BusinessDay
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Why Nigerian youths need climate change education

Despite the devastating effects of climate change on the ecosystem, a large number of Nigerian youth population still does not have a clear understanding of issues of climate science and global warming.

Introducing climate change literacy in Nigeria’s school will not only create a fundamental role in helping youths understand climate change and its science, it will help in triggering innovations that will proffer solutions to climate risks.

“Without adequate understanding of climate change Nigerian youths cannot create innovative businesses that are climate resilience,” said Innocent Azih, chief operating officer of Carbon Exchange during an interview with BusinessDay at a side event at the ongoing COP25.

“We need to introduce climate change education especially for the young people and small businesses to understand the sustainability concept as well as ensuring we key into the carbon market,” Azih said.

Climate literacy, which should by now be universal, lags in Nigeria’s schools despite it promises large returns for a relatively small investment.

Nigeria has a population of 200 million people, with youths accounting for more than half of the total population, according to a UN report.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation has a youth unemployment problem. Its unemployment rate stood at 23.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018, with youth unemployment at 55.4 percent, a report from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics states.

Experts say with adequate climate change understanding, the youths can tap opportunities in the green space to create jobs.

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general, United Nations during his remarks at the ongoing COP25 event on Climate Action for Jobs said that the low-carbon economy represents a $26trillion growth opportunity that could create 65 million new jobs by 2030.

“Today, the fastest-growing job creators in several economies are those related to solar, wind and geothermal energy and related businesses,” Guterres said.

“The green economy is the economy of the future and we need to make way for it right now,” he added.

Climate change experts say the Nigerian youths can tap for the $26trillion growth economy by leverage the opportunity to create solutions and wealth.

Africa’s biggest economy currently has an estimated power gap of $200billion, an agricultural waste of 40percent and 200 million people creating waste that is not recycled.

With the youths providing solutions to address these issues, Nigeria will be able to create new jobs and scale opportunities in the green economy.

Currently, the country has two Universities and three secondary schools that have climate change accredited teachers that have been trained under the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and eduCCate Global programme.

But to see tremendous impact, the country has to scale its numbers of accredited teachers and introduce climate change to its schools’ curriculum.

“There are most definitely plans to scale up in Africa, we’re working hard to push the program out and with various governments and countries in Africa too,” said Tim Collins eduCCate Team.

Globally, youth climate activist like 16 years old Greta Thunberg is changing the global discourse of climate change when she burst onto the scene two years ago.

The shift from climate change talk to action caught everyone by surprise and now local and national governments are declaring a climate emergency.

Greta and other youth climate activists can make demands from global leaders owing to their indebt knowledge of climate change, but this is not the case of the Nigerian youths as many of them lack climate change knowledge.

 

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