Save Our Environment: a creative plea for urgent climate action

Chinedu Izekwe

As world leaders gather for the COP26 climate conference, young people are calling those in power to urgently reduce emissions, increase investment in climate adaptation, and include youth in climate negotiations.

COP is the Conference of Parties, the decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, that meets yearly to assess and review the progress that countries are making to tackle climate change.

A group of young artists from Nigeria shared their experiences and artwork to advocate for urgent climate action with their 'Save the Environment' project, which aims to shine light on the factors causing environmental degradation, especially in Nigeria.

Project by Bankole Emmanuel, Olasunkami Emmanuel, Chinedu Izekwe and Hamzat Farouk as part of our Youth Mediathon.

Bankole Emmanuel

Bankole Emmanuel, 18, Nigeria

"I am a young hyperrealist artist. I am a Nigerian and passionate about inspiring change through my pencil and paint brush. I joined the Mediathon and opted for climate action group because I believe that young people need to be at the centre of the advocacy to demand for climate justice. 

I titled this artwork 'Nigeria and its ozone layer'. I used pencil on paper to show the pollution happening in my environment daily. 

We rely heavily on fossil fuel to run almost every machine - from domestic generators to industrial machines in Nigeria as we still don't stable power supply. I worry about the air that I breathe and the impact the smoke that I inhale will have on me - now and in the future. 

Since breathing is living, the least we can get is clean air! My generation deserve to inhale clean air!"

Painting by Olasunkanmi Emmanuel

Olasunkami Emmanuel, 15, Nigeria

"Painting is second nature to me. I draw inspiration from my immediate environment, and I have come to learn that sketching is my superpower that I can use to tell story, inspire change, and give voice to the fire in my heart. 

I scribbled this art piece to show the impact our wrong practices on the environment would have on us soon, if not already happening. 

The hand holding the semi-circle with a burning plant represents human being. The semi-circle represents the earth and the burning plant represents bush burning, deforestation, plant felling, etc. 

The message I am conveying with this artwork is that if we continue our wrong practices, we will further deplete the ozone layers, experience intense heat scorch and man (responsible for these activities) would be burned by heat waves. We need to take urgent action now!"

Hamzat Farouk

Hamzat Farouk, 13, Nigeria

"I have just one message to share with my artwork – stop the noise! The noise in our head on our future goals, concerns and worries are bad enough, noise pollution is the least problem we want to contend with it. 

I believe our environment and us would be better for it if we do the best we can to minimize it. It may seem overwhelming to make a difference, but I am hopeful that I can lend my voice as a change agent through my artworks."

Chinedu Izekwe

Chinedu Izekwe, 17, Nigeria

"I used I charcoal on paper to create this artwork that speaks on the issue of water pollution that is happening in the lagoon, one of the largest water bodies in the city of Lagos where I live. We find uncontrolled discharge of untreated wastewater from production industry and sewages into the sea.

I am very sure these waste discharge will adversely affect the fishes in that sea and pollute the water which will somehow make its way back into our homes for consumption. 

If urgent action is not taken to stop unregulated discharge of untreated wastewater into the lagoon, we will end up not eating fishes in the future and the lagoon which formed a major part of my childhood may someday become a dead sea."