There is need for a paradigm shift in people’s attitude towards the environment, our value system must change, and children must be vanguards of the new movement prepared to take over. And for this to happen, grooming of children in this regard must begin from the homes.
This was the submission of the Dean of the Faculty of Public Health, Prof Godson Ana, while delivering the recent 499th inaugural lecture of the University of Ibadan, titled: “Nature’s Blanket and God’s Heritage in Dis(X)tress: Who’s the deliverer?”
Ana said, “Environmentally informed, equipped and nurtured children beget a safe, balanced and sustainable world.”
The professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Faculty of Public Health at the University of Ibadan, noted that “given the evolving nature and complexity of our environment it is obvious that the various components of our ecosystems are distressed.
“This has been highly reflected in various episodes of pollution in the air, water, soil, food and biota most of which is derived from anthropogenic factors.
“The consequence of this has resulted in grave implications on the health of populations and the climate. Who then will be the deliverer of mankind from this distressed environment?”
In response, he said, “Children if well trained and nurtured will serve as the ‘deliverer,’ providing a critical mass of people, leaders and experts to propagate the ideals of Environmental health and particularly air quality management.
“The training must begin from home and mothers have a key role to play.
“It is imperative that government must ensure that environmental health is integrated into the school curriculum at all levels.”
Ana pointed out that “recently, the United Nations based on the theme of the 2021 World Environment Day (WED) celebration tagged Ecosystem Restoration has realised the need to reverse the ominous anomalies in the earth environment space. Who is to do this restoration? Is it the population that has inflicted the injury on itself? I am in no self-illusion that this will achieve very minimal result.
“We need a paradigm shift in our attitude towards the environment, our value system must change, our children must be vanguards of the new movement prepared to take over.
“That is why I welcome us to support the foundation Child Health Environment and Safety Trust (CHEST) established to nurture a new leadership for children to handle our environment. The change must begin from our homes. Our children hitherto the most impacted if well-groomed and nurtured will certainly be our deliverer tomorrow.”
Ana in his recommendations stated that: “It is very obvious that our value system has collapsed and this reflected in virtually all facets of our lives including environmental care and stewardship. Increasingly most children are under the watch, care and supervision of others other than their parents especially at the home setting where sound morals and civics should be laid as building blocks. Parents therefore must as a matter of urgency and priority wake up to their responsibilities of imbibing and entrenching good environmental tenets to their children at the household level in almost a similar manner in which they are concerned about their educational advancement.
“Environmental education, advocacy and awareness creation must be increased beyond its current modicum level. To do this Government must recognise the need, initiate the process and implement the development of environmental education at all school levels. Knowledge they say is power.”
Hence the Deliverer of the planet earth from environmental decadence MUST be armed with requisite and relevant knowledge which is really the PANACEA.
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