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Interview: Climate Champions: Israel Adeseko 1

Can we meet you? (Your name, state, education, etc.)
My name is Israel Adeseko, a native of Okemesi-Ekiti South-West Nigeria. I had a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from FUTA and I hold professional certifications in Youth leadership and social innovation. I am a LYFE fellow and a 2013 LEAP Africa’s social innovators fellow.

What do you do Sir?
I am an environmentalist, a Town planner and an Author. I fulfill these in my role as the Team Lead at GreenSchools Africa, as a town planner, I consult on Environmental Impacts Assessment for developmental Projects and GIS analysis. I also authored the first national comprehensive orientation handbook for town planning students in Nigerian tertiary institutions titled: “Student Planner; a motivational overview”.

We are aware of your interest in Environment, why this interest?
I remember visiting a community in Akure during my undergraduate days on a field work/class assignment in 2012 and I saw school children playing football on a dumpsite inside their school. Well, it wasn’t as if I haven’t seen that before, but the way I saw the scene of this particular event as well as the environmental condition of their school challenged my ability to make an instant change. I thought of so many disadvantages of such actions and I wondered if these children had ever been exposed to a sanctified environment. I spoke with a couple of friends and we did make a change in that school.  We started off with a one-time environmental education session, extended it to some other schools and even local community dwellers then we scaled up by building resource and project-activity around our environmental education lessons. The effectiveness of the project revealed to me that young people’s involvement in environmental decency, advocacy and sustainability will help rehabilitate environmental habits from grassroots and limit the incidence of environmental eyesore in local communities. So I wanted to do more.  Other than that, my interest in the environment was fueled by the principles and scope of my course of study; Urban Planning.

Do you think Nigeria is doing her best to fight Environment?
First of all, the pursuit of environmental sustainability should follow a collaborative approach such that everyone is involved in the process. Until we can have a near majority participation in our fight towards environmental issues in Nigeria, we might just as well be chasing the shadows because at the end of the day, whatever that is done by some set of people would still have to be subject to the way the majority perceive and embrace it. So that even if the government of the day is making provisions for a particular environmentally-aided facility or furniture, the citizenry should be involved in the process.  This will help them know why such provisions are important and they won’t have to abuse its usage. For now, I am not sure we so much participation from both the local communities dwellers and the urban settlers in the fight towards environmental issues.  As for the Government, a whole lot of work still has to be done in terms of advocacy, policies, citizens’ engagement and even support structures. There is also a need for government institutions to be proactive in response to global environmental issues as it affects our country. In this case, our submission on climate change actions towards the COP21 in Paris comes to mind. We can’t stop reminding those saddled with that responsibility to do something. We should walk our talk.

What projects are you currently working on or projects you look forward to working on in the next 5 years?
Currently, the GreenSchools Africa team is working at building a network of eco-conscious individuals in African schools who will influence their immediate community under the GreenSchools project. We will be launching that project on June 5 which is the world environmental day and our nominated GreenSchools will be unveiled during the event. Long term, I hope to work on a docu-drama series on fundamental environmental issues native to Nigeria.

What is the most pressing environmental issue currently? 
Globally, Climate Change has become the biggest threat not only to our physical environment but also to our existence as humans.  This is because issues from the fall-out of climate distortion cut across every single aspect of human living thereby affecting us in terms of drought, famine, flooding and even health conditions. So the question of this age is not if climate change is real but how can communities adapt to climate change with especial reference to countries along the coast lines and those in the sub-Saharan African to which Nigeria belongs. However, in Nigeria, so many communities are still battling with waste injection and disposal. This can then be seen as the most direct pressing environmental issue as the case may be. 

What do you think you are lacking in the execution of your projects and how can this be solved?
Well, the truth is that no matter how we see it, funding is an important aspect of any project execution. Overtime, lack of funding has delayed and even stalled the final implementation of some of our projects but I think young entrepreneurs will do well by playing the leverage game. Network is king and so should be cultured. I think we will get things done better and faster when we have the right people in our network so that we do not depend on the physical cash to champion our cause.  

What is your advice to young Nigerians who are looking up to you?
Don’t just do what you love but do what is good and love it! Seek for help when you do need it and be bold to get more sincere with yourself. I believe in faith and there is no better way to get things done faster than that. More importantly, commit to constant self development.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I am committed to Gods leading though I do hope to consult in areas relating to environmental management and environmental education in Africa.

How do you relax?
I stalk up my music player with fantastic Hillsongs, plug the headphones, sit down on the couch, switch off the light and do some reflections. I feel better afterwards. Alternatively, I take a walk.

How can people contact you and are they free to contact you for business?
Yes. I am very open to whatever consultation.
I keep a personal email at adesekoisrael@gmail.com; my twitter handle is @israeladeseko and you can check on our website on www.greeenschoolsafrica.com and submit a response or request.

Tell me about your science or educational background.
Like I said earlier, I am a graduate of Urban and Regional planning from the Federal University of Technology, Akure. I have taken certifications on community participation from Living Cities Intl, Climate change from the United Nations Platform. I hold a certificate in Youth leadership through the DYL programme, Commonwealth Secretariat, University of Zambia, Africa Centre and Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship from LEAP Africa SIP Awards and Youth Action Net.

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Interview: Climate Champions: Israel Adeseko 1 Reviewed by Olumide Idowu on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 Rating: 5
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