The overarching goal of this impactful project is to raise widespread awareness about the pressing issues of air pollution, deforestation, and climate change that are affecting Enugu, a vibrant city nestled in the southeastern part of Nigeria. Additionally, the project seeks to emphasize the pivotal role that urban greening can play in effectively addressing these complex challenges. An equally important aspect of the project is to empower and equip young and aspiring climate leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge to become adept and influential advocates for meaningful climate action.
This multifaceted project will engage young climate leaders in a comprehensive training program centred around two pivotal themes: urban air pollution and urban greening’s integral contribution to combating climate change and air pollution in urban centres. A particularly impactful component of this initiative involves hands-on air quality measurements, providing these young leaders with tangible and real-world data illustrating the city’s current air quality status. In a synergistic approach, the project will encompass tree planting activities strategically carried out within Enugu. Furthermore, these newly trained climate advocates will conduct enlightening sessions in three secondary schools, effectively raising awareness about the interconnectedness of climate change, air pollution, and urban green spaces.
The driving force behind this endeavour is a steadfast commitment to spotlighting the critical challenges of air pollution, deforestation, and climate change in Enugu. Equally compelling is the aspiration to nurture and empower the next generation of climate advocates, equipping them with knowledge and skills that will propagate the project’s mission far into the future.
Enugu City, the picturesque capital of Enugu State in Nigeria’s Southeast region, forms the epicentre of this project. With its idyllic hilly landscape and cherished reputation for serenity and charm, Enugu has unfortunately been witnessing a gradual erosion of its natural beauty due to unregulated urban development, population growth, and an influx of polluting vehicles.
The blueprint of this project encompasses several key activities:
- Selecting and training a cohort of 15 young climate leaders through a competitive process.
- An intensive two-day training curriculum covering the scientific underpinnings of climate change and air pollution, as well as effective climate advocacy and communication strategies.
- Conducting air quality measurements in collaboration with the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the University of Nigeria's Enugu campus.
- Tree planting initiatives in carefully chosen locations across Enugu, fostering tangible change within the cityscape.
- Engaging with three secondary schools to deliver impactful climate education sessions and plant trees, cultivating a culture of environmental stewardship among students.
- Culminating the project with a high-impact visit to the city administration, highlighting the achievements and advocating for prioritization of urban greening and climate action.
Project Benefits and Outputs
The project endeavors to achieve significant outcomes:
- Amplify awareness regarding air pollution, deforestation, and climate change within Enugu.
- Equip and empower 15 young climate advocates who will perpetuate the project's influence through their actions and education.
- Foster climate, air quality, and urban greening education within three schools, nurturing a generation of informed and motivated future leaders.
- Enhance urban green spaces and air quality through tree planting in three schools and three city locations, benefiting the entire community, students, policymakers, and the environment.
- Foster recognition and knowledge among young environmental leaders, deepening their understanding of urban greening's role in combating climate change and air pollution.
The inspiration for this initiative arose from encounters in Salt Lake City, Utah, where interactions with dedicated organizations tackling air pollution underscored the importance of effective advocacy. This insight was further solidified by experiences in Portland, Oregon, emphasizing the significance of urban parks and climate education. A visit to Miami showcased grassroots efforts in environmental cleanup.
- Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP):A registered NGO in Nigeria, serving as a driving force in local climate change solutions.
- Center for Climate Change and Development:Housed at Alex Ekwueme University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, this esteemed institution is committed to elevating research, policy guidance, and learning in environmental sustainability and green development.
- Eco-Cyclers:A dynamic, youth-led social enterprise located in Enugu State, actively involved in waste management, recycling, tree planting, clean-up advocacy, and environmental sustainability.
The visionary leader behind this transformative project is Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, who will expertly coordinate all aspects of the initiative. Additionally, partner organizations will offer crucial support in various capacities, including recruitment, logistical arrangements, publicity, school liaisons, and coordinating with city administration.