WHEN STAKEHOLDERS DRAW JOURNALISTS’ ATTENTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
BusinessDay Media Training Workshop on Effective Reporting on Climate Change sponsored by British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATF) was supposed to be a training. But as each speaker took turns to mount the podium, the session became more of a motivational talk aimed at getting the over 20 participating journalists to tell Nigerians that the earth was being abused.
The first speaker, Desmond Majekodunmi, who is becoming a totem of earth-friendly living, spoke on the ways green house gasses (water vapour, methane, nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide) are released into the atmosphere via refrigeration gasses, smoke from cars’ exhaust pipes and industries, cutting down trees for cooking among other things and gas flaring.
According to Majekodunmi, “These gasses absorb infrared radiation, trap and hold heat in the atmosphere, with the resultant global warming, melting of Arctic ice and the permafrost. This is how ocean surge and tsunami happen”.
He said journalists can draw attention to the Climate Change Bill, demand accountability on all ecological funds, campaign against deforestation, which leads to derived savannah and “fight” beach sand mining and sea shell removal.
For Professor Chidi Ibe, a geologist, geochemist and oceanographer, co-operation between journalists and smallholder (rural) farmers he described as first responders, will do much. He said smallholder farmers, who provide about 90 percent of Nigeria’s agricultural produce, possess an indigenous knowledge of climate change and adaptation methods, which journalists can bring to the notice of policy makers.
Professor Ibe said there was need for solution-based reportage by a vibrant, proactive and inquisitive media to replace a lethargic, bureaucratic and tourism-minded “extension stories”, pointing out that the fight for a better climate, could be won and lost in the media.
Dr. Titi Anibaba, General Manager, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency, LASPARK’s speech was more of a motherly appeal. She said Surulere, Lagos, once had 15 recreational parks, adding that with the oil boom era, trees made way for houses, and today only one of such parks had been salvaged.
Anibaba said each person produces about three tonnes of carbon monoxide annually, which needs 96 to 500 matured trees to sequestrate— take in and utilise to give off oxygen that is man’s breath.
Every of the speakers drove home their messages with graphic images of the devastation man has visited on mother nature from the floods and disappearing beaches of Lagos to the beautifully-named but devastating tsunamis of the Americas, and from Asia to the melting ice of the North Pole.
The singular objective the speakers was to make journalist realise their place in sealing the craters man has created in the ozone layer. As Professor Ibe puts it, “tell Nigerians that we either adapt or perish.”
As Mr. Jude Ndu, Manager, BusinessDay Training, passed round the programme and speakers’ assessment forms for participants to fill, BATNF’s General Manager, Abimbola O. gave a short speech on the foundation’s activities.
The question and answer session turned to time for sober reflection, as the editors, reporters, broadcasters and cameramen spoke about the challenges of doing climate change stories.
However, these were challenges they pledged to take beyond outside the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, hall, venue of the training.
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August 27, 2018