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Interview: Climate Champions: Bamidele F. Oni

Can we meet you? (Your Name, State, education, etc.)
Name: Bamidele F. Oni
State of Origin: Ekiti State
Current Town/State of residence:  Abeokuta, Ogun State

Federal University of Agriculture | Abeokuta, Nigeria (Nov. 2011-Jul. 2014)
MSc, Environmental Management & Protection
Federal University of Technology | Akure, Nigeria (Sep. 2003-Nov. 2008)
BSc, Forestry & Wood Technology

What do you do?
I am an environmentalist with a bias in climate change advocacy and forest related issues. I am the founder of Green Impact International, an eco-advocacy non-governmental organization focused on combating environmental degradation through education and entrepreneurship programs on green solutions for socio-economic growth.

We are aware of your interest in Environment, why this?
Overtime my participation at some international processes and programs have greatly influenced my understanding about the necessity of youths taking active part in the moves for change. And aside from the deep passion towards being part of the move for change in my community, a lot of my motivation comes from the poorly structured societal status of my country which has greatly affected the necessary timely interventions needed in the society and while there are limited openings that would afford me the opportunity of contributing my acquired skills and knowledge,  I realized I could make a lot of difference in creating a platform of operation for my ideas and skills and at the same time create a channel  to the building of my nation via my own field of expertise which is largely around environmental and forest resource management. 

Do you think Nigeria is doing her best to environment issues?
Nigeria has overtime assumed a below average position on the scale of performance environmental-wise and in a way a typical society that would always do so well in developing propositions and sound  paper based policies that would of not often see the light of actualization in the regards of implementation and monitoring. While the government would often set the make believe façade of actual involvement, the prevailing condition that obtains in the unhealthy rate of environmental resources exploitation is a betrayal of the supposed false premise. Nigeria has always been signatories to international treaties and a protocol but still the incorporation of such to reflect in the various national polices has not recorded so much positivity. The multi-national oil companies are still at large exploiting and exploring the Niger Delta at an unsustainable rate while gas flaring is still the order of the day making the country the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in West Africa, also deforestation has become a norm as most protected biosphere of nature have become largely stripped of their much acclaimed biodiversity. I believe Nigeria could do a lot better when we assume a significant level of actualization rather than empty proclamations while utilizing the right resource (human and natural) in fixing the deteriorating structure that abounds.

What projects are you currently working on or the project you look forward to working on in the next five years?
While, I work towards building a formidable and extended reach of work and impact in my society in the future, I have begun with the establishment of a means of reaching the public though the establishment of a Non-Governmental Organization which in a lot of ways, I have realized as a means to bridging the information gap between societal development stakeholders (policy makers, researchers) and the public. While there have been a lot of interventions towards combating the negative impacts of the rapid environmental changes, I realized the need for a more identifiable way of creating a levelled form of environmental education and entrepreneurship that would not only create the necessary awareness but also a means to establishing a mitigation strategy . I adopted the process of community-community approach of environmental sensitization and tree planting as a means to adapting and mitigating the changes. The tree planting initiative has however been based on fast yielding and social-economic consideration as the trees often selected are ones that would ensure a beneficial side not only to the environment but also to the individuals in terms of food security (fruit trees) and health values. The platform has further been used to bring the rural dwellers, non-profit leaders, policy makers and entrepreneurs to design solutions that reflect local content for a green economy. The youths from respective communities have also overtime shown supports in volunteering for the tree planting project while each community reached often collect seeds from the trees planted in their houses to give to us and this helps us to enhance our seed stock for more planting. Right now, the initiative has reached 15 communities with4000 trees planted.

What do you think you are lacking in the execution of your projects and how can this be solved?
The problem is quite a predominant one for most growing non-profit establishments and it largely surround the issue of supports and funding. While there are so much of plans ad activities to run, the limitation has always been the regards of support.  While there are existing bodies and agencies that are essentially in the dealings of extending grants and supports and which in most cases are quite competitive, localized supplementary and complimentary   supports from related governmental agencies, industries and public figures in the society would make a lot of difference if available.

What is your advice to young Nigerians who are looking up to you?
Nigeria is a well-endowed nation with a lot unexplored human resources with tremendous capabilities and abilities but the prevailing conditions that obtains in our society has really curtailed a lot of potentials but then, we all envisage a future of change and that change would only come if we can all stand for what we believe while utilizing the little we have in us to achieving the best of what we desire personally and in our relative societies and with our faith in God. 

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
The next 5 years doesn’t sound so far off and I definitely see myself making more impact even beyond the borders of my native country.

How can people contact you and are they free to contact you for business?
Definitely, I am very much available to be contacted: 

Personal contact details:
Mobile: +2348039464978

Organization’s links: 
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Interview: Climate Champions: Bamidele F. Oni Reviewed by Olumide Idowu on Tuesday, May 05, 2015 Rating: 5
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