Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State has lunched the Climate Change Action Project, which is sponsored by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), United Kingdom.
The project seeks to create awareness in Ebonyi State, being one the most vulnerable states in Nigeria that are already experiencing negative impacts of climate change such as unprecedented degrees of flooding, erosion, irregular pattern of rain and distribution and increased heat, among others.
Declaring the 2- day workshop open, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Sunday Elom said the workshop is coming at a time when the world is facing the adverse effects of Climate change, adding that varying climate change impacts have been identified in different parts of the world based on topography and other factors.
He also stated that while some aspects of climate change are natural, the world’s scientists have long established that the bulk of the Green House Gas Emissions responsible for climate change comes from human activities associated with economic growth.
Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Abel Ezeoha, the Vice-Chancellor said that the “the Campus-in-a-garden” vision of the University is a very strong indication of its resolve to support actions that are needed to mitigate the adverse effect of climate change, adding that the University has planted over 30,000 trees under the initiative in the past five years and has plans to plant about 1,000 timber trees that will not only yield enormous financial resources in the next 20 years but also help in combating climate change.
He therefore congratulated the Project Coordinator, Dr. Chinwe Ogunji for securing the ACU fellowship grant which led to the commencement of the AE-FUNAI Climate Change Action Project, and promised to ensure that the Directorate of Campus-Green-Initiative works closely with her to deliver the University’s Green Vision in Ebonyi State by setting examples in the twenty Secondary schools participating in the project.
While delivering her opening remarks at the event, the project coordinator, Dr. Ogunji said that Climate Change is empirically documented as one of the biggest development facing the world, and has become a household name on the lips of everyone, stating that no nation is exempted as the biggest threats are often borne in communities that are struggling with other aspects of human development challenges due to poverty and their weak capacity to adapt.
She noted that the integration of secondary school teachers as part of the project is to saddle them with the responsibility of raising awareness about climate change among male and female junior secondary school teachers of science and non-science background in Ebonyi State.
She further emphasized that sensitization on the causes, impact, adaptation and mitigation of climate change has not been sufficiently done in the state, thus the involvement of the educational sector as important functions are expected to be performed by schools as harbingers of knowledge in order to improve the climate Literacy of teachers, students and the public in general.
Delivering the keynote speech themed “Engaging A Critical Mass Of Change Agents For Climate Action”, Dr Katherine Nnamani, harped on the need to adapt to climate change by highlighting some of the remedies to the effect of the environmental menace to include; dramatic reduction of global carbon emissions, preparedness for the significant and unavoidable consequences of carbon emissions such as increasing temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, ocean acidification, sea level rise and the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events and increase resilience of communities in promoting new farming techniques.
She pointed out other possible solutions to climate change as community weather monitoring and creating seed banks, reduced forest destruction and degradation and protect wildlife, and studying the vulnerability of forests to climate change and exploring ways to help them adapt.
Participants at the programme include twenty secondary school teachers selected from three educational zones in Ebonyi State and others.
Highlight of the event was tree planting by the participants to support the Campus-Green Initiative of the University, geared towards combating climate change.