Popular poets and authors in commemoration of the World Environmental Day (WED) have advocated for the protection of the mother earth and asked humanity to stop the degradation and destruction of the environment.
They tasked one another to redirect their artistic and writing prowess into sustainable development and preservation of the nation’s biodiversity.
Among the writers who participated in the webinar on WED dialogue and poetryfest2020 organized by the Red Eye Development Initiative (REDi) were renowned poet, Odia Ofeimun, Nnimmo Bassey; former President of the Association of Nigeria Author (ANA), Denja Abdullahi; Founder/Executive Director, CEE Hope, Ms. Betty Abbah; and a host of poets.
It was coordinated by an environmentalist and writer, Ekaette George with the theme, “Biodiversity in Nigeria: The Artivisim Nexus”.
Ofeimun who was the poet of honour during the webinar rendered two poems – “Come Over Finima and Help Us’’ and “The Mother of All Mischief” to add spice to the session and advocate for the environment.
Other poetry renditions camee from Graciano Enwerem and later, Fortune George.
The Gombe-based poet, Adam Usman Garko also performed his poem titled, “No Place Like Home.’’
The Guest Speaker, Nnimmo Bassey, an environmental activist and former Chairman of the Friends of the Earth International and currently Director of the ecological think tank Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) charged writers to direct their artivism into promoting biodiversity.
According to him, human beings must recognize the fact that millions of organisms living within the environment were to compliment the humans.
He said artists and writers must emphasize this in their works, saying there is connection between artivism and biodiversity.
Bassey said: “We should become activists with our poems. If we are silent and go to Afghanistan when Nigeria is on fire, we might be losing the opportunity to save Nigeria.”
Ms. Abbah called for a new world order after the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the global coronavirus crisis should “leave us better human beings and make the world better.”
“The mindless and sheer abuse of the planet”, she stated, must stop, adding, “as writers highlighting environmental injustices, we should emerge into a new world order and promote a more friendly planet.”
She said women suffer more from the devastation of the environment caused by the extractive industry, adding, “We should use our various platforms as writers and activists to caution the world that we can coexist with the earth and be more friendly with it and it will yield better for us.”
Former ANA President noted that the environmental degradation in the Niger Delta “has shown us a lot how writers can use their lots to advocate for change.”