Young Nigerians Discuss Climate Change

“... if he could only get them to look through his mind’s eye and see it all. These lands used to be a thriving rainforest with tall palm trees, mangroves on the shorelines bounding the Forcados River and other types of small shrubs. The rivers teamed with various fish like the eels, catfish, croakers, shiny and more. Now, it was salt water intrusion from the Atlantic Ocean, combined with the gradual sinking of the ground. Their homes were constantly flooded too…” Doreen Nlekwa’s winning story is about a young boy living on an island in the Niger Delta that is rapidly changing as a result of the effects of climate change, with vegetation drying up, fish stock disappearing, fresh water channels infiltrated by saltwater… In fact, the entire island itself is under threat of being submerged by rising sea levels. As part of her winning the competition organized by hbs Nigeria, Doreen came to Abuja to address the Climate March on 30 November, when 100 young Nigerians marched from the Unity Fountain to the National Assembly demonstrated in front of the National Assembly to demand more proactive measures in fighting climate change. In her speech, Doreen called on people all over the world to listen, think, protect and sustain the environment; that no matter your age, sex, tribe, gender, location or language there is a need to come together to take action and speak out. She also said that it is time to educate those who do not know and for us to join the global discussion all over the world.

Daniel Akinjise was the second winner in the story competition. His story is about a young boy in a fishing community that experiences a flash flood. He goes on to learn that the flooding is as a result of rising sea levels caused by climate change and resolves to do his bit in making it sure does not reoccur... “Now the waves arrived in a single line, rolling, tumbling with the thunder of a charging battalion. With their first shock, they had broken three poplars; the tall foliage sank and disappeared. A wooden cabin was swallowed up, a wall was demolished; heavy carts were carried away like straws. An enormous wave felled the woman who was carrying the child. Then all were engulfed…”

In his talk at the Abuja Climate March, he advocated a switch to renewable forms of energy in order to cut down on carbon emissions, and also for individuals to be more conscious of their carbon footprints in the ways they live and what they purchase.