In Benin, the Health of Mother Earth (HOME) Sustainability Academy continued with a session organized for school children and community members at the Precious Palm Royal Hotel. Over 200 community members and young school children gathered at 10am to join the workshop tagged Climate Change and the Looming Food Crisis. Also in the room was the Executive Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, represented by Dr. Onikolease Irabor, Special Adviser to the Governor of the state.
This session was very interactive, with students, media representatives, community members and youth leaders asking questions on climate change in Nigeria, addressing the food crises and the way forward. In line with HOMEF’s commitment to engage young people in environmental education through interactive methods, participating students were invited to recite poems on climate change. One student, Ms. Osaretin Aisosa from Alpha High School and the Young Environmentalist Network (TYEN) recited a poem, that “If climate change were little change, we will probably still be here to finish this poem.” Also from TYEN and Alpha High School, Ms. Benedicta Adesanya presented a poem titled Mobilize, Resist, Transform from Nnimmo Bassey’s anthology of poems, ‘I Will Not Dance to Your Beat.’
There were dignitaries present, including Comrade Adams Oshiomole, ably represented by Dr. Onikolease Irabor, Special Adviser to the Governor of Edo State. He expressed his hope for the session to come out with a communique that will proffer solutions to some of the problems of climate change and its attendant hunger. Dr. O.S Ikponwanba, retired director of forestry and consultant to the Ministry of Environment also encouraged youths and community members to take action at the grassroots level.
The instigator, Ambassador Pablo Solon presented on Nigeria’s place in climate change and the food crises looming. He excellently delivered his presentation on climate change in a manner that was informative to all the categories of people present at the session. “There are several impacts climate change has on the environment including health, wars and food instability. Already, malaria is prevalent in Africa and worse health conditions are the most direct impacts of climate change.”
He continued by saying, “in most African cases, climate change will lead to water stress. In some cases, there will be scarcity and drought. Climate change may not destroy the Earth itself, but life as we know it will be altered drastically.” In a graphic display, he likened climate change to change of temperature in a human, first rising to a fever and eventually to death. In line with his presentation in Abuja earlier int he week, he presented the false solutions currently being perpetuated by corporations and suggested more tangible solutions in their place. According to Ambassador Pablo, “geo-engineering is like putting an umbrella over the earth. This is the first of the false solutions for climate change.” He continued by saying, “when you genetically modify organisms, you are mixing things that don’t mix in nature.”
Nnimmo Bassey closed the session by saying, “to fight global warming, we need global action. While there are things countries can do, it requires a global effort.” He also promised HOMEF’s support to provide continuous education and resources of knowledge in order to keep climate literacy thorough among Nigerians.
The 1st edition of HOME School rounds up in Lagos on Friday, August 23rd at the Afe Babalola Auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka. All Lagosians are welcome to join in this remarkable event.