What We Do to Keep the Planet Safe: Climate Story By Oladosu Adenike
The world was created with everything needed within it. Yet, mankind remains the biggest threat to its destruction. My name is Oladosu Adenike from Nigeria; an ecofeminist, climate justice activist and agricultural economist. Being an activist in this portfolio has not been smooth neither pleasurable. At some point, it looks frustrating because our demands for climate justice seem to be the hardest action that needs everyone to make a move forward creating a better place; invariably just have to start from somewhere to make the movement inclusive.
It might look like a distance goal to get everyone involved in climate action despite the countless number of actions that are being taken currently and many decades ago. We are not going to be silenced because we are unstoppable. Everyone is born to be an activist in his or her own capacity but the ability to manifest it is one thing everyone needs to deal with. It doesn’t matter whether you are old or young, black or white, female or male, there is a point in life stages you need to fight for the planet that houses you. My journey into the environmental movement started in school in 200Level while studying climate-related courses: Agricultural Economics. Precisely in 2014, when the Chibok schoolgirls in Borno state of Nigeria was kidnapped by Boko Haram due to insecurity issues arising from the shrinking Lake Chad. This made me an Ecofeminist because I have seen and heard about the effects of climate change in Nigeria; Niger-Delta crises, farmer-herdsmen clashes and the various environment issues.
At every environmental crisis, women are always at the center of these crises. This has made me fight for climate justice because environmental justice is equivalent to women's rights. Our environmental conditions have always made us take backstage in attaining gender equality.
Thus, the effects of climate change have been raging the whole world in one aspect but it is more evident in the African continent. Climate change now drives armed conflicts as seen in the shrinking Lake chad or the western part of Africa. Closest to the shrinking Lake chad is the northeastern part of Nigeria that is bee faced with deforestation, dryness drought, and desert encroachment. These have led to the migration of herdsmen in this region to greener pasture where my school is located; generally known as the food basket of the nation. In the process of searching for food to feed the cattle, they intrude into the farmer’s land. This has led to the loss of lives & likelihoods. It wasn’t a good experience seeing these conflicts contributing to an extra one year to the five years course I opt-in for, it’s was sad. At times, villages from neighborhoods migrate into our school compound to seek for refuge in time like this. In some cases, students pandemic for fear of the unknown outcome. The climate change driven crises is becoming visible as years passes by. One thing that climate change can do Africa continent especially the western parts, is that it could birth poverty, in return lead to armed conflict due to fighting for natural resources and can develop into war. Some of these “symptoms” are fast forthcoming. Activism is giving all it takes to get what you want. We aren’t fighting the invisible forces, yet we see effects of climate change springing out; from flooding to wildfire and intense heat. We have 10 years left for us to act according to IPCC. It is time for us to lead the climate before it leads us to destruction. IPCC gave a focal point of no return on climate action to be 2050; it is subjected to exchanges it emissions keep rising. All of these summed together gave me boldness to start taking climate action on a weekly bases since November, 2018. From public places, to schools, communities and social gathering just to educate people about climate change and actions needed to back it up, so as to derive sustainable solutions to the longest undefeated crises yet. Through this personal funding commitments, we have been able to reach out to thousands of people and in some cases, we engage them in tree planting activities. Any action we join internationally, is localized because we need to start from the grassroots. As we are taking one action, we are thinking of the next action to take. With the current threats of coronavirus pandemic to deal amid the climate crises happening everywhere have shown that these two crises are not just defining issues of our lives but two sides of the same coin. That needs to be taken simultaneously in like manners that world leaders are unifying together to stem the virus. For six weeks now, I have been campaigning for green recovery post COVID19, since we can’t do our normal routine actions. Virtually going in making our demands a reality so as to reach as many people as possible. This is not just only a pathway we can build better and stronger economics but to strengthen commitments towards actualizing Paris climate Agreement. This pandemic has given us a clue to the vaccine needed in tackling climate change from the pandemic: green recovery. The decision world leaders take to boost their economies system will determine if we win the race against climate change but we have no reason to lose the race. Thus, I have included free production of face masks to my community members few weeks ago especially to people that can’t afford the cost so as to stem the spread of the coronavirus infections. We aren’t safe if one person in your community is infected by the virus, it is our responsibility to mask them up. Community transfer of this virus can lead to the second wave of this infection if not properly addressed.
Nevertheless, everyone has a role to play in complementing the climate commitments of world leaders. It is important that youth play a critical role in the post – COVID-19 era. My life desire is to close the gap between man and nature. Like in the words of Martin Luther King Jr; “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” My life matters so does my environment.
About the Author Oladosu Adenike (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an ecofeminist, Peace activist, and climate justice activist. The founder of “lead climate”. African Youth Climate Hub Ambassador.