By Edu Abade
As part of activities to mark its 10th year anniversary, the Home of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) today begins its maiden edition of what will be an annual conference aimed at advancing environmental justice in Nigeria and the African continent.
This stemmed from its realisation that for centuries, the African environment has been exploited and plundered recklessly to the detriment of the millions of peoples whose livelihood depends on it.
In recent decades, extractivism and climate change has led to unfolding threats of ecological collapse -seen in raging storms, droughts, flooding in some areas, soil degradation, loss of biodiversity and more.
To curtail the trend, organisations such as HOMEF, working with communities, CSOs, policy makers and others have fought to expose the root of the crises and have strenuously campaigned for environmental Justice in Nigeria and across the continent.
In the last one decade, HOMEF has pushed for socio-ecological transformation in impacted communities, territories, and nations. With the vision for a world where humans and other beings live in harmony with Nature, HOMEF has stood against exploitation without responsibility and against the expansion of sacrificial zones in vulnerable communities.
Through her core thematic areas, the ecological think tank has continued to push for environmental justice for front line communities who bear the disproportionate burden of climate change, and from the activities of the big polluters.
To mark ten years of dedicated activism, the ecological think tank is organising a conference with the theme: Advancing Environmental Justice in Africa.
The gathering brings together rights activists, scholars, experts, writers, traditional as well as political and faith leaders to unpack the multi- sectoral roots of the crisis.
Topics to be examined include Environmental Governance, Environmental Justice for a Resilient Africa and our Trusteeship Duties over Creation. The critical place of cultural tools in solving our ecological problems will be dissected under “Arts, Culture and the Environment.”
For 10 years HOMEF has remained focused on the advancement of the campaigns on climate change, food sovereignty as well as knowledge generation and sharing. In line with its being an ecological think tank, the organisation has consistently published a quarterly not-for-profit magazine, the Eco Instigator.
A selection of articles from the various editions of the magazine has been compiled into a book titled: Politics of Turbulent Waters – Reflections on Ecological, Environmental and Climate Crises in Africa, which will be unveiled at the conference.
Executive Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, noted that the organisation has lived up to its vision and mission as an ecological think tank but is continually open to learning and working with impacted communities and peoples in order to find solutions organically.
“As an organisation, we are concerned about socio-ecological justice for all and this means working with the people and being immersed in their realities. With the understanding that the environment knows no political boundaries and that our actions have intergenerational consequences, we are avowedly pan African and work globally with partner groups to achieve our aims.
“Our core beliefs include that everyone must be respected and enjoy the right conditions to live in dignity. We also believe that the cycles of Nature must not be disrupted for corporate or individual profits.”
Speakers at the conference will include His Highness, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, Emir of Nassarawa (former Minister of Environment) and His Royal Majesty, Bubaraye Dakolo, the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiema Kingdom, Prof. Niyi Osundare, Bishop Matthew Kukah, Dr. Isaac Osuoka and Dr. Chido Onumah.
An anniversary poem will be presented by Chiedu Ezeanah.
The conference is highlighted as the maiden edition of what will become an annual convergence on Environment Justice in Nigeria and Africa.