The date 1st of May, 2020 had two commemorative events. The first being workers’ day. The second and most important being YSDC’s Instagram Live Webinar with Olumide Idowu, a co-founder of International Climate Change Development Initiative (ClimateWed). The area of concentration revolved around “Introduction to SDG 13 (Climate Action): The recent impact of COVID-19 and the possible ways forward.” The host of the webinar was Durodoluwa Femi-Ajala who also doubles as the Director of Finance of the 2020 YSDC conference.
The speaker set the ball rolling by stating that up until the webinar, he had not seen any research linking COVID-19 to climate change though people have stated that since the lockdown commenced, metropolises have been quiet, animals have been roaming the streets among several other shared intuitions that are making social media rounds. He debunked misconceptions pertaining to the supposed nexus between the pandemic and climate change stating that climate change is not the cause of the pandemic. He went further to note that global warming is an urgent issue that needs immediate attention. While the world is battling the pandemic, climate change must also be considered. He added that the preventive measures as recommended by WHO in order to curb the spread of the pandemic should also be incorporated into climate change. He also acknowledged the global economic meltdown caused by the pandemic going further to state that climate change is indeed a time bomb which is radically different from the pandemic considering recent occurrences in Australia and Brazil.
He admonished the youth to take global warming seriously as they would take the pandemic because they are similar given the equal environmental impact. According to him, the impact climate change has on the environment varies from one geographical zone to another. For instance, in Lagos, we encounter sea level rise and in the north on the other hand, we have witnessed cases of desert encroachment. While climate change provides us the luxury of time and opportunity to remedy or alter our plight, COVID-19 doesn’t. On the flip side, patients that possess the virus are usually lucky enough to beat the virus but the same cannot be said for climate change. Though it provides us with time to avert the situation, is we fail to do so, the impact can be massive and deadly. The host went on to reiterate the major difference between climate change and COVID-19 which happens to be the available time frame to remedy both situations.
When asked about the way forward, Mr Olumide stated that a merger of the issues at hand (the pandemic and climate change) is sacrosanct. Just as the WHO, CDC’s of different countries among other institutions have given us various precautionary measures in order to curb the spread of the pandemic, we must also exhibit such responsibility and precaution in our dealings with the environment. He urged experts in the field to use their greatest asset, their voice, to spread the message of climate change so people quit treating the issue with levity. With those enlightening words, the webinar came to a close.