Renewable energy solution to environmental pollution – Group

Supreme Desk
2 Dec 2022 9:52 AM GMT
Renewable energy solution to environmental pollution – Group
Bassey said that the Niger Delta region, Nigeria, and the world at large would be free from environmental and climate change challenges if they invested more in renewable energy.

Non-governmental organizations under the aegis of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Albert Einstein Institution, and Right Livelihood College have said that investment in renewable energy would end environmental pollution worldwide.

The group made this known on Thursday during the 2022 8th Right Livelihood College Lecture on Environment, tagged "Environment, War, and the Global Energy System," in Port Harcourt, Rivers.

Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, the Executive Director of HOMEF, said that the theme of the lecture was very appropriate because of the very close connection between the state of the environment and society.

Bassey said that the Niger Delta region, Nigeria, and the world at large would be free from environmental and climate change challenges if they invested more in renewable energy.

"Nigeria as a country shouldbegin to invest more in renewable energy, where we don't need to buy petrol, diesel, or kerosene and use natural resources like the sun, the wind, the heat in the air, or the waves of the ocean.

"This is where we should invest our resources, and that is the future of energy in the world."

"We have a lot of wars being fought over resources; Africa is now a focus for extraction of fossil fuel, and that means that we can expect more conflicts on the African continent," he said.

According to him, the lecture on nonviolent resistance is to help the people understand the various ways to creatively protest against harmful activities.

He said the lecture also offered avenues to creatively prepare to build resilience and capacity to withstand harmful activities and to prepare people for their liberty.

He said the lectures were organized in a university setting for students to appreciate that their education did not end in classrooms.

"Rather, these exercises help them broaden their vision to see what is happening elsewhere in the world and to generally stand up for what is right," he said.

According to Bassey, the kind of energy source we pursue affects the kind of actions that happen in our environment.

"So we have to hold accountable the companies that pollute our environment and blame our communities for the damage," Bassey said.

According to him, oil needs not be drilled more anywhere in Nigeria or Africa because a lot of the resources extracted in Africa are meant for export.

"Even in natural gas, 89 percent of the infrastructure for natural gas extraction in Africa is for exports."

"If oil is found in commercial quality in the Northern Nigeria, as they begin to drill the oil, definitely the environment will be polluted and they will start facing environmental health and livelihood challenges like seen in the Niger Delta region.

"We don't want anyone else or any other region to suffer environmental degradation like we are suffering in the Niger Delta," Bassey said.

Similarly, Jamila Raqib, the Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution in the United States, urged communities to protect their environment and protest against human pollution.

Raqib urged governments to use their power positively to affect changes in climate change globally.

According to Raqib, the government should think about what it teaches the younger generation and how that can protect and impact human lives globally.

Raqib, during her presentation, gave two examples that were very significant.

One was a blank paper protest in China, where people protested with placards without any writing on them or violence, so it can be ridiculous to arrest someone protesting without violence.

She also gave an instance of the issue of Ghandi's salt protest in India, where people protested for their right to produce salt with the local people.

Raqib urged people to be resilient in the face of policies that would affect their livelihoods, education, and ability to defend their communities and environment.

Prof. Owunari Georgewill,Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, said that the lecture was part of the livelihood college series of public lectures held over the years since the university signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Right Livelihood Award Foundation in Sweden and HOMEF in Nigeria, respectively.

Georgewill, represented by Prof. Fidelix Alen of the Department of Political and Administrative Studies, said that the lecture's theme was crucial.

"It's meant to think about problems of extreme violence and how it contributes to other problems, especially energy insecurity and environmental problems, especially climate change."

Alen, who is the Coordinator of the Rights Livelihood College in Port Harcourt, said that the threat of conflict in the world had increased recently, adding that the war between Ukraine and Russia also contributed to energy insecurity globally.

According to Alen, the lecture is part of university culture to engage in the issue and provide a platform for students and colleagues to talk about these problems and suggest ways of dealing with them at the sub-national and international level.

Alen said that the environmental problems in the Niger Delta region were systemic and driven by economic development models that have been adopted over the years.

According to him, Nigeria has focused on economic growth, and the strategies for bringing about change through economic growth do not consider the environment as a crucial factor.

"When development is defined without environment, its usually not development,what we are seeing over the years is more money from the environment at the expense of the integrity of the environment,

"If we can think about development holistically in terms of how the Niger Delta, swamps, and rivers can be preserved; if we can think about modest economic development and the non-oil sector as drivers of economic growth and development, it may be better for us."

"What we need is an approach that will take incremental steps away from fossil fuels, which is important for our environment," he said.

Next Story