Nigeria Climate Action and the Youth Population
Nigeria has a total land area of 983,213 km occupied by about 200 million people. The interaction of these millions of people with their environment has left an indelible mark on the landscape. Urbanization, deforestation, desertification, overpopulation and all kinds of pollution are some of the resultant effects of a human's interaction with his /her environment. These changes occur as the people attempt to acquire their seemingly endless desire for food, shelter, recreation and infrastructural facilities. The hunger and desire for food have overridden every sense of responsibility and care for the source of food (the environment). Environmental degradation is increasing at an alarming rate, and the poorest people in our world are mostly affected. Increased human consumption and demand are fuelling environmental degradation, putting pressure on the world’s scarce natural resources.
Climate change is one of the most problematic and most terrifying issues that the earth is facing right now, hence the need to understand the severity of the situation and try to make it all better.
Most of Nigerian’s population fall between 0-14 years representing 42.54%). This demographic group are not just the future leaders but also the population with the highest tendency of being affected by the terrible effects of climate change. It is amazing to note that this population of persons are the least engaged in the issues of climate (change) action in Nigeria. The subject of climate change is not often discussed in most youth circles and platforms due to poor awareness amongst the age group, this is particularly true as most educational levels do not have themes or topics related to climate change. A student can go through primary to tertiary institutions without any formal education about climate change or its effect except for students whose courses directly deal with the subject. .
The most popular activity when climate action is mentioned is tree planting, unfortunately, most young people do not even understand the reason and need for tree planting or its contribution to climate change mitigation. The main sectors of Nigeria Intended Nationally Determined Contributions is focused on Agriculture, Forest, Energy, Industry and Commerce, Sadly though, these sectors in Nigeria are still based on the traditional path of fossil fuels and activities that increase the risk of climate change. The Youths population are the drivers of the afore-mentioned sectors and contribute more to the problems of climate change through their activities.
Youths globally are known for their strength, creativity and innovations which is capable of changing the narrative of any given society. This is key to any reasonable sustainable climate action mitigation, particularly in Nigeria. Youth inclusiveness will bring about tangible contributions to sustainable climate action in Nigeria; They can deploy their strength, creativity and innovation to create alternative pathways to the existing system that threatens our very existence.
Climate change does not recognise who you are, where you come from or what you have to do to make a living: climate change is out to destroy all men. Hence, the importance of the youth movement in dealing with the issue. Youths need more information, to build more knowledge, to learn what is causing climate change and how youths can adapt. High schools, universities, polytechnics and colleges have a big role to play, climate change must be embedded into curriculums so that students can learn more about its causes and effects. Media, influencers and relevant government agencies also play a key role in educating the youth population on climate change.
Young people are Nigeria’s future; – if they understand more about climate change and its effect on the nation's health, environment and economy, it will motivate them to join their young peers across the world to own the issue and act.
The Youth Climate Movements have become the most reasonable way to have sustainable climate action in Nigeria and Africa. Youths must arise and join the global movements in tackling climate change problems.