Photo-Journalist, GBEMILE OLUWATOSIN reports
The rampant abuse of the environment and how these has affected the ecosystem leading to such issues as climate change and global warming was the issue of discussion recently at a forum of experts held in Lagos.
This was at the 2018/2019 Academy of the African Arts and Media Earth Initiative (AAMEI), and in attendance were about ten participants with Mrs Ugochi Oluigbo as the convener.
This year’s edition was themed Development and Nature: Reporting the Connection and Oluigbo provided a justification for the initiative by noting that there was an urgent need to draw attention to the danger of the environment through environmental activism and media advocacy.
The mood set, participants had the floor to engage the issue from their different perspectives.
The Editor of Environews, Micheal Simire, who moderated the discussion, highlighted the effects of Climate Change on Agriculture and Bio-safety, Marine and Coastal Management issues, Ocean Surge, Human Settlement, Renewable energy, Plant Degradation and Forest Degradation as areas of global environmental issues not just for Africa but the world at large.
Simire, urged the eco-journalists to uphold the awareness creation on environment issues through factual, objective and balanced reporting.
Speaking on “Era of Fake News: Maintaining the Standard”, veteran Broadcaster and Editor of African News Network, Tunde Oso decried the dissemination of fake news as totally unprofessional and unethical.
He said journalists, as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm are compelled to uphold the true standard of news reportage to justify their tag and in fulfillment of their roles in society.
Oso, who described fake news as colouring issues instead of reporting them through proper research, urged journalists to always fact-check before posting news, moreso, as doing otherwise could ruin their careers.
Yet, they should not to also not to solemnly rely on google for information but rather go experts to balance their reports.
Jennifer Igwe, an environmental journalist, also noted that there was an urgent need for a new breed of environmental journalists with the commitment to reclaiming back our nature.
She noted a human angle approach to reporting environmental news could make a difference, since, according to her, that was actually the reality of the story.
According to her, environmental reporters should see themselves as Change Agents in reclaiming the natural and conducive environment for both plants and animals.
The Managing Editor, Sahara Reporters, Fisayo Soyombo threw more light on “Why Do You Need Investigative Journalism”?
Soyombo informed the gathering that there was actually funds set aside for eco journalism, inferring that journalists should aspire to access such funds. Issues which he advises that journalists should also devote attention to include land grabbing, expressing the optimism that such a focus would benefit the society a lot.
Wildlife Photographer, Babajide Agboola, decried the high rate at which domestic and wild animal was going out of extinction, attributing this to the rate development as well as the killing of nimals either for domestic use or commercial returns.
Agboola, advocate for Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) instead of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) noted that some financial Institutions use animals like Lion for their logo, yet do not contribute to the preservation efforts for such animals.
“How Big, Strong and Reliable are they to the society if they care less about the animals”? he querried rhetorically.
Agboola, also laid emphasis on the need for photojournalists to carry out research about animals before going to the jungle and clicking on the shutter release button as some animals could be very wild and could predate on such individuals.
Nnimmo Bassey, founder of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, (HOMEF), noted that there was a need for dialogue such as sharing ideas, best farming practices and ways of preserving seed and our overall biodiversity as a way of preserving our biodiversity.
He also noted that we should try and discourage the usage of chemicals and pesticides by farmers; instead we should promote natural and traditional means of pest and weed control, as by this alone we reduce the level of cancer diseases.
Bassey, also urged the government to find a means of combating chemical fertilizer.
The journalists eventually went on an a tour to visit and see the artificial animal garden of about 30 hectares of land, that’s about 300plots of lands.
This was facilitated in collaboration with LUFASI, Lekki Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary Initiative, to enable to enable the journalist have first-hand experience with an artificial garden and also its benefits to human kind.
The LUFASI Nature Park once milled palm oil but stopped because of the air pollution activities which are against their doctrine of the organisation.
Fern garden has plants believed to have curative powers for all forms of fever, and there was also the EKKI bathing forest, Lake Nora, Lake Moses (two artificial water bodies), Anthills, the African spurred tortoise, monkey playing also caged monkeys, duck, the helmeted guinea fowls, ducks, rabbits and horse, there for the journalists to sight.