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Planting Hope for a Greener Future in Nigeria: Empowering Young Climate Justice Ambassadors

Chris Anulunkor, a long-time Climate Justice Ambassador for Plant-for-the-Planet and chief moderator of the workshop, reports from the academy held at the Federal Ministry of Environment in Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria.

55 selected school children between the ages of 9 to 14, from 3 different schools, were enthusiastic about the Academy on Friday, 26th May 2023. They were eager to learn about the climate crisis, how Plant-for-the-Planet contributes to the fight, and how they too can join the effort.

Upon entering the conference room, they were each provided with the “Tree by Tree” book by Felix and writing materials to take important notes. The Academy commenced at about 10:30 am WAT with a welcome address from Chris Anulunkor, the chief moderator and coordinator of the workshop. This was followed by the kids introducing themselves individually, fostering familiarity between the students from different schools. Shortly after, Chris Anulunkor delivered the first presentation titled “Now we children save the world!”

Breaking down the various thematics elaborately for better understanding, the kids were thought the origin of Plant-for-the-Planet, mission and vision of the foundation, sources of CO2, causes of global warming, photosynthesis, the climate crisis, solutions and global justice. There was a question and answer session after that moderated by a volunteer, Favour Badu, an environmentalist and climate advocate. The new ambassadors were very lively and happy to answer questions thrown at them. Apparently, they learnt a lot from the presentation. The children who answered questions were also given gifts such as calculators and mathematical sets. Others who came close were given extra exercise books.

Understanding Global Climate Inequity: The Eye-Opening ‘World Game’

The kids had a break after this to ease theirselves if they wanted to and then come back to the room for lunch pack. After lunch, the children assembled again to learn about world distribution and global justice in the so called “World Game”. They were made to understand that in our planet, there are different factors that determine equity in the climate crisis such as the world’s population, wealth of nations, carbon emissions, etc. Explaining further, they realised that these resources weren’t evenly distributed and that some nations were more victimzed than the other in the sense that some nations possess majority of the worlds income emitting a huge percentage of carbon to the atmosphere. It simply means that those nations who have abundant capital have the resources to adapt to the climate crisis while the poorer nations suffer the consequences of the emissions of the richer countries. Some of the participants gave suggestions on how to achieve equity after the moderator threw the floor open for thoughts and questions.

Thereafter, the particpiants prepared and presented short passages from the opening presentation they had listened to in the morning. They also had prepared a presentation prior to the Academy day which amazed everyone in attendance. It seemed as they already understood the goal and the mission of making our planet a better place. They were very motivated and hoped to continue to help Plant-for-the-Planet achieve it’s vision.

Planting Trees for a Sustainable Future and Spreading the Message

The chief moderator gave a closing remark, welcoming all the children to the Plant-for-the-Planet family as ambassadors and encouraging them to spread the message to their families and friends back in school. The children were excited as he announced that there would be a tree planting session shortly to kick-start their tree planting journey.

As the kids left the conference room at about 3:50pm, they took group photos and networked with children from other schools. Taking the new ambassadors back to their school, shool after school, atleast 10 economic trees were planted in each school comprising of Gmelina, mangoes, oranges and guava. The children learnt how to plant and transplant trees. They were also taught measures to take to ensure the trees planted were cared for so they can grow and live to full potential. The children also planted trees by theirselves. The children finished the planting event with a magnificent “Stop talking. Start planting” battle cry!

A Heartfelt Thank You from Plant-for-the-Planet

The Academy was made possible thanks to the commitment and technical support of the Federal ministry of environment and the Universal Basic Education Board Nigeria. Special thanks goes to the Plant-for-the-Planet Programme Coordinator, Chris Anulunkor and other volunteers, Nwankwo John, Favour Badu and Zikora Chukwuweta who helped with the organisation and transfer of knowledge. A huge thanks also to the teachers who accompanied the kids to the Academy venue and back to their schools guiding them through the event.