Don advocates for Improve public advocacy, awareness to combat environmental degradation - THE LIVING GUIDE

Don advocates for Improve public advocacy, awareness to combat environmental degradation

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By Lekan Lisoye

The need to improve information dissemination and access, and public awareness and understanding of the impacts of climate change to all strata of the society has been identified as a major step to combat environmental degradation in the country.

Also, lack of adequate information on the effects of climate change and its effects has been considered to be one of the key constraints encountered by Nigerians in adapting to climate change in the country.

A Professor of Geography and Regional Planning, Olabisi Onabanjo University, TPL, Professor Bamidele Abiona Badejo said these in Abeokuta while delivering his lecture at the 2021 Sanyaolu Memorial Lecture with the theme, Climate Change and Environmental Degradation in Nigeria : The Nexus of Advocacy,  Public Engagement and Enlightenment, put together by the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Ogun State chapter, held at Providence Events Center, Abeokuta.

Professor Badejo said there is a pressing need to improve information dissemination and access, and public awareness and understanding of the impacts of climate change to all strata of the society.

"This includes access to information regarding historical climate, projections of future climate change, potential impacts, causes of vulnerability, technologies and measures for managing climate risks, and the know- how for implementing these technologies".

He urged national agencies charged with managing environmental issues, like National Emergency Management Agency, to double their efforts and raise more awareness through radio, newspapers and television in addition to on the ground contacts with vulnerable people

"In order to integrate climate change adaptation into every aspect of national life, Nigerians must have awareness and knowledge – and access to knowledge – of what climate change is, how it is impacting them and how they can adapt.

"They also need to be equipped with specialised skills to enable individuals, communities and the country to address climate change risks and implement adaptation.

"It is necessary to strengthen climate change knowledge architecture in Nigeria to reach policy-makers, community-based organisations, students and researchers, who are in the frontline of delivering adaptation projects.

"Information and knowledge sharing must be made accessible to a wide range of people, particularly indigenous people should also be incorporated within climate change oriented organisations to enable local people and farmers to have a sense of belonging".

He also charged stakeholders in the education system such as academics, researchers, teachers, students, school administrators and policy-makers to have a key role to play in national programmes to achieve the goal of public awareness of climate change

"Nigerian children are not yet properly educated on these issues and thus do not have sufficient knowledge on the risks and impacts of climate change or how to deal with situations caused by climate change.

He also called for the integration climate change issues into educational curricula.

"Teacher training and the provision of adequate equipment should be provided to give students the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding that they need to be educated citizens and to manage their own local environments.

"Climate change education should also become an integral part of the university system, as part of the general studies curriculum and through modules on environmental issues. This could contribute to increasing environmental consciousness among students and young Nigerians in general."

Earlier in his welcome address, Surveyor Ademola Adebowale,  Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Ogun State chapter, said the annual  Sanyaolu lecture is to celebrate Late Adefemi Sanyaolu who was a Surveyor, Scientist and a world acclaimed researcher who invented mathematical theories that has helped to solve some surveying and mathematical problems.

"His research works were published in the Canadian Surveyor Journal of June 1978.Vol.23 No 2, and have helped to promote quick and easy method for area calculation in mathematics and surveying.

"He was a former Chairman of NIS, Ogun State branch, former Surveyor General of the State and former  Principal of Federal School of Surveying, Oyo.

"His lifetime activities and achievements are being remembered today through this memorial lecture which was instituted in 1986.

"Today, we are celebrating this iconic Surveyor not for his wealth and being famous, but for services rendered to humanity. Let us not forget that all us will be remembered for what we have done. But the mentality of what to gain, grab and get contrary to services to render and what to give and contribute is the bane of society today".

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