This issue of Eco-Instigator is coming at a time when we are witnessing the paradox of hope and despair in the world. Hope in the capacity of the various vaccines against Covid-19 helping humanity to overcome the tragic pandemic that has infected over 176 million people and killed more than 3.8 million people worldwide. Despair that despite the hope raised by the vaccine roll-out, the idea of “vaccine imperialism” which dominated discussions at the recent G7 meeting in the U.K. implies that the poorest countries in the developing world may be left behind. Despair also that the hope for a more concerted global effort to defend the health of mother earth may remain a dream deferred.
What with the disappointing outcome of the G7 meeting as generally acknowledged by environmental rights activists who saw the summit as “a flop because it failed to secure the cash previously promised for poor nations to cope with a heating climate on top of the Covid pandemic,” to borrow from Roger Harrabin, environment analyst.
In this issue, various contributors refocus attention on the environmental health and justice challenge, and the need to sustain the campaign for the renewal of our earth. Together, the articles and reports underscore the significance of the G7 countries meeting their climate pledge that includes the $100bn a year in climate finance to poorer countries by 2020.
Nnimmo Bassey’s sobering poetic piece, “Dialogue in the Oil Field,” for instance, highlights the deafening impact of noise pollution instigated by the activities of Shell and other corporations in the Niger Delta. There are nearly a dozen other articles and reports in this issue around three subthemes—agroecology and food system; biosafety in Nigeria; and environmental degradation in relation to the fisheries in the Niger Delta mangroves. These subthemes constitute the focus of three different initiatives by HOMEF in the first half of this year presented in this issue.
On Wednesday 17 March 2021, a HOMEF delegation visited Opuama Community and held a meeting with the Elders following a terrifying oil spill which occurred on 14 March 2021. The community, made up of about forty-two villages, is in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State.
We present a special field report on the sad ordeal of the Opuama community which was host to Shell for over 35 years before Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd and Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd took over oil and gas operation in the community. The report outlines how the oil spills from the oil companies operating in the community are putting the lives of the inhabitants in danger, while disrupting their natural ecosystems and halting their vibrant economic activities. The report also outlines the community’s demands and HOMEF’s recommendations.
HOMEF held two “Stilt Roots Community Dialogues” at the waterfront of Kono and Bundu communities, Rivers State, on 21 and 23 April 2021 respectively. The program afforded the people a platform to explore how to protect and preserve their mangroves, fishes and aquatic organisms from further degradation.
Other highlights of this issue include “Conversations with Thomas Sankara- Lessons from Our Heroes Past,” the report of our Conversation Series begun in the previous issue. We also feature an interview of Nnimmo Bassey by Mohammed Shosanya titled “Why FG Should Stop Issuing More Oil Licenses.” The interview examines burning issues in the oil and gas sector as well as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that was subjected to public hearing recently by the National Assembly.
Enjoy this loaded issue and remember to drop us a line or share your stories, articles, photos or poems at [email protected] We always look forward to hearing from you.
Download and read Eco-Instigator #32 here.