I toss and turn in bed, wishing this day didn't come so fast, but it's here and sad as I feel, I've got to wake up, get ready and enjoy my day. It's my last day on the award tour. Today starts with a long trip away from Denver to Boulder, Colorado. Driving was exciting, as Steve and Irene gave me a tour and didn't fail to point out the wind turbines fanning far away from our spot.
Today, I am visiting KGNU radio, meeting with the staff, and joining in the production of KGNU's science show "How on Earth”. The production team is a group of volunteers who have a curiosity and passion for science. We met with Jim Pullen, who took us round the studios. The studios remind me of where I'm coming from, Aso Radio in Nigeria. KGNU is more of a community radio, as Aso is primarily a grassroots radio. I got the chance to record some station IDs, and had an interview with Jim. Moments like this, make me feel like such a superstar. The interview as usual focused on my award, my work and my country. Everyone wants to know a lot about Nigeria, especially about how we are managing the Islamist group, Boko Haram. I talk about our problems, beauty, prospects and above all, about how all Nigerian streets are not danger zones, like most foreigners assume.
Right after my interview, Jim, Steve and I head to the University of Colorado, Boulder to meet with Professors Maxwell Boykoff and Deserai Anderson Crow, from the Center for Environmental Journalism and Environmental Studies. The center was established in 1992 to enrich public understanding of environmental issues by elevating the quality, range and depth of coverage by journalists. I was able to hear about projects the center is working on, especially on research. I was alo presented with a book, Who Speaks for the Climate? by Maxwell Boykoff.
Next stop was lunch with the KGNU staff. I've never seen such passion in volunteers. These people have worked for many years, some for up to 30 years without any salary. Will my country develop this kind of volunteerism ever? Hmmmmm.....
I enjoyed chatting away with Susan Moran, Nikki Kayser and mama Judy Phelps Feland.
On our way back, we stopped by the NCAR National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder. It was a great opportunity to see how climate science works. I literally touched our atmosphere. I touched a cloud, created lightning, built up a storm/tornado. Seeing how the climatic system works paints a clearer picture of how connected our planet really is, and how a little change in Granby, Colorado, can affect a farmer in my community in Imo State Nigeria, and verse versa. Lastly, I have dinner with Irene and Steve in Panzano restaurant, picked because of their passion for sustainability. On the back page of the menu, there is a long list of their sustainability work.
I noticed that cities, individuals and businesses in all the cities I have visited are becoming sustainable. In spite of all the skepticism , people are realizing that it's better to do it the right way. This message of sustainability is what I will carry along to my country, Nigeria. The world is going green, and may not need our oil any more. What is our alternative? How can our resources be managed better for the future generation? At the rate we are wasting (world over), what will be left for my daughter and her friends? I keep reflecting on these, trying to find answers, and then the pilot interrupts with his final announcement. We are a few minutes from touch down into Nigeria. I'm back to a new life in the mega city Lagos, and open to new opportunities.
It's been an amazing 2 weeks of gaining more knowledge, seeing new places and meeting great people.
Special thanks to UNEP and the US State Department. This opportunity you made possible has changed my career and my life positively. Thanks to Bryan Coll, Lamese Hassan, Steve and Irene Lawrence, Lynn Sywyj....you made it all the more awesome.