When most people hear eco-journalism, they assume it means only reports that cover air, ground and water pollution, the eco system, global warming and climate change. But ecojournalism is all that and more. It remains primarily about the environment, but it also is journalism that focuses on other issues such as the oil industries, waste management, security, conflict, corruption, politics and policy. Ecojournalism is not a single subject or a narrow range of topics - it’s a way of looking at earth and the environment from every angle that directly or indirectly affects it. Therefore, ecojournalism is not just nature news. Instead, it is best understood as an blanket view of events that concern the environment.
The role of ecojournalism in Nigeria and around the world cannot be overemphasized because each and everyone of us is feeling the effects of climate change. The desertification in the north, the floods in the south, extreme temperatures all over the country, malnutrition from the droughts, increased conflicts as a result of migration, and the accelerated disappearance of the sub tropics are just a few instances that we have all been directly affected. Focus has to be directed at the irreversible damages we are inflicting on the planet, and the actions we can take to correct those acts and it is the role of ecojournalists to ensure that this shift of direction happens.
My experience has been that if journalists or people in the public eyes continue to talk about an important issue and enough coverage is given, people will eventually begin to take notice. What I bring to the table is interaction with my peers and people who are interested in shaping a new world and a new Nigeria. The articles i wrote on how to protest step by step resounded with thousands of people because they no longer had to start thinking of how to do it, but to just adopt a fomula that was already working. That is what ecojournalists need to do. Find the best, simplest ways to effectively change our old perceptions and lay models down on how to move forward.
As an ecojournalist, I intend to lead from the front lines by example. Part of what I am doing is raising awareness within my sphere of influence, get the people in my sphere of influence to raise awareness, multiply the message to larger numbers and proceed from there. Some simple but effective solutions we all can incorporate into our daily lives are:
1) Keep your environment clean and safe: One of the simplest changes we can incorporate into our day to day lives. Dispose trash properly, clean up your immediate environment and vicinity and get others to do the same.
2) Plant more trees: I know a lot of you have heard this again and again, but this remains the truth. The fastest way to reduce carbondioxide in the atmosphere is to produce more oxygen and thats where trees come in. I know we have all promised ourselves in the past that we will plant trees, but today, this weekend is the time to do it. Every little counts!
3) Drive less, walk more:This is also a no brainer. With the increase in the price of petrol, we all need to find better ways to save money and what better way to that that than to walk. This way, you get to enjoy the scenery, save cost, get healthier and still help the enviroment.
4) Talk to your representatives and policy makers: Our policy makers are reluctant or lethargic in dealing with environmental issues. The time has come for us to push them into doing what is right for us and our environment.
5) Recycle, reuse, reduce waste, switch off appliances that are not in use: This is a no brainer. It remains cheaper to buy articles that you can recycled. This is true for purchases from drinks to household appliances. Also switching off appliances that are not in use saves cost AND saves the environment.
6) Share this article. A simple link on twitter, facebook, email or bbm can get this message out to a broader audience. This will not only increase awareness, butit would give people simple and easy skills on what to do.
Here are a few quotes on ecojournalism from people in the media:
"Good environment propels healthy living, while a bad environment leads to health problems." Ibrahim Hamza NAGARTA RADIO
"Eco journalism is a brilliant expression of media advocacy on the issues of environmental concern. Couldn't have asked for more." Olawale Hamzat NTA
"We need deliberatee efforts to stimulate local awerness on the need to protect and preserve our environment. not an option, but a compelling reason to live" Mr Tunde Fagbenle (Sunday) Punch Newspaper.
"We need to use new media like twitter, facebook, bbm and the internet to get to the younger people interested in issues that affect the environment. Only when we speak their language can we interact, communicate and engage them to work for a better society" Japheth Omojuwa Blogger