If you hear the names Vanessa Nakate or Greta Thunberg, does it ring a bell? If yes, congratulations you are an environmentally conscious Nigerian. If your answer is no, don’t despair because you are more part of the greater majority of Nigerians than you will care to know.
Unlike their peers in Uganda, Sweden, and India – India’s Disha Ravi is currently in police custody for sedition and criminal conspiracy, spurious charges aimed at curtailing her climate activism and support for protesting farmers, young Nigerians seem disinterested in climate justice.
This became especially apparent after we spoke to 3 Nigerians within the age ranges of 22-28 about what they think about the implications of global warming and whether or not they feel the need to get involved if only to bring awareness.
Climate justice is a term used to frame global warming as an ethical and political issue, rather than one that is purely environmental or physical in nature. This is done by relating the causes and effects of climate change to concepts of justice, particularly environmental justice and social justice.
Shola (M, 25)
I have read a lot about global warming and its implications in the long run, with respect to food shortages occasioned by changing climate patterns across the world. Part of that reading involved this piece I personally consider alarmist predicting prehistoric viruses being thawed from ice in the arctic that’s been frozen forever that could lead to never-before-seen pandemics. I still can’t be bothered to be honest.
See things my way, we are doomed to die anyway. Everything is, the earth, the galaxy, the universe – whether by The Big Freeze or Big Crunch. When you look at all that, there is a peace in accepting what is, otherwise you will just keep worrying about things you can’t change that you refuse to accept. Who wants that?
He may have a point there, but what about posterity?
Beebah (F, 22)
I worry. Especially now that more and more these implications are coming closer to home. I have family in Texas and let me tell you, when I read about the news of the snowstorm in Texas and called them and received confirmation I froze too. What on God’s green earth – which by the way is getting less green by the years, is going on? I worry it will only get worse, but my worry which is useless in any case, is not enough to push me to carry a placard down Alqali Road – Kaduna, demanding for a greener world. Even me won’t take me seriously.
Look around you at the poverty killing people daily. Add to that the rampant insecurity in the country. Put a dash of massive unemployment. What you have is kowa yaji da kanshi – every man for himself.
The planet will take care of itself in the end, perhaps by choking us in our own folly, or drowning us in it. If not us then our children, which is why I have resolved never to sire a child. I may adopt one or not even do that because what do I tell an innocent child is the reason they could die in a flood?
Tobi Thomas (M, 28)
To be fair, what can I do? Me with my small carbon footprint. Is it the generator in the estate or the hail cabs I use to get around this crazy town that I will cut down on to improve our collective fighting chance against climate change? The extended harmattan in Lagos does have me thinking about climate change, but when I thought about it I also thought about the fact of the matter. Whatever can be done has to come from the top down. The big governments in heavily industrialised economies. Major corporations with their endless expansion and bottomless greed.
Me, I will just sit here and mind the business that feeds me. Of course if those in charge higher up do decide to take action and I have a part to play in that action I’m likely to wholeheartedly partake. Otherwise, abeg, let’s be real, what can I do?
There is a running theme of helplessness even in the unbothered attitude of young Nigerians when it comes to climate change. What can we do? Most everyone will ask. So we do nothing. It is understable too. The world is huge yet very interconnected, it can seem like, ‘what effect can our efforts achieve if somewhere in far away frozen Siberia the Russian Federation is extracting oil and unleashing environmental disasters like the Norilsk oil spill?’
David Suzuki Foundation compiled a list of 10 things you can do about climate change. We don’t think most of it is practical but we will reiterate one we think is a good place to start that won’t take a thing, other than your words that is: start a climate conversation. Today is a good day.
We will get to the placard-carrying part eventually, but in the meantime let’s keep each other in our small circles informed. Call it our personal Green New Deal.