Oladosu Adenike. “Climate action has just begun”.

Oladosu grew up in Nigeria, where she is a country ambassador for Fridays for Future, Earth Uprising and African Youth Climate Hub.

“My journey into the environmental movement started when I gained admission to study agricultural economics. Though I had heard about climate change before, I only realised that we were living through a climate crisis when I started studying in an area which is one of the most vulnerable to climate change in Nigeria.” 

“I saw farmers and herdsmen fighting because their land is becoming more arid. It took me an extra year to finish studying because of the fighting. I saw communities who had never faced flooding having their farm lands swept away, and I lost my puppies during a heatwave unlike anyone had experienced before.”

 “I visit communities, schools, religious places and public places to speak to people about the climate crisis and how important environmental justice can be for their communities. I encourage people to plant trees and educate their peers.”

“It does not matter what race, sex, tribe, country or age anyone is. Everyone can get involved in the fight for climate justice. What matters most is where we are going and what we want to achieve.”

“In Africa and Nigeria, campaigning on climate justice and bringing people together to act and speak can be difficult and frustrating. But we move on and on and slowly our message is being listened to by a larger audience.”

Oladosu believes Nigerian leaders are not serious about climate change; saying reading the 2018 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was “disturbing to me; I have to take action because it is about my future and the future of other young people like me. We have to demand for urgent action from them. It is our right; we deserve to live in a healthy and egalitarian planet!”

It was the IPCC`s report which has been described as “the largest clarion bell from the scientific community” that inspired Oladosu to join the #FridayForForture movement. Last year in March she mobilized over 800 youths from across three Nigerian states – Lagos, Kaduna, and Cross-Rivers – and the Federal Capital Territory to protest for climate action, on the occasion of the 1st Global Climate Strike Week. Through the campaign, she aimed to enhance the Nigerian public’s understanding of climate change, on one hand, and inspire the government to take action on the climate crisis, on another hand.

“We have less than 12 years from now to take immediate action on the climate crisis. If we fail to do so by 2050, we are heading to a path of no return – our species are in danger, food production will decline and it can result in famine. Climate change is like a time-bomb,” says Oladosu, an unrepentant optimist in the potency of youth-power in tackling climate change. “As youths, we are a powerful force and our actions can make a huge difference. Thus, I am calling on young people to come out en-masse and demand for [urgent] climate action from [African] leaders. It is happening all over the world, youths have the power to influence many things and make our leaders listen to us.”

If she is not leading climate action protests in Nigerian cities, Oladosu could be found engaging rural dwellers in communities not very far away from Abuja: educating them on the dangers of indiscriminate falling down of trees  and bush burning to the environment as well as the consequences of climate change. “I found that many people including university graduates didn’t know what climate change was about; after I engaged them they were able to understand that climate change was real and happening.”

Although Africa contributes a mere 4% of global carbon emissions, global warming remains a major threat to life on the continent with devastating negative consequences on natural and human resources hence the need for African leaders to take urgent action against the climate crisis including living up to commitments they signed on to under the Paris Agreement. Africa must begin to build climate-resilient communities and sustainable agricultural food systems.

“Most African leaders have signed the Paris Climate Agreement; now it is time for our leaders to back up their commitments with urgent actions. Most times, our leaders don’t take immediate actions – not until things have gone beyond control. As the days pass by, we are approaching 2050 – a point of no return – and the elastic limit of climate action. We must act now!” averred Oladosu, for whom, the fight for climate action has just begun!