BY EMEKA EJERE
Environmental activist, Prince Emeka Obasi (Jnr) has stressed the need for the youth to be actively involved in the global efforts to make the environment more inhabitable as the future belongs to them.
Obasi, who is the founder of Our Tomorrow, a non governmental organisation, with the aim of rallying youth of Africa and other stakeholders in the crusade to save the continent from the ravages of climate change, stated this at a press conference in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He described the struggle against climate change as one of a lifetime, saying “It is a call which I feel honoured to answer.”
“My target is to mobilise the teeming populace of the youths in Africa to achieve a critical mass of climate change advocates, whose voices will resonate loudly and clearly and catalyse positive action. We will use the awesome power of social media to create this unstoppable army and empower their voices in every country in Africa.
Obasi, who highlighted the enormous threat climate change poses to the continued survival of Africa, however, noted that he was confident that the youths of the continent have all it takes to avert the looming climate crisis, hence his decision to take up the responsibility of leading the fight.
“So, it is important that young people become involved in the global effort to ensure that the Earth is in fit and proper condition to make a worthwhile inheritance”, he stated.
“Therefore, the effort to improve the environment should be championed by the youths because the world of tomorrow belongs to us.
“Whereas it is true that today belongs to our fathers and mothers, tomorrow belongs to the children; to us, and what we do today will surely determine the fate of our tomorrow and the fate of those coming after us. Therefore, I have resolved to contribute my own quota towards the global push to create a more sustainable, safer, cleaner and healthier environment for the future by setting up an NGO, ‘Our Tomorrow.'”
According to him, “Our tomorrow has a three point agenda: To wake African youths up to the reality of the existential threat climate change poses to their future;
To sensitize African leaders, both at the government, corporate and non-governmental levels, to heed the clarion call for sustained action against climate change;
To mobilize resources, both material and human, to campaign and create sustained awareness of Africans, especially the youths, on the need to be actively involved in the battle to save the environment for their future and for future generations.”
According to Obasi, whereas it is common knowledge that Africa is confronted by the twin challenge of insecurity and poverty, not many appreciate the extent of the danger climate change poses to the continued survival of the continent, and its role in the already escalating insecurity and food shortage in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa,
“Of course, climate change is the most consequential issue of the 21st century. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that costs associated with climate-change adaptation across Africa could hit $50 billion annually by 2050, even if the global temperature does not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius.
“Africa stands out disproportionately as the most vulnerable region in the world and this vulnerability is driven by the low levels of socioeconomic growth.”
The Nigerian-born British Undergraduate emphasized that there must be conscious efforts by all stakeholders to turn the threat of climate change into a force for good, or the continent will face severe consequences.
“But positive change doesn’t just happen, it does when people take conscious steps to bring it about. Despite all the positives inherent in our circumstance, if we fail to take action, we could have trouble on our hands,” he stated.