AUN Professor Sets Nigeria’s Development Agenda
Nigeria should go beyond pursuing traditional development projects to more sustainable ones, advised Dr. Charles Reith of the American University of Nigeria. The Professor and Director of Sustainability Initiatives was speaking during the first-year experience seminar held on Monday, September 17.
He explained that when natural resources are exploited for development, this naturally results in adverse side-effects such as pollution, resource depletion, and inequity. The need, therefore, arises for sustainable, environmentally responsible and resource-efficient development–one that “meets the need of present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
He added, “If a country like Nigeria sets aside some revenue from its finite natural resources such as fossil fuels and minerals to reinvest it into solar panels and sustainable tourism, this will better represent the interest of the next generation more than ‘spending’ the resources on consumables such as SUVs and private jets. When finite resources are frivolously consumed, the next generation’s needs are jeopardized because the natural resources will be depleted…and once they are gone, it takes centuries to replenish [them]!”
He said Nigeria’s potential renewable resources such as fresh air, fresh water, fertile soil, plants and animals need better care because their depletion will threaten the country’s capacity to provide its growing populations with food and other resources needed to fight poverty. He noted that the term “sustainability” has gone beyond economics to include resources and environment and stressed that “only when these are used in a way that does not result in damage or depletion can development be called sustainable.”
At the top of the sustainability agenda is the University’s recycling project which will get students involved in designing and running the recycling business before they turn it over to the community. AUN is on the path of getting international recognition through its “exciting sustainability initiatives.” Already, the University is one of the first sub-Saharan universities in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
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