Image and Mind : A climate change story


A photo they say is worth 10,000 words. Several texts exist on the impacts the changing climate has inflicted on Mother Earth but few visuals are available to depict these for the mind and eyes of man to behold. We know that the perception of individuals governs how issues are seen and handled. Photographers from  Northern Nigeria document these climate change impacts based on the happenings around them without necessarily correlating such with activities happening down south and vice versa.

YASUNI ASSOCIATION (YA) in April and May 2019 partnered with TellThatStory(TTS), Surge Africa, and WeThePeople to train some NGOs, photographers, and university students on climate change with support from Global Greengrants Funds (GGF). YA and TTS shared some tools needed to document /create images on climate change impacts in two regions of Nigeria; the North (Kano State) and The Niger Delta (Rivers State).

It became imperative to do this project because science says that by the end of the century, the earth will become much warmer (at an average global temperature of around 5.8 degrees), if humans continue to release carbon (iv) oxide, CO2 without significant positive change.

Further studies have also shown that global warming could cause the death of around 150,000 people yearly owing to heat-related impacts around small island nations and in the developing world. We know these and more are already happening but their documentation thereof is sufficiently lacking.

Why this project?

This project took place to further improve existing education on climate change and to highlight some of its impacts in Nigeria. We hope to continue to broaden and enlighten the perception of documentary photographers to climate change and visual stories emerging thereafter will depict in clear language the impacts on people and the environment.

We hope that these images would spark up a need for urgent actions on the part of policymakers, community people, and citizens of the world to halt the contribution to global warming and especially fossil fuels extraction expansion plans by government, local and foreign investors.

Training and Documentation

In Kano, we visited a community in Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area an area that has suffered from serious gully erosion arising from deforestation, sand mining, and flooding. It lies between latitudes 110 901 and 120 271 North and longitudes 80 201 and 80 521 East with a total area of 479 km2. It is bordered to the North by Bichi Local Government Area, to the East by Makoda, Minjibir, and Ungoggo Local Government Areas, to the South by Tofa, and to the West by Bagwai Local Government Area.

Tofa community has lost many trees, and their agricultural lands have deteriorated resulting in low productivity. Our visit saw some of the holes dug for sand mining now acting as water storage for the community. To see this level of destruction was mind-blowing.

The government of Kano State was seen to have done some work to cushion the impacts of gully erosion in the area but the rate of destruction surpassed the work they have done.

At the Niger Delta Region

The Niger Delta as we know has suffered years of impact from activities that boost climate change (crude oil extraction). We revisited a community that was impacted by crude oil spills in 2016 to see if there was any positive significant change.

Sadly the story is the same.

The impact of environmental degradation on people and livelihoods is commonplace and hope seems a way off. Our visit took us to Bodo City, Korokoro, Eleme, and K-dere all in Rivers State. While visiting, we saw that the Nigerian government through HYPREP has commenced clean up of some sites as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP report on Ogoniland in 2011.

If crude oil extraction continues, we shall keep releasing Greenhouse gases and shall sentence more lives to death in Nigeria and the world at large.