The Big Picture
By Emmanuel Ogwuche
2019 CoalitionWILD Ambassador
My project “Waste to Gold” was spurred by an incident that happened at a rice husk dumpsite. The remains of a child were found after she was reported to be playing at the rice mill. She joined her mother on that faithful day not knowing that it was going to be her last. Similarly, the burning of this rice husk was also not the best solution for energy as a lot of carbon and unused heat is wasted and released into the atmosphere. These occurrences set me off thinking as an environmentalist. I knew the environmental health implications of burning rice husks, and also was fully aware of the immense potential that was being misused as an alternative to charcoal.
Working towards an innovative project to put an end to felling of trees for the purpose of making charcoals as an energy source is not an easy task because it requires a total commitment and emotional intelligence to work with the many active parties involved in the charcoal business. My vision is to create a world where plant material waste will be used as an energy source and to leverage on the ongoing promotion of youth involvement in agricultural activities in Nigeria. The work will be built on partnerships and collaboration to create both small and large collective impact for nature nationwide. This project will create economic gains, improve the health status and lifespan of females, create social and environmental change, and promote the culture of conservation. This project will also make products available to be sold to the public.
My passion to create new protections for nature, waste management, good health, and wealth creation has driven me to pursue the project of turning waste to gold. The rate of deforestation is alarming as trees are cut down indiscriminately without replacement Environmental degradation, health issues faced by many in across communities, and poverty has also inspired me to find solutions to all these problems. It is my belief that, with the right leadership, mentorship, networks and partnerships, we can reduce deforestation, use clean energy, increase the gains in harnessing natural resources, prevent accidental deaths, and promote good health among the youths who are the future of the world.
Emmanuel is a 2019 CoalitionWILD Ambassador from Nigeria. His project, Waste to Gold, is working to create awareness in collecting waste to produce combustible materials in place of charcoal for household use and to encourage forest protection.