In the past decade, it has been called everything from the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind” to the “greatest challenge to face man”. There have been conventions, coalitions, and conferences held in its name. Hundreds of politicians have discussed, debated and even come to agree on possible solutions armed with which we might stand and face its impending challenge. Thousands of scientists have released studies, statements, and reports documenting its harmful and possibly even apocalyptic consequences for all of the world’s biodiversity. Millions of people have individually altered their own lifestyles and together they have walked and run and biked in fierce protest(tigweb.org).
The issue at hand is climate change. So what are Nigerian Youth doing?
The Nigeria Youth Climate Coalition (NYCC) is an umbrella organization for individuals, groups and organizations working on Youth and Climate Change in Nigeria. Through Youth Aid Organization for Africa (YAOFA), NYCC is currently implementing a Climate Change Youth Communication project titled “Engaging Naija Youth on Climate Change Project” funded by BNRCC. Through the funding, NYCC/YOAFA held a National Youth forum to Celebrate International Youth Day at Shehu Musa Yaradua Center on August 16th 2010 with the theme “ Our Environment, Our Year Our voice” where over 200 youths and media agencies were in attendance including the Head, Special Climate Change Unit of the Federal Ministry of Environment. The event was also supported by Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO), Abuja Green Society (AGS) and Women Environmental Programme (WEP)the funding from BNRCC, NYCC/YAOFA has trained over 80 students in two schools in Warri LGA of Delta State, Orlu and Nkwerre LGAs of Imo State, and Akure LGA of Ondo state. The 3 days training was the 1st ever youth-led initaitives in the state using peer-education model, and it was aimed at creating awareness on climate change while building youth-leadership capacity as climate leaders. The student who Participated in the training said that they are excited to know why and how thier climate have been changing and what to do to adapt. They promised to train their peers in schools. The following were the schools
1. Ubeji Junior Secondary School, Ubeji, Warri South local governments, Delta state
2. Ekapn Senior secondary and Junior schools, Uvwei local government ,Delta state
3. Cambridge Interational Secondary School, Uvwei Local Government, Delta State
4. Eziama Comprehensive high School, Eziama, Nkwerre LGA, Imo state.
5. Bishop Shanahan Collegue, Orlu, Orlu Local Govemnet Area, Imo state.
6. CAC Grammar School, Akure, Ondo State
7. Ijapo High School, Akure.
8. St Micheal’s Secondary School, Akure
In the end, Nigerian youth have all of the evidence they need to inspire action. All that is needed now are the diplomatic and policy-building tools that will complement the amazing energy and creativity of these youth, enabling them to help tackle the environmental and ensuing social challenges the world currently faces.
Special thanks to The Visionaries Academy, Warri, Delta state and Kids and Teens Resource Center, Akure, Ondo state,and Partners in Owerri, Imo state