LSE alumna Delphine Pedeboy spoke to fellow 2013 LSE-UCT July School participant, Akindeji Falaki about his drive to change his country’s environmental landscape for the better.
Falaki is an agricultural extension professional in Abuja, Nigeria. He currently works as Principal Program Officer on Climate Change and the Environment with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), a forward-looking organisation specialising in public awareness and mobilisation for socio-economic transformation in Nigeria.
Could you give us a picture of the environment scene in Nigeria?
Interest in the environment is growing in Nigeria. People are certainly beginning to appreciate the all-important role of the environment in keeping the world going. I would say that the 2012 flooding which brought almost two-thirds of the states in Nigeria to a standstill was a watershed moment. Reports say that 363 people lost their lives, more than two million were displaced with a total of seven million people affected in some way especially women and children. Nigeria lost US$16 billion to the flood. That was a national disaster. It became a clarion call for relevant government agencies, civil society organisations and the general public to pay attention to natural disasters triggered by climate change and our unsustainable interaction with the environment.
What kind of environmental challenges do Nigerians face?
The real challenge for the average person, with which I wrestle as an environmental communicator, is connecting our daily routine at home and work with its environmental impact. This is an area in which we are campaigning for change. When an individual wastes water, energy, food, paper, cuts down trees, burns bushes, s/he is leaving her/his environmental footprint and over time, s/he pays for it. This message needs to get to people irrespective of their class or clan, and especially to people at the grassroots level. Continue reading