By Fadekemi Ajakaiye
Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) will be partnering with Ecole Urbaine de Lyon in hosting her first School of Ecology (SoE) for 2021.
According to a statement by HOMEF, this partnership was officially announced at a virtual press conference held on Friday, 15 January 2021 to present the third edition of Ecole de l’Anthropocene (School of Anthropocene) 2021 organised by Ecole urbaine de Lyon (Lyon urban school) in France. The School of Anthropocene will run for one week, from 25th to 31st (Monday to Sunday) January 2021.
The SoE which will form one of the sections of A l’Ecole de l’Anthropocene, will be examining the roots of resource exploitation with particular focus on food, extractivism and ecology. This section will hold 26th to 28th that is, Tuesday to Thursday. Featuring in the SoE are Mariam Mayet of African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa and Mamadou Goita of IRPAD, Mali who will be speaking on “Who feeds the planet”; Firoze Manji of Daraja Press speaking on “Plantation and Extractivism” and; Ikal Angelei of Friends of Lake Turkana, Kenya, speaking on “Green Colonialism”. Nnimmo Bassey, Director of HOMEF will be co-moderating all panels at the SoE.
Speaking at the virtual press conference, Nnimmo Bassey expressed his concerns about the current geological age called the Anthropocene. He explained that humans have assumed a certain measure of exploitative control over the environment and earth’s resources. To surmount challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation and pollution which human activities are largely responsible for, terms such as sustainability have been coined. According to him, “sustainability has been on the card for decades and everyone speaks about sustainable development. Yet the three circles of sustainability which include the economic, environment and social aspects- covering the 3Ps representing People, Planet and Profit- are not balanced in the scheme of corporate operations. Focus is mostly on the economic aspect of sustainability leading to economic systems of exploitation, destruction, dispossession and extractivism.”
It has been the character of the mining and extractive industry generally to focus more on profit maximization- discounting the environment and labour. This character is not only displayed on the African continent but in other countries like Canada and the United States of America.
From the press conference, it was gathered that the challenge of climate change calls for a new approach. This approach according to Nnimmo Bassey is that of repairing connections- which have been weakened by undue competition and lack of solidarity and care, among humans. He emphasised that, “We must stay connected to reclaim the pathways that will make the universe livable. We must reconnect to ourselves and to mother Earth. We can’t continue with business as usual.”
This is part of the narrative that the School of Ecology section of the School of Anthropocene hopes to explore. HOMEF’s School of Ecology is a space for education and knowledge sharing focused on creating understanding of the problems that plague our environment. It is believed that if one cannot understand the roots of a problem, we cannot formulate a suitable solution. The School of Ecology is hinged on sharing knowledge that will lead to action. “This is what we hope to achieve in the School of Ecology/Anthropocene that is coming up,” Nnimmo Bassey said.