Yewande Akinse, a young Nigerian woman of many parts. She is a lawyer, social entrepreneur, poet, author as well as a strong advocate of climate change and green environment. In this interview with YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE, she speaks on how women participating in politics can help address issues surrounding climate change, waste management and women empowerment, among other issues.
How long have you been promoting climate change issues?
I have been promoting climate change issues for nearly a decade now. My passion for environmental conservation and my commitment to finding innovative solutions to combat climate change began to take shape during my academic journey, which started at the University of Lagos. Since then, I have dedicated myself to raising awareness about environmental issues and actively working towards positive change in the world. My role as the CEO of pap.earth has allowed me to merge technology and environmental consciousness, making it possible for individuals worldwide to contribute to the fight against climate change with every online search. So, it’s been a significant part of my life and work for quite some time.
What do you think are the roles of women in green environment, particularly as climate change continues to attract global attention?
Women play crucial roles in fostering a green environment and addressing the escalating global concern of climate change. Their contributions are multifaceted and indispensable in shaping a sustainable future. Women serve as leaders and advocates, driving climate policy changes and raising awareness at all levels of society. They often lead community-based initiatives, leveraging their connections to mobilize grassroots efforts for environmental conservation. Women excel as educators, conveying the significance of climate action to their families and communities.
In agriculture, women promote sustainable farming practices and crop diversification, reducing the environmental footprint of food production. Their involvement in the renewable energy sector helps advance clean energy technologies, paving the way for a greener energy landscape. Women also lead in biodiversity conservation, habitat restoration, and sustainable land management, preserving ecosystems and wildlife.
Moreover, women’s resilience and adaptability are invaluable in climate-affected regions. They drive initiatives that enhance community resilience to climate-related challenges, and their entrepreneurial spirit fuels innovation in sustainable products and services. In research and policy-making, women contribute to a deeper understanding of climate change and advocate for gender-sensitive climate policies.
Recognising and empowering women in their diverse roles is essential for effective climate action and a more equitable, sustainable world. Gender equality in the environmental movement is not only a matter of justice but also a key to success in addressing climate change.
How would you assess waste management in Nigeria?
Truthfully, waste management in Nigeria is quite poor. Open litters still abound. I believe more can be done in this regard. The government is trying its best but more can still be done especially in the area of waste to energy. Waste is an asset and not a pollutant; it just has to be managed the right way.
In what ways can women prove their worth beyond the long-held misconception that they are mere cheer leaders and sex objects?
Women can prove their worth by excelling in diverse fields, showcasing their expertise and breaking barriers. They can pursue education and skills development, achieving professional excellence in business, science, technology, politics, and other domains. Women’s leadership and empowerment initiatives can uplift communities and shatter stereotypes. Their contributions to innovation, research and creative arts can challenge misconceptions. By advocating for gender equality, women can reshape societal perceptions and demonstrate that they are not confined to outdated roles but are valuable contributors to every aspect of human endeavor. In recent times, many women have arisen to challenge these stereotypes and these women have gone ahead to support other women.
Do you think women’s participation in politics can help promote climate change awareness?
Yes, women’s participation in politics can significantly contribute to promoting climate change awareness. Research indicates that women often prioritise environmental and sustainability issues. When more women are involved in politics, it increases the likelihood of policies and legislation that address climate change and environmental challenges. Additionally, women leaders can serve as role models and advocates for climate action, inspiring others to get involved. Their unique perspectives and experiences can enrich discussions on climate-related matters and foster a more holistic approach to environmental policy, making women’s participation a vital asset in the global effort to combat climate change
What are your thoughts on women empowerment and streams of income?
Women empowerment is a crucial societal goal that should be actively promoted and supported. Ensuring that women have streams of income is a fundamental aspect of this empowerment.
Financial independence and economic stability empower women in several ways. It allows them to make decisions about their lives, including choices related to education, healthcare, and family planning. Economic empowerment can enhance self-esteem and confidence, enabling women to pursue their aspirations and participate more actively in their communities and the workforce.
Furthermore, having multiple streams of income can provide women with a safety net, increasing their resilience in the face of economic challenges. It can also help bridge gender pay gaps and reduce financial disparities between men and women. Promoting women’s economic empowerment not only benefits individual women but also contributes to broader societal development and gender equality. It fosters a more inclusive and equitable society where women can fully participate in economic, political, and social spheres, leading to a more prosperous and just world for everyone.
How does Pap.earth promote climate change and environmental issues?
Pap.earth is a groundbreaking initiative that merges technology and environmental consciousness in a powerful way. It is not just a typical search engine; it’s a platform designed to actively combat climate change with every online search conducted by users. And here’s how it works: Pap.earth has integrated a carbon removal mechanism into its search engine infrastructure. When users conduct online searches through pap.earth, the platform actively removes carbondioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. This is achieved by partnering with various environmental organisations and initiatives that focus on carbon offset and sequestration projects. Also, user engagement, the key to the platform’s success is its user engagement model. Every search made on pap.earth directly contributes to carbon removal efforts. Users can go about their daily internet activities while simultaneously making a positive impact on the environment. It’s a simple and effective way for individuals to participate in climate action without changing their daily habits. In addition to its carbon removal functionality, pap.earth also serves as an educational platform. It raises awareness about climate change, environmental issues, and the importance of individual actions in mitigating these challenges. Users are provided with information and resources to better understand the environmental impact of their online activities.
In summary, pap.earth empowers individuals to take meaningful action against climate change by seamlessly integrating environmental responsibility into their everyday internet use. It’s an innovative solution that bridges the gap between technology and sustainability, making it easier for people around the world to contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet while promoting climate change awareness and education.
Has climate change issue have gained significant attention in Nigeria?
Yes, Climate change issues have gained increasing attention in Nigeria over the years, reflecting a growing awareness of the environmental challenges facing the country and the world at large. Several factors contribute to the rising prominence of climate change in Nigeria: environmental impact, Nigeria has experienced a range of environmental issues associated with climate change, such as irregular rainfall patterns, increased temperatures, and more frequent extreme weather events like flooding. These tangible impacts have drawn attention to the need for climate action.
The Nigerian government has taken steps to address climate change by developing policies, strategies, and action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changing climate. Nigeria is a signatory to the Paris Agreement, further signaling its commitment to addressing climate change. Young activists and environmental organizations in Nigeria have played a significant role in advocating for climate action. Prominent youth-led movements like the Fridays for Future movement and other grassroots efforts have helped raise awareness and mobilize support for climate change initiatives.While there is growing attention to climate change in Nigeria, it’s important to note that challenges still exist. These challenges include limited resources for climate adaptation and mitigation, competing priorities, and the need for more widespread public engagement and education.
The acceptability of climate change advocacy in Nigeria is generally positive, especially among younger generations who are increasingly concerned about the environment and the impact of climate change on their lives and future. However, like in many countries, there may be pockets of skepticism or resistance to climate change advocacy, often driven by economic interests or a lack of awareness. Overall, the momentum for climate change action in Nigeria is on the rise, with increasing acceptance and engagement in climate change advocacy efforts at various levels of society.
What advice do you have for young women like you out there?
To young women out there, I offer the following advice: Believe in yourself; have confidence in your abilities and believe that you can achieve your goals. trust your intuition and embrace your unique qualities, prioritise education and continuous skill development. Knowledge and expertise are powerful tools that can open doors and empower you to make a difference in your chosen field, don’t shy away from challenges or setbacks. They are opportunities for growth and learning. Resilience in the face of adversity is a valuable trait. Also, dream big and set ambitious goals, seek out mentors and allies who can provide guidance, support, and wisdom, then, surround yourself with people who believe in your potential.
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