The tweet chat on climate change administered by Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) is part of a broader plan of setting agenda for public discussion and advocacy for deliberate policy formulation and climate action to ensure a better Africa.
Despite acknowledgements of reasons for heightened climate change and the need for effective interventions, public discourse on climate change remains very low in Nigeria specifically. Where it abounds, it is structured among the scientific community and development experts.
Knowledge of climate change is significantly low among various groups of people, including journalists and opinion leaders, who ought to educate the general public and demand action and accountability from decision makers. This has led to a very low level of attention and action by the public and decision makers.
AMDF believes a change in people’s behaviours and attitudes on climate change can significantly reduce and prevent its threats, especially arising from human activities. Hence the need for conscious and deliberate project to trigger and sustain media action and civic engagements on creating an environmental discourse within the public sphere on climate change till those in authority and in the communities begin to take decisions and responsibilities that will be evident in their knowledge, attitude and practice.
To achieve this, journalists and bloggers as conveyors of messages will be engaged, sensitised and trained to communicate climate change as an issue requiring urgent action.
The gains of training the media on framing climate change messages cannot be overemphasized; as the information shared could either get the people involved positively or just see climate change as a looming disaster; feeling incapacitated to take action to mitigate such. Rather the self-efficacy of the individual, households and civic bodies about taking action for climate change needs to be built and strengthened.
The AMDF tweet chat on climate change welcomes Twitter novices and experts alike to join the conversation. The chats will be kept simple—easier to pick up by both novices and experts.
AMDF believes that the chat will harness the global reach of the twitter to connect like-minded people in a real-time conversation.
The tweet chat will offer us opportunity for informative, informal discussions with like minds and advocates, plus the chance to network among peers and promote latest research.
Often, conversations that begin on Twitter turn into lasting connections when fellow Twitter users meet face to face.
The last set of people to engage in the course of the project in Nigeria is the opinion leaders. The coalition of opinion leaders, comprising of civil society members, traditional and religious leaders, trade union leaders, women and youth leaders promises to be an effective voice in influencing positive climate action among the people. They are also strong in advocating and demanding positive actions from decision makers. Hence, engaging opinion leaders will not only lead to change in policies but also create a roadmap for climate action among rural communities who are the most vulnerable and least able to adapt to climate change.