Ayeni Faith Damilola is Coordinator of Fridays for Future Nigeria and a fearsome environmental columnist.
Like other young climate activists, including Helena Guaringa and Mya Rose Craig, the 25-year-old is convinced of the connection between exploitative economic policy and spiralling climate change. “I wonder why we still pursue eternal economic growth that devastates the environment in the face of an existential crisis that has given us just a few years’ notice,” he writes on Twitter.
His online climate activism is similarly pointed, with another tweet reading: “the science says millions of West Africans are already in hell. Do you care? Please, do something about the changing climate.”
Damilola posts that floods have forced schools in Ondo State in Nigeria to close, school records to be lost, houses to be submerged. Similarly, he comments extensively on the lack of access to clean water and on stunted political developments, such as one branch of the Nigerian parliament’s decision to ignore a law banning the importation of plastic bags to Nigeria.
In his day job as a columnist for the Herald Nigeria, Damilola writes that “no country needs climate justice more than Nigeria. I mean we’ve LOST a very large lake already, and millions have LOST their means of livelihood.” His socio-economic analysis of one of the biggest environmental tragedies this past century — the almost total desertification of Lake Chad, once one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world — is as cutting as it is illuminating.
“The once very enchanting ecosystem became pale, and the flourishing economy slumped,” he writes. He notes how the starving farmers and fisherman, previously sustained by the lake, were thrown South, perhaps becoming “the very first set of Boko Haram insurgents ever recruited” and setting off herder farmer conflicts that have killed over 2,000 people.
“Lake Chad was a victim of environmental mismanagement from within and without the borders of Nigeria. For this or that reason, we are part of its shrinkage and now, we are licking fingers.”
Damilola is also Programme Manager for the Green Global Environmental Network.
“The Environment is not an inheritance from our forefathers, but a loan from our children,” he quotes on his LinkedIn page.Tags: Activism, Climate crisis, Nigeria