A group of organisations under the label, One Environment, have emphasised education, re-orientation of Nigerians, in addition to matching grassroots sustainability programmes to effectively tackle communities’ needs are keys to ensuring environmental sustainability.
Made up of local and international entities such as environmental artist, Ifesinachi Nwanyanwu, Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Ghraizi & Partners, Embassies of Switzerland, Czech Republic, the European Union and French Institute, Abuja, One Environment, an 18-day environmental symposium is designed not solely to provide awareness, and practical approaches to environmental sustainability, but create networks to foster it and canvass support from government and civil societies to provide enabling environment for a holistic approach to climate change issues.
Speaking at the official meeting of the stakeholders, Nwanyanwu identified the induction of Environmental Studies in schools as the best means of sensitising the public and the grassroots on issues of climate change and environmental degradation.
“Sensitisation is a key issue to be addressed at One Environment. Adding Environmental Studies in schools’ curriculum will induce students to think of alternatives to nylon bags, especially when they are aware these become a menace to the environment”.
Cultural Attaché and Media officer at the Czech Embassy, Marie Novotna, reiterates Nwanyanwu’s positing but highlights continuity and practical approaches to environmental sustainability at the grassroots level as most crucial.
“One Environment is modelled to be an eye opener. You can start networks from this. It is a gradual process. As an NGO, you should start at the grassroots and believe in the process. In Nigeria, nobody cares because people are not used to the practice, therefore they cannot transfer environmental consciousness or habit to their children.”
Novotna also recommends that environmental education in schools should be interactive and interesting for school children. “We (Czech Embassy) are bringing in intellectual minds to share practical information and knowledge on environmental preservation. We will present to Nigerians, practical ideas which they can apply to their society to make money from the preservation of environment. We may take interactive presentation to one or more schools in Abuja.”
Rosalyn Agiamih of Ghraizi & Partners Ltd expressed more concern on climate adaptive practices in rural communities to create jobs. According to her, many environmental sustainable practices at the grassroots level are untailored to the specific needs of concerned communities.
“A lot of youths at the grassroots level are not interested in farming, but white collar jobs, the introduction of recycling of plastics, paper, metals, or waste sorting at the community will create jobs.”
Quoting UN report which states that 70 percent of wastes produced globally are organic based, Agiamih said G&P will work with several communities in the management of organic and seasonal waste. “Communities rich in mango fruits can be educated to preserve or dry mango seeds for replanting or upcycled for biofuel production rather than discarded”.
At the conference, scheduled to hold from July 4th to 23rd, G&P will support activities through the provision of resource persons working directly with communities in various environmental issues such as solar electrification, waste management and sanitisation, to present a holistic view of environmental sustainability at the grassroots.
General expectation among the shareholders is mutual, that the event becomes the platform to initiate and push effective environmental sustainability policies.
Agiamih articulates it best, “we hope to make One Environment, an annual event and have representatives of various communities attend as well as senators representing various constituencies, so they can go away and integrate new technologies and new innovations to their practices”.