THE BIRTH OF the Paris Agreement in 2015 brought about the compiling of NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) by various countries every five years. The NDCs are stated goals that a particular country hope to achieve over a period regarding the environment and while Nigeria has submitted ambitious NDCs during this timeframe, the goals being stated are far from being implemented.
“The NDCs are stated goals that a particular country hope to achieve over a period regarding the environment… There is a large disconnect between these goals and the grassroots that are essential to carry them out”
There is a large disconnect between these goals and the grassroots that are essential to carry them out. It’s a case where the masses are oblivious to climate action and the processes that are used to manage it, while the Government who are equipped with the funds and resources do little or nothing to bridge this gap. It is a reversal of the saying “Charity begins at home.” Here, the home is in disarray due to a lack of knowledge.
In the updated NDC, the Nigeria government aims to:
Reduce four greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O),
Reducing emissions of carbon by 20% below normal levels by 2030, and Increase contributions to the waste sector, among others,
However, it is hampered by slow progress, the red tape of bureaucracy and unfulfilled policies, there is a vast need to involve individual local communities in order to move forward in carrying out these projects. The local community is invaluable as a source for passing down information, as the inhabitants would carry out the work with a sense of belonging while being aware of what is happening in their environment.
IMAGINE A SCENARIO where Bolanle reads a recycling flier distributed in her neighbourhood that shows the effects of the accumulation of plastic bottles in her surroundings, then the Government provides collection spots for these used non-biodegradable products alongside some rewards for those who recycle large quantities at a time. Bolanle is motivated to begin recycling and starts to package huge amounts of plastic bottles, metal cans, nylons, etc. and send them to the collection spots. Tunde, Bolanle’s friend would see her doing these actions and begin to emulate them, starting up a chain of events in that community. This is one of the many instances that point out that the mitigation/reduction of the effects of climate action would be a long-term change when the local communities are used as catalysts to drive the process.
“The local community is invaluable as a source for passing down information, as the inhabitants would carry out the work with a sense of belonging while being aware of what is happening in their environment”
However, sensitization of these communities has to be carried out in different ways; the media should be employed by the Government in varying capacities such as the distribution of handbills, flyers which are written both in English and native languages, radio stations should have programs that focus on climate change and how to tackle it.
Schools and religious societies in that community should hold dramas and plays that talk about the dangerous effects of climate action in the environment while using local experiences to make it relatable to the masses watching or listening.
Cultivating interactive sessions between the teams that are informing the masses about climate change and the masses themselves will lead to both parties being enlightened about where the important problems are and would also point out the appropriate solutions.