#VLOGGING4FORESTS: YOUTH ADVOCATING FOR FORESTS USING THE LATEST IN VIDEO
Oluwaseun Adekugbe is 25-year-old forestry student at the Federal University of Technology of Akure in Nigeria and a member of the International Forestry Students’ Association. Studying forestry was not an obvious choice for Adekugbe, and her family and friends criticized her preference for a career in a field that was neither important, nor able to provide a secure source of income.
“People in Nigeria still have very limited information about the importance of forests,” she said. “They do not valorize forests. They just see them as a means to make a living, not as something you need to protect. But we all see the changes. When I was a child, I travelled to the village of my grandparents during the holidays and I loved spending time in nature and in the forest. I remember how nice the weather was, how nice it was to rest in the shade, but now the forests in their village are almost gone.”
Passionate about forests, she decided to take up forestry studies, despite the criticism, and to acquire the necessary skills to become a knowledge broker in the interface between forestry and climate change. When she heard about the opportunity to vlog for forests with UN-REDD, she started her first vlog immediately.
“I feel a strong need to share simple stories that will increase people’s knowledge on the importance of forests”Oluwaseun Adekugbe
“I feel a strong need to share simple stories that will increase people’s knowledge on the importance of forests,” says Oluwaseun Adekugbe. “Since people tend to believe what they see more than what they hear, vlogging is a good way to raise awareness.”
As young people increasingly take the lead in climate action, UN-REDD has joined forces with the International Forestry Students’ Association to give students a platform to share their views, ideas and stories on forest protection. In December 2019, youth vloggers attended the fifteenth Conference of Youth and the twenty-fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change in Madrid to immerse themselves in discussions on nature-based solutions and forests and to share information through their own personal perspectives using the hashtag #vlogging4forests.
“Participating in COY and COP was an amazing experience for me,” says Adekugbe. “I met so many people from all over the world. It was amazing to see how many young people are engaged in advocating for climate change. I learned a lot about forests and how they can contribute to the fight against climate change, and I received a lot of positive feedback from family and friends. Vlogs can tell you many things in simple ways. Through vlogging, we can get people’s attention while also protecting the forests. I would like to continue raising my voice and vlog for forests and get more youth involved.”
UN-REDD will continue working with youth vloggers in 2020 as part of a broader youth engagement strategy. All vlogs are posted on the International Forestry Students’ Association’s YouTube channel.