Global Movement for Climate Action: Why are Young Africans Not Getting Actively Involved?Ides Ofune 2nd June 2019 0 COMMENTS
All over the world, climate change has become a topical issue. Young people are getting involved and leading the way. Teenagers are intentionally missing school and taking to the streets to protest the lack of climate action. For example, Greta Thunberg, is a prominent young Swede activist who stopped going to school to protest climate change. At the World Economic Forum, she urged leaders all over the world to take immediate action on climate change. According to her, our world is on fire and there is no need going to school if the future would not exist. For all her efforts, she has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Apart from her, all over the world especially in developed countries, there is news every other month of young people taking to the streets to protest. For example, on March 15, youths made history by organising the largest protest in the world. An estimated 1.6 million students in 300 cities were involved demanding for climate action. This got me thinking about Africa and Nigeria in particular. I haven’t heard about young people getting really actively involved in climate action to the point of taking to the streets. Climate change affects the livelihood of people in Africa especially farmers. In Nigeria for example, it is having an effect on River Niger where changes in rainfall seasons, flooding of crops and homes, and erosion of the river banks are significant problems for the riverside communities.
I spoke to Sipasi Ayodele, the co-founder of ProtectOzone, an organisation working towards protecting the ozone layer in a sustainable way, about the lack of active involvement of Nigerian youth in climate action. According to him, young people in Nigeria are also joining this wind of change but not in a structured way. From his experience in working with young people, they need to be incentivised before they can be motivated to join this wind of change. He says “for example, in my organisation, we plant trees and have no problem with that. But how many people can be involved with this when they don’t have their basic needs met? Another example he gave was that, if he picks of 1kg of plastic from the environment, he gets only 100 Naira in return. And for a country such as Nigeria where there is poverty, young people will not be motivated to get involved.
He continues that in developed countries, there is a welfare system that caters for people who don’t have jobs ensuring that their basic needs are met. In Nigeria and most parts of Africa, a person in that situation will be rendered helpless. Such a person cannot actively participate on social movements.
Personally, I think this is a serious issue that needs to be looked at. We must raise awareness and get our young people involved. They must not be left out of this global movement given that it’s their future at stake. As a continent, we need to start thinking globally for us to solve our local issues.
Feature image: mansharamani.com
Please follow us on all our social media channels: Facebook – Desert Bloom Advisory, Twitter – @dbloomadvisory, LinkedIn – Desert Bloom Advisory and Instagram – Desert Bloom Advisory.
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at email@example.com