The topic for discourse was Solving Climate Change using 21st Century Technology. The aim while choosing this topic was to be able to foster an interactive session with the students, bearing in mind that technology is a tool that they are very conversant with.
While drafting the conference guide, the focus was on agriculture, considering that Nigeria is an agricultural state and many concerns have been raised within this sector, as climate change is drastically affecting here.
In discussing this, we considered the current Amazon burning and its effect to the environment, while also taking into cognizance the herdsmen crises within the Northern region of Nigeria, has they had been displaced because of desertification, which was majorly caused by climate change. This and many more within the conference guide were discussed to the students during the course of the conference.
In trying to have a good and effective learning process, the YSDC team employed the Design Thinking Methodology. In so doing we employed the six phases, starting from the Understanding stage, which was where we explained the conference guide to the student using very basic terms for proper understanding. Then we moved on to the Observation stage, wherein we used videos relating to the topic to enable them feel empathetic towards the situation.
Then unto the Synthesis stage, where they begin to gather ideas towards solving the issue at hand. Then we moved unto the Ideation stage on the second day, wherein they began to develop the ideas which they had the previous day to become a workable solution. Then the Prototyping stage, wherein they began to put their solutions on a cardboard, after it has been fully developed into workable solutions. Finally, the Testing stage which was done at the closing ceremony by the students in front of all other students.
The students developed very effective and workable solutions using a three-prong approach.
- The first of which was advocacy of the effects of climate change and the need to reduce our emissions for better living.
- The second was on adaptive techniques, which was basically on clean-ups of already existing pollution that could result to climate change.
- The third was on mitigative techniques, which involved attaching a technological device to cars which would convert emissions from the exhaust pipes from carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, which could effectively be absorbed by trees, thereby reducing climate change. It is to note that all these approaches involved a technological input.
At the end of the conference, it was incredible to see students who came on the first day of the conference who had no knowledge whatsoever about climate change, leave on the last day educated immensely about the topic.
Although, during the conference the students were not initially responsive because the topic was very new to them and they had not done such intensive thinking before, especially trying to develop solutions to a problem, which I must commend each and every one of them for, because at the end of the conference, many of them showed appreciation, especially as some received awards.