This year the goal of Operation Day’s Work was to Support “Friends of the Earth Norway” and their youth organizations educational projects in the midst of the world’s largest oil disaster in Nigeria. We used “International day” to learn about the topic.
My task on “International day” was to pick two different subjects and study them, so I would be able to host a room where fellow students could gain information about my theme.
I choose the subject rooms; Social studies, where you had to compare your own situation with someone who grew up in Nigeria, and refugees in the crisis and the room where police officer Joachim Olsvik had a lecture about his service aboard the Siem Pilot, where he rescued refugees in the Mediterranean. Both these topics are interesting, and do show that pollution “half a world away”, can have ripple effects all the way to us here in Europe.
I started international day with reading up on my tasks, gaining information, and thereafter, I hosted my rooms for two hours each.
Outside the rooms, we had made informative posters, which made it easy for other students, and teachers to gain information about our subject.
In our social study room we decided to talk about human rights in Nigeria, and compare them to human rights in Norway. Both countries have large natural resources, Nigeria is about two and a half the size of Norway, but have a population of 178 million people, that is a big difference from Norway’s five million. We can turn on the kitchen fosset when we want and get a glass of water, we can fish in the many thousand lakes and rivers, and we do know, if any company, oil or other business, pollute, they will be held responsible for cleaning it up.
In Nigeria that is not the case, numerous large oil companies have had thousands of accidents over the years, a landmass, the size of Denmark is so polluted that it is not habituated anymore. Fish are dead in the lakes, ground water is so polluted it cannot be consumed by people, animals or plants, and nobody is taking responsibility.
Because the oil spillage impact on the ecosystem, one consequence is people leaving the affected areas, many of them poor, will seek fortune other places, some will even make it all the way to Europe. These people are environmental refugees, and according too many environment organizations worldwide, we are only seeing the beginning of these refugees. If steps are not being taken in Nigeria now, the country can loose as much as 40 % of the habitable landmass, imagine a hundred million environmental refugees from Nigeria only.
The whole day was really well organized, we all got our room numbers and schedules. We spent two busy hours in each room, and had many interested fellows students and teachers.
After finishing the two shifts we got some time to explore the other rooms, where we got information about the other themes.
I cannot say that there was one I did not like. All the different subjects was very interesting, and the effects of what happens in one part of the world can make an impact far away is really something to think about. Operation Day’s Work 2017 went to an important case!
Next year I think there should be made information flyers that could be posted online in advance of International Day so we can read up, and be even better prepared, because in my opinion, many of the students looked really lost. As of my own evaluation, I would say I did pretty good, I loved it, and I am already looking forward for next year!