By Nimot Adetola Sulaimon
Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the wife of Lagos State Governor, on Wednesday charged students to become agents of positive change of the environment.
All environmental-related clubs in schools in Lagos State came under one umbrella known as Environmental Bees Club.
Ibijoke, who was at the launch of the club, spoke at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa.
According to her, there is a need for sustainable environmental education with the involvement of the younger generation (students).
She explained that this can only serve as a panacea to the yearnings for a greener environment through an attitudinal and self-monitoring approach.
Furthermore, she stressed that nowadays, the environment has more issues with humanity’s footprints almost everywhere with changes in the natural world having greater consequences such as climate change, famine, pollution of all forms, indiscriminate dumping of refuse which stares us in the face daily.
In her words: “With the formal launch, students who are the hope of the future are adequately updated and equipped with the skills and information to transform the environment into a greener one for the benefits of all”.
She described the launch which also featured the unveiling of an EBC training manual as a brilliant collaborative initiative aimed at tackling environmental challenges that promote a sustainable environment.
Speaking earlier, the chief host, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello said making the young ones environment champions heralds a new approach to environmental management.
The Commissioner said the launching of the club is a milestone made possible by the support of Mr. Governor and wife, adding that it marked a new dimension to complete eradication of all environmental nuisances that stare all in the face and achievable through the practical demonstration of actions required while involving the children in ecosystem value sustainability.
He recalled that the original concept started as Schools Environmental Advocacy Programme and took off in Y2005 during the tenure of Governor Bola Tinubu with the New Era Foundation as its main facilitator with the objective of inculcating sound environmental practices in the minds of students so that they can serve as a vehicle of change to the larger society.
He stressed that the club in years past ensured students were exposed to practical knowledge in matters relating to global environmental issues and best environmental practices employed by international communities to reduce effects of environmental degradations through exchanged visits to Germany.
Tunji Bello went down Memory Lane that at inception, the club was known as Green Hands Club which later metamorphosed into Climate Change club (CCC), working with other environmental clubs introduced by various organizations in schools with different aims and objectives.
He said the government deemed it fit to harmonise all the clubs hence the change of the name of the club to Environmental Bees Club (EBC).
“It is in the light of this that the Ministry is desirous of harmonizing all the environment based clubs in schools and henceforth rebrand them; we are also launching a non–examinable standardized training manual for use in schools by already trained club handlers with adequate knowledge on trending environmental issues” Bello reiterated.
He said Environmental Education was geared towards developing a populace that is aware and concerned about the environment and its associated problems; adding that those equipped through training would seek remedies to environmental problems and prevent the new ones.
In her remarks the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Mrs. Belinda Odeneye said that care for the environment can be achieved through knowledge acquisition, attitudinal change, and the development of individuals capable of taking actions on environmental issues towards achieving a sustainable environment.
She said a lot could be manufactured from non-biodegradable materials such as Plastics, Nylon, Used tyres, and this can be achieved through recycling as well as reusing.
The Environmental Bees Club and Training Manual for Handlers of the club was later officially unveiled by the First Lady, assisted by the Wife of the Deputy Governor, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, and other dignitaries.
Awards were also presented to students and pupils who distinguished themselves in the essay competition and to various Environmental Ambassadors amongst them Education was the District Desk officer, the Former First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, and the serving First Lady, Dr. Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu amongst others.