In a bid to reduce the increased global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°( 2015 Paris Agreement) and for countries to ensure a phase-down of coal power and a phase-out of “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies (COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact), World leaders gathered in Egypt from November 6th, 2022 to November 18th for the United Nations Climate Summit known as COP 27 (Conference of the parties) to build upon the COP26 conclusions to achieve action on a variety of issues crucial to addressing the climate emergency, from meeting promises to finance climate action in developing nations to urgently lowering greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening resilience (UN).
As a result, The Sapphires Development Initiative (TSDI) through the STEMXX Nigeria Project taught 100 rural secondary school girls in 10 schools in 3 southwestern communities in Nigeria about the changing climate. Oluwaferanmi, one of the climate change instructors at one of the selected schools in Oyo State reiterated that “ it is of utmost importance for climate education to be introduced in the school curriculum as the students were completely ignorant of the changing climate at the beginning of the class. This is a major tool in combating climate crisis”.
The students were taught about global warming using various relatable examples such as covering their noses with nylon while covering the nylon tight for air not to penetrate. This led to most of them not being able to breathe well at a particular point in time. This was used to explain how greenhouse gases are been trapped in the atmosphere leading to global warming. Greenhouse gases were listed and explained to the students.
Also, an explanation from the manual guide used in teaching the student reads, “What happens when you are cold and someone covers you with a blanket? You feel warm. What if the blanket keeps increasing? You get so warm till you can not bear it. That’s exactly what happens to our Planet Earth. All these simplified Climate Change explanations were used in teaching the student.
At the end of the class, tree-planting exercises were carried out in the different schools. The instructors taught the students about the importance of tree planting and its relevance to reducing the climate crisis. Trees serve as a storage device as they help sequestrate carbon, the most abundant greenhouse gas.
They also help to regulate temperature by cooling hot metropolitan areas. They remove dangerous pollutants and dust from the air and help enhance the quality of the air we breathe. They emit oxygen and lessen the quantity of stormwater runoff which lessens erosion and pollution. Trees are very important for providing homes for our fauna. 20 seedlings of Hildegardia barteri, Almond spp, Tectona grandis and Gmelina arborea were planted by the students and supervised by their instructors.
The rural adolescents cleared the land removing weeds, nylon or any non-biodegradable waste from the selected portion of land. After then, the girls dug a broad shallow planting hole to place the seedling in the selected moist soil area. The girls carefully transplanted the seedling into the hole supporting the soil side with their hands to avoid crushing or dropping the plant. They gently tamp down the soil around the seedling to ensure contact between the seedling’s roots and the soil. The soil was soaked around the seedling immediately to eliminate air pockets and reduce the shock of transplanting. The soil bed was kept moist by wetting it.
The girls were so excited and energetic knowing that they are contributing their quota to combating the climate crisis. They learnt about the other ways of contributing to the changing climate which include the 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), avoiding playing with fires, increased walking, biking or the use of public transport, appropriate garbage disposal, turning off the lights when not in use e.t.c.
Learning about the International level of combating climate change (which includes the Paris Agreement, Glasgow Climate Pact and ) COP27 being held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the students through the use of placards and their voices sent messages to world leaders demanding Climate Justice. The messages include:
As the motto of the STEMXX Nigeria Project,
“engineering social change in our communities”,
the girls are determined to ensure the climate crisis is solved to reduce the impact on their education and their lives. Ending their statement, they said,
“There is no Planet B, we demand that world leaders take action and be accountable during and beyond the COP 27”. #TOGETHER4TRANSPARENCY
For more discussions amongst youth in developing countries on COP 27, The Sapphires Development Initiative organized a webinar that will bring at least 120 youths from 10 countries to discuss and disseminate the findings of COP27 to youth stating clearly their roles in solving the climate crisis on the 26th of November, 2022. The program will review and analyse the outcomes of COP27 and the action plans.
For more information and the link to webinar registration;
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