From right: Kebetkache executive director, Emem Okon, Aileen Zuckerman, Gender Action, Nkosi, South Africa, Samantha Hargreaves, regional director, WoMin and Constance Meju, Nigeria at the opening of the meeting.
As agitations for respect of mother earth to avert the devastating changes in the environment thanks to continued abuse from oil extraction, foremost environmentalist and advocate for an end to fossil fuel extraction, Rev Nnimmo Bassey has called for a return of history in the schools.
Making the call at a one-week regional exchange and strategy meeting of African women in the extractive industry, WoMin which held in Port Harcourt, Nigeria September 28-October 2, 2015, said teaching history will educate and sensitize children on moral rights to inculcate in them, a value system.
He said it is time the oil corporations began to invest in cleaner business. ‘‘We are telling Shell, Mobil, etc., to change their business, to invest in clean energy’’ and according to him, key to bringing about the needed change is partnership with the labour union.
The Health of Mother Earth Foundation, MODEF executive director who was a resource person on Climate Change and Environmental Justice also stressed the need for legislations and monitoring of the implementation of passed legislations to end environmental abuse.
He called on women to rise against the mistaken notion now being generally held that the public sector cannot provide everything, thus favouring a public/private partnership that is commerce based.
“There is need to see nature as nature and us as part of nature, rivers that must be kept clean. We need to re-educate ourselves to shift from the mindset that nature will attract protection.”
The challenge he said is, ‘‘for us to stand against such neo-liberal ideas, ask politicians what they see in such’’. This he said calls for a mental shift; ‘‘we have to force our leaders to see with us’’.
The Friends of the Earth chairman warned that untouched oil should remain in the ground to save mother earth because studies have shown that the earth would soon face serious calamity if 80 per cent of oil is not left underneath.
The WoMin meeting which featured deliberations on issues affecting women ended on Friday, October 3, 2015.
It had in attendance women from African countries where fossil fuels and coal are being explored and extracted and included Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.
A gender advocate with special interest in Africa, Aileen Zuckerman came from the US in solidarity.
Focus was on the Impact of Extractive Industries on Fossil Fuel Energy, Climate, Justice and Women Rights with a view to providing recommendations as well draw government’s attention to the needs and aspirations of women while designing policies.
WoMin led the exchange in partnership with Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Center, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, Environmental Rights Action, ERA and Cee-Hope.