In 2007, Ban Ki-moon (former Secretary General UN) noted that “I am convinced that climate change, and what we do about it, will define us, our era, and ultimately the global legacy we leave for future generation. Today, the time for doubt has passed”. At this point, we already know enough about climate change and its impacts. The best time to take action to save our planet is now. According to a recent United Nations’ report, the world has less than 12 years to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emission or we will be on path of no return. However, how can we expect to achieve zero greenhouse emission and reduce our carbon pollution if young, intelligent and promising individuals whose future are in danger does not champion the fight against climate change? We all know that CO2 emissions companies boost the economy but what is the essence of wealthy economy when next generations will suffer for it? In a study conducted in three major cities in Nigeria (Abuja, Lagos and Enugu) it was found out that it is only 18% of the youth that have heard about climate change and understood its impact, some have heard of climate change but don’t really understand what it denotes while others have not heard about climate change. In the mist of this apathy to fight against climate change in Nigeria, stands lone girl in city of Abuja.
This lone girl, Oladosu Adenike who describes herself to her followers on Twitter as climate justice activist and the eco_feminist who is the country ambassador of Earth_Uprising and organizer of ClimateStrikeNG. She is like the voice crying in the wilderness proclaiming the fight against climate change across all corners of Nigeria and Africa calling on our leaders to wake up from sleep and act because climate change is no longer a future danger. Ms. Oladosu believes youths have much to offer in fight against climate change. She once wrote that one of the reasons why the climate is becoming changed and subsequently leading to crisis is because of a lack of youths’ involvement in planning of their tomorrow.
In interview with her, she said that her fight for climate action has just begun. Ms. Oladosu who is also a teacher, comes out every Friday in any kind of weather protesting the inaction of our leaders with her protest sign #FridayForFuture for more than 34 weeks in a row already. On 15 March, 2019, there was a massive ClimateStrikeNG with pupils, students, teachers, youths and all ages in Abuja. On 12th July being the 34th weeks of the strike, she was with students in Abuja talking about SDGs and climate change. Oladosu is an inspiration to kids and youths of all background and viewpoint. She opened a door for Nigerian youths and kids to have knowledge about climate change and to take actions that will compel our leaders to act. She has been to different elementary schools where she spoke with pupils about the need to join the fight against climate change and protect their planet which is their future.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder in interview told Norah O’Donnell of CBS Evening News that he is spending billions on space because “We are destroying the earth…We humans have to go to Space if we are going to continue to have a thriving civilization… We are in the process of destroying this planet. And we have sent robotic probes to every planet in the solar system- this is the good one. So, we have to preserve this planet. There is no planet like mother earth and the future generation does not have Planet B. Ms. Oladosu believes people should act, not argue or talk. For her, the time for doubt has passed and it is time for action. She is of the view that Nigerian and world leaders are not doing much about climate change and the implementation of Paris Climate Agreement 2016 has not been impressive. Oladosu averred that even though most African leaders have signed the Paris Climate Agreement, it is not enough, it is now time for them to back up their commitments with urgent actions.
In recounting her experience, she said that one day at a meeting, a youth approached her to ask, why do our future depend on taking climate actions as you do tell them about? She went on to explain to the youth about climate change and its impacts on our future. After the end of the discussion, the young girl pledged to join her in fight against climate change in Nigeria. On the 12th weeks of ClimateStrikeNG held in Kwali, Nigeria, two youths Samson and Matthew travelled a long distance with their bicycle to be part of the strike in Kwali. When I had interaction with them they said that if our adults fail to act, we have to push them to act. They thought that their voices cannot be heard until Ms. Oladosu gave them the voice to speak and inspiration to stand up for the climate in their little own ways. They were afraid of the future and what will become of their generation. That, perhaps, is why they have to
come to the strike with their bicycles instead of fossil fuel consuming locomotive machines.
Ms. Oladosu quoting Martin Luther King “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about those things that matter” said that as an eco_feminist, she wish not to be silent about those things that matter to the growth and safety of our world. Feeling angry and ignored by the people who have the power to take action on the climate change crisis, she on 15 March, 2019, organize massive ClimateStrikeNG with pupils, students, teachers, youths and all ages in Abuja. On 12th July being the 34th weeks of the strike, she was with students in Abuja talking about SDGs and climate change. On 13th July 2019, she was booked to speak at a popular program YouthConnectRN at capital FM and was live stream on radionigeria.com. She preached (as she always do) to the youth who are the leaders of tomorrow not to continue to remain passive about an issue that is evidently very critical to their survival and that of our future generation. She went further to say that we African youths cannot afford to fold our arms and do nothing, and it is not equally enough to fast and pray, we the youth across the continent need to sit up and demand for action against climate change. For her, African youths cannot afford to take the backstage in fight for climate change.
In discussing her challenges, Ms. Oladosu points out that being a teacher, climate and gender activist is very stressful but it worth every bit of the energy spent on it. She went further to say that the goal is for us to live a life we ought to live. In her words, at first it was so difficult to mobilize people against climate change and that is why she started the movement alone in Nigeria. Every Friday, I will be at Kuje road Abuja Nigeria and other part of Abuja to mobilize people, she noted. However, she said that people have started to understand the importance of the movement and it is much easier to mobilize people against climate change. Even her fellow teachers have joined her in the climate action.
Ms. Oladosu’s dream for zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission is like none other of her age in Nigeria. On 20th May, 2019 she was recognized among the 12 young people leading climate advocacy global by Global Citizen. What started as a solitary and futile movement in the street of Abuja, Nigeria where majority of Nigerian youths are faced with battle to secure their daily bread, have led to different ClimateStrikes in Nigeria which have awaken the attention of political and business leaders to make efforts in fighting climate change. There are many ClimateStrike billed to take place in different locations in Nigeria from now to the end of the year, all because of the works and courage of this young girl of 25 years of age. Adenike Oladosu (the eco_feminist) is leading the ClimateStrike in Nigeria. She made the note that as days passes by, so does our future draw nearer, thus she is calling on all Nigerian and African youths to join climate justice and it doesn’t matter what course you study or your age, you are not too little to be an agent of climate actions.