university administrator or even politician. As Thomas Huxley once remarked, a good student “Tries to learn something about everything and everything about something.”

Source : Yetunde Ayobami via The Guardian

Toyin Falola International Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora

The Seventh edition of TOFAC (Toyin Falola International Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora) was held at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Ondo State in Olusegun Obasanjo Auditorium on  July 3-5 2017. The theme of the conference was “Education and Africa’s Transformation.”

The event kicked off with an opening ceremony and the arrival of dignitaries and participants from around the world. After that, Prof. Toyin Falola made introductory remarks.

Highlights from the Event

  • Prof. Jermaine Abidogun from Missouri State University, USA talked on “Reclaiming African Education: A Call for Synergetic Education.”
  • Prof C.O.O. Kolawole from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria focused on the Sustainable Development Goal 4  
  • Prof. Fallou Ngom from the Boston University, Massachusetts, USA spoke about the African Diaspora in the Educational System with reference to Nelson Mandela’s quote “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world.”
  • In the midst of the Keynote Addresses, there was a cultural interlude called the Obitun Dance.
  • His Royal Majesty, Alayeluwa Adedokun Omoniyi Abolarin, The Royal Count of Orangun Ajagunla; Oke-Ila Orangun made an emotional speech about the value of Education and the African Culture. He also talked about his free education program that supports kids from the poor socioeconomic background.
  • Green Institute represented by Akinsemolu Adenike, Kamundala Janvier, Onyeche Kehinde, Abdelhay Mahmoud featured in Panel D session titled “Science and Innovative Systems.”
  • Participants from Green Institute presented a paper titled “Green Cooking and Market in the Sub Sahara Africa: A Holistic Review of Current State and Future Demands.
  • The event ended with a dinner reception and awards at Oba Adesanoye Civic Center Ondo.
  • Participants also enjoyed themselves with a visit to the historic Idanre Hills.

 

 

The State of Nature

Now that it’s been almost seven years, I can sufficiently say, I didn’t like Avatar much. To give a bit of context, I’m a film buff and looking back, I was probably more caught up in the experience of it all rather than in the movie itself. Avatar was Meh! It’s the kind of movie you look back at and say, yeah, I saw that. But, it is funny how certain parts and not the whole of things leave an imprint; like the memories of loved ones, where we only remember the good. I’m not going to outright say that Avatar got me interested in conservation, but, it sort of did. There’s this scene right before the big battle where Jake goes to pray to the N’aavi ancestors for guidance and assistance. In it, he makes a strange, but poignant comment. He says “They (humans) destroyed their green.” The ancestors end up providing assistance, and a whole lot of bloodshed commences, but that’s beside the point, this article isn’t about Pocahontas 2, sorry, Avatar. Cameron implies in the film that the world is seemingly headed to state of no nature and from a philosophical point that is mightily interesting to me.

I have read a multitude of classical philosophical works and I frequently ponder the friction between the past and the future. If, for example, the past was dictated by a state of nature, wouldn’t the future, being the polar opposite, be one without it. The State of Nature, as a philosophical thought, presents a world without society. I tend to take it further to mean, a world without the modern man. As the name suggests, nature rules in this environment and there is unparalleled equality among man. Man, without the technological advances of the modern era, only takes what he needs from nature. Nature would also rely on man to foster the photosynthesis loop; and being a largely agrarian society, also for the care and nurture of nature. In a sense, there is equality between man and nature as well. Thomas Hobbes, the British philosopher known for his social contract theory, postulates that in this state of nature, man is preoccupied with doing everything to preserve their life. He contends that life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. The state of nature is essentially a world of man versus man. Hence, the need for contracts to negotiate a way out of this compromise- and the subsequent creation of functioning states and governments. Hobbes sees the creation of government as the end of the state of nature. Governance is in itself a form of modernity. As such, I feel there exists a disconnection between the modern man and the state of nature. Evolution postulates the survival of the fittest, and as we gravitated towards a more unequal and unjust society, certain beneficial aspects of the state of nature have been abandoned.

I am not advocating the dissolution of government. If anything, I have constantly argued for the need of government to give conservation more precedence in the global arena. But the key word is preservation. The Hobbesian view is that governments form to ensure preservation of man. It likewise suggests that it is the fear of death that propels man to peace. As such, shouldn’t nature then be entitled to the same rights of preservation, given our equality? Recent estimates suggest that at least 10,000 species go extinct every year. At this rate, in another millennia, the planet would be a desolate place. Man is particularly responsible for this trend. 2015 was the warmest recorded year in history, the second warmest was 2014. Preservation of the environment has been relegated to the back-bench. This is where I feel government should play more of an active role. Hobbes stresses that the role of the sovereign is to ensure common peace and safety. Climate change is the greatest silent threat to the world. To ensure the safety of the future generation, we need to do more to avert the unthinkable.

Man’s greed has been echoed for generations now. It is the predominant assumption in economics. Industrialization and globalization are key to understanding rampant pollution. While I think competition on an international stage is healthy in terms of development, there should also be a rationale motivated by self-interest. Climate change is responsible for extreme weather patterns the world over. Droughts, extreme heats, glaciers melting and rising sea levels have an adverse effect on people’s livelihoods as well as the environment. Add to that the negative health outcomes these changes in the environment brings and you’ll perfectly understand the rising costs of these changes to man. I frequently refer to this discord between the global north and south when it comes to conservation. Less advanced nations bear the brunt of environmental degradation because they are ill-equipped to handle them. There seems to be an information asymmetry with regards to dealing with climate change. Not only do advanced nations have better technologies to deal with them, but information is not delivered in the appropriate channel to developing nations. This is the particular area where I feel government should play more of active role. It is not enough to rely on civil society to spread awareness on this all important issue. Competition should drive our need to preserve the environment- the need to better ourselves, to evolve, to survive.

The art of survival is engulfed in an endless state of conflict. The environment, more than anything charts a timeline similar to the literary conflict narrative. Man against man; where the need to secure resources generates conflicts. Nature is at the nucleus of this stage, albeit, not overly consumed to necessitate a disastrous erosion of the earth. The current stage is that of man against nature. Make no mistake, we are winning this battle but it is one we should not necessarily be partaking in. In most narratives, nature fights back aggravatingly. The stage that follows will be one of man against self. To wage war against nature is to ultimately wage war against ourselves as we stand to lose the most from an eroded earth.

Hobbes Leviathan (last reference, I swear) speaks on the Kingdom of Darkness. It’s not as mythical as it sounds however. Hobbes is talking about ignorance; similar to Plato’s Cave. I feel ignorance is the single most important factor derailing the environmental movement in the modern epoch. The onus, as in the cave, is for an individual to venture out, to seek knowledge, to seek the light. There are so many resources in this day and age to supplement the little you might know about climate change and environmental degradation. But we need sustained interest in the field, be it though organizing symposiums or going the extra mile to include it as a major in universities. Very few universities have programs in environmental protection, and fewer students actually take the bolder step to major in them.

In Avatar, man has taken the giant step into the unknown. After exhausting the resources on Earth, they venture to another planet. Barring any outrageous technological advancement, that seems highly unlikely in the near future. Already, we are seeing nature fighting back. Scientist are predicting more frequent changes in weather patterns around the world. Frequent micro earthquakes have been linked to fracking and extreme heat and cold are becoming more common. Just this past week, there have been several emergencies in India regarding heat strokes. The state of no nature isn’t a prediction, it’s already begun and we ultimately have no one but ourselves to blame. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olaoluwa holds a Masters in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelors from Lincoln University. He writes for the Green Campus Initiative. His core interests include poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and youth empowerment. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing and watching sports. In the future, he hopes to obtain a doctorate degree where he aims to study exclusionary policies that limit youth participation in politics.

The Green Campus Initiative V-Day: Romance With The Environment

Yes! You saw it right, R O M A N C E With The Environment. Some might be confused about the event, especially on Valentine’s Day but but let's go through this idea together. Over the years, planet earth, our home environment has not been treated kindly by the people it houses. From improper dumping to tree felling, oil spillages to bush burning, gas flarings, noise pollution, water mismanagement, and many other problems. Indeed, the environment, our home, has been abused. We have all contributed to this abuse both our large scale and small scale activities.  To some, the majority of these activities are done for the economical benefit of man and hence, can not be done without. Although I agree that many of these environmentally damaging activities have benefited the economy, I do believe that there are less environmentally damaging alternatives.  

In the spirit of love and Valentine’s Day, The Green Campus Initiative Team, her members and other members of society, felt it sincere and right to spend their time with, and 'romance' with the environment on February the 14th, 2016.  This was done to show our love for the environment and somewhat compensate the environment for the damages caused by anthropogenic activities, in their own little way.

The day started with the Green Team and ambassadors carrying out a community service activity, during which they cleaned up their immediate environment at Adeyemi College of Education. The group was able to restore cleanliness and a bit of health.  I can only guess that the environment was beaming with smiles

That was not the only part of the February 14th, Valentines Day event. Partnering with Kingdom Life International Ministry (KLIM) led by Rev. Ken Igbinedion, the ambassadors and other members of society were hosted to an evening picnic at the Adeyemi College of Education Guest House, Ondo , tagged, 'Love Affair'. With spoken word performances by Olayinka Ojo; UN Spoken Word Contest, solo drama performance by Samuel Bliss, choreography by The Chosen Choreographers, and the Green Anthem performance by the Green Ministers, the evening picnic was rich, relaxing and fun.

To crown the activities of the day, the Founder of the Green Campus Initiative, Adenike Akinsémolu gave a short talk, as it was not a day for monologues, about the love for environment and the love of self. A lot of important knowledge was gained from the talk including the importance of seeing every day as environment's day, conserving resources, exercising and practicing self care.

FOUNDER ADENIKE AKINSEMOLU TALKING ABOUT THE GREEN CAMPUS INITIATIVE

FOUNDER ADENIKE AKINSEMOLU TALKING ABOUT THE GREEN CAMPUS INITIATIVE

As usual, Green Campus Initiative events are not complete without the smiles of participants during photography sessions. Kudos GCI!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christopher Oghenekevwe Oghenechovwen , a B.Tech student of Meteorology and Climate Science (FUTA), is a decolonized African, environmentalist and ready volunteer. He is 2013 Citizenship and Leadership Certified by CLTC, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Youth Development, a 2015 UNESCO & Athabasca University student on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue, 2015 Senior Category Gold Winner of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, and youth correspondent at yourcommonwealth.org . His growing passions lie within the circle of Climate Action, Media and Information, IT, Youth Education and Leadership. Apart from volunteering with Earthplus, The Green Campus Initiative, and doing creative writing, Oghenekevwe loves to connect with people. Invite him for a healthy conversation via chrischovwen@gmail.com

Littering and Improper Waste Disposal: To allow to continue or not?

We have to do what we have to do, so we can do what we want to do
— Unknown

Today, I do not pen down my thoughts alone. These thoughts are joined with those of that little boy, in Ajegunle, with skin infections, that has to tread on tons of decomposing garbage on his way to school and back. My thoughts are shared with those of families in Aba living amongst massive refuse dump sites, who keep on experiencing malaria epidemic.

Truth be told, we all, you and I, should be blamed for the unpleasant situations happening to that boy, girl, or family. Many argue that it is the sole responsibility of the local or state government, to clean up the environment, to set up and enact strict environmental laws, to clear the dirts off the gutters, to burn all the refuse etc. However, as convincing as these ideas seem, I do not stand with them. Should the government,still work on our individual mindsets, hold our hands to put our wraps or papers in bins, teach our children not to litter, remove the empty tin from our porch, or give us ways of how we can positively influence our friends or circles that they become environmental conscious? No. These are all our duties, and if we keep on neglecting them, these unpleasant situations would start happening right in front of our doorsteps: no one or place would be safe. The most interesting thing is that we can do the little things that matter things that will aid the actualization of a healthy environment and leave the complex parts for government. But the first step towards this is recognizing that in us lies the fault. Recognizing our fault gives us a new strength to face our challenges.

At a young age, my mum made my siblings and I do somethings we considered plain annoying. Whenever she noticed our biscuit or sweet wraps had disappeared from our hands, she would ask us about it, and if our answers did not indicate that the wraps were in the bin, she made us look for them, so we could dispose them properly - it did not matter how far down the street the wrap was, you just had to get, and bin it. Unconsciously and slowly as I grew, I began to develop the habit of proper disposal. The government had nothing to do with what I developed.

I would love for us all to consider this question, " What is the point of our education, if we still throw garbage on the street to be ultimately picked up by an uneducated person working? "

Let us not be the first to start littering. We need to know where to throw our garbage so that we can avoid accidents or any event that will affect our health. 

I agree with the words of Amina J. Mohammed, the Honourable Nigerian Minister for Environment, "There would always be dirt, the important belief I have, is that we ensure we are dirt free to the extent it does No Harm". There is no other satisfaction than having a clean environment and breathing fresh air when we practice waste disposal. Therefore, it is just right that we start doing it now and share the good news. Let us join hands against improper waste disposal, we shall not fail! 

Lets Go Green!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christopher Oghenekevwe Oghenechovwen , a B.Tech student of Meteorology and Climate Science (FUTA), is a decolonized African, environmentalist and ready volunteer. He is 2013 Citizenship and Leadership Certified by CLTC, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Youth Development, a 2015 UNESCO & Athabasca University student on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue, 2015 Senior Category Gold Winner of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, and youth correspondent at yourcommonwealth.org . His growing passions lie within the circle of Climate Action, Media and Information, IT, Youth Education and Leadership. Apart from volunteering with Earthplus, The Green Campus Initiative, and doing creative writing, Oghenekevwe loves to connect with people. Invite him for a healthy conversation via chrischovwen@gmail.com

MUST WATCH: Let's Go Green Video by The Green Ambassadors

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The Green Campus Initiative (GCI) brings yet another awareness-filled, earth-inspired video titled ‘Let’s Go Green’ to the screen. The awareness campaign is produced in-house by the Founder of GCI, Adenike Akinsemolu, and directed by Olayinka Ojo - GCI Minister for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, and Winner of the UN Spoken Word Contest. It also features the Adeyemi College of Education GCI Ambassadors as the cast.

Staying true to the theme of the cause, the crew explored the natural environment beautifully. The lush green environment in the video lures viewers into nature’s therapeutic powers while the voices, smiles and radiating glow on the faces calms nerves. If you do not already know about Going Green, this video is a good starting point.

The lyrics are highly captivating and gets the message across: “Imagine a world where water is free and clean, where breathe is fresh and safe, where sun will smile each day…” Honestly, these words are a reminder that we need to be sensitive and mindful of our environment.

Friends, this video is a call to action for all of us. The planet is ours. We can preserve it for future generations by doing little things that matter. This is a must see video. Watch it below or on YouTube.

 

LYRICS

We live in a world of ordinary people
You can change things around
I can change things around
We can change things around 

Never again shall out children die
of thirst and polluted air
and unclean environment
We can live a happy life

Imagine a world
where water is free and clean
When breathe is fresh and safe
hen sun will smile each day Oh!

CHORUS
Oh!! Lets Go Green
Oh!! Lets Go Green
Oh!! Lets Go Green

(Repeated Twice)

We live in a world of ordinary people
You can change things around
I can change things around
We can change things around

An Open Letter to Earth's Young People

Dear Youth,

How has the voyage on life's great sea been? I hope you have continuously learnt the lessons and kept your ship sailing after the early storms hit. More waters remain to be covered - more trends to be set. Therefore, hold on to your vigour and captain on. I am like you. I am young. I have vigour.

For a while now, sustainable development has been in the consciousness of leaders in almost all positive spheres of life, often it is on their lips, in their deeds it is also seen. This recent global action stirred me into reflection for a period. I reflected harder than I did when complex calculus problems stared up at me impatiently. Reflections on what little things you and I could do together for earth and her people with the fire in our bones, youthful values, knowledge, skills and vigour. I came up with simple Promethean ideas. These I will share with you.

Friend, I hit on the first idea on one of those days when I wasn't at a loss, when I didn't notice the unfair and imbalanced ratio between the vowels and consonants in words like 'hymn' and 'church'. Just like a perfectly designed spider web, we can connect, we can network. Yes, networking was the idea. By creating networks in our neighborhood, classes, markets etc we would exchange ideas, share and discuss or debate about the most up-to-date knowledge and technologies relating to people in our society and earth with the brightest of minds. The first network I belonged to, used WhatsApp as a platform for discussions. As simple as it was, we achieved by doing the little things that matter.
Also, you and I can support recycling. We may not have the resources for building a recycling factory but we can play parts in local ways. We can set up a small collection point in our lanes and drives for these factories with our plastic or paper labelled drums and baskets. We can gather recyclable materials with our friends. Moreover, using our Facebook and Twitter accounts we can create campaigns to promote recycling. By doing these, we fight land and air pollution, protect the environment, reduce energy consumption, amount of waste to land fills and global warming, conserve natural resources and ensure sustainable use of resources. I believe in you. You can do this. Small acts, great advantages.

It is an inarguable truth that water is life in another form. Recently, evaporation rates of water bodies have become more rapid due to global warming. Hence, water conservation is necessary as plants and humans cannot survive without it. We can preserve the planet by conserving water in the little ways possible; by not running the tap while brushing and by reducing our shower time. This is the third action plan, simple and practicable. Sounds doable? I trust your vigour.

Another thing we can do for the people and planet is to grow a tree (not plant a tree) and start thinking green. I didn't see a difference between planting and growing till I read a quote of a female Kenyan environmental activist. Wangari Maathai said, "Anybody can dig a hole and plant a tree. But make sure it survives. You have to nurture it, you have to water it, you have to keep at it until it becomes rooted so it can take care or itself. There are so many enemies of trees". You see the difference too? When we grow a 'lung of the planet', the air is purified and our people are given fresh strength. 

Lets-go-green-placard

Thinking green is being mindful of and sensitive to the natural environment in which we find ourselves daily! Everyday is Earth Day.

Lastly, we can share with and teach other people the importance of preserving the planet. We would take what we know and pass it to others. If every person we know could take one small step toward being greener, the collective effort could be phenomenal.

I believe in you. I believe in your vigour.

Yours Sincerely,

Your friend


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christopher Oghenekevwe Oghenechovwen , a B.Tech student of Meteorology and Climate Science (FUTA), is a decolonized African, environmentalist and ready volunteer. He is 2013 Citizenship and Leadership Certified by CLTC, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Youth Development, a 2015 UNESCO & Athabasca University student on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue, 2015 Senior Category Gold Winner of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, and youth correspondent at yourcommonwealth.org . His growing passions lie within the circle of Climate Action, Media and Information, IT, Youth Education and Leadership. Apart from volunteering with Earthplus, The Green Campus Initiative, and doing creative writing, Oghenekevwe loves to connect with people. Invite him for a healthy conversation via chrischovwen@gmail.com