“Seven Billion People.
Consume with Care.”
“By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.” – UNEP Statement
World Environment Day (WED), organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is celebrated every June 5th, and this year was no different. Italy was the host country this year (as part of EXPO 2015) and a variety of programmes and activities have taken.are taking place worldwide. WED is a time for the world to sit back and take notice of the world we live in. And beyond simply taking notice, defining actions and policies that will help the world, especially our environment, become a wholesome, safe place to live in.
All over the world, songs were released, talks were held, competitions were organised for students, exhibitions took place (check out the UNEP global roundup here). What happened in Lagos? The event is listed on the Lagos Ministry of Environment (MOE) website as an annual event, but there weren’t any details specifically for this year (I checked). According to a press release by the MOE events were supposed to take place in Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe. According to the Guardian there was a road walk led by Mrs Fatima Mede, Permanent Secretary to the ministry. And Nigeria’s specific theme this year is “Management of Sustainable Environmental Development“. Oh and there was an event where Ini Edo (actress) was named Eko Ambassador. Not quite sure what that is about, but it’s definitely connected to WED 2015.
I believe in the African context, definitely in the Nigerian context, the discourse on sustainability needs to expand. It needs to expand beyond being a catchphrase for some academic, and high-level professional circles into becoming a tangible force in the lives of every Nigerian/Lagosian. Sustainability needs to be taught to children in schools, and become a part of our consciousness – a way of life. We have a long way to go. The thing is the average Nigerian is to caught up with so many other worries. I remember a Nigerian tweeting about Earth Hour in March this year – saying how living in Nigeria with constant power outages was already s pre-service to Earth Hour (see below).
I grew up in Nigeria, I've done my quota. So NO RT @MetroUK: People are turning off ALL electricity tonight for Earth hour.Will you?
— Dotun Olusoga (@DotunOlusoga) March 28, 2015
So you can see. And it’s sort of understandable. But Lagos really needs to begin to pay special attention to these issues. With our population and rate of urbanisation, sustainable development is becoming, more and more, the only viable option moving forward.
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This year I haven’t been able to participate as I would have wanted. I would have liked to organise some sort of awareness programme or at the very least have participated in the Lagos one, but I haven’t been feeling my best. Next year I hope. Did you do something or attend a programme? You can register your activity here and share in the comments below.
Èkó ò ní bàjé!
Side Note: Worthy of mention is this Australian band called Formidable Vegetable Sound System who are trying to make music that will literally change the word. I found our about them on the UNEP website and was quite taken by their approach. Check out their website and YouTube channel. There are some interesting ideas on there. The video at the top of this post is theirs and was sponsored by the UNEP.