Green Me - my theme: OCEAN, LIFE, WATER

by Quadri Blessing, Lagos

This was an exciting opportunity for the Mundus maris Club of the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology (FCFMT) – to help reaching out to the wider College community and the whole of Victoria Island environs, Lagos. How? It already started by actively rallying for the Green Me Global Film Festival celebrating its maiden performance in Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday 1st April, 2016.

Then, on April 2, 2016, the Executive and members of the MM Club made an exhibition stand of Mundus maris in collaboration with Fishfulthinking Consult who brought some bowls with live fishes adding more colour. The Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) also put some of the past publications by their members on display. During the entire day, the stand became an attractive focal point for exchange.

Altogether, it was great fun playing out the synergies between the professors and young college students in their scientific studies of the ocean, its fisheries, oceanography and much else and the film producers approaching the ocean challenges with the very different means of their art.

The festival motto was “Ocean, Life, Water”. About thirty documentaries and feature films were screened in German and English. These were accompanied by various panel discussions, questions and answer sessions. The panelists were environmentalists, film makers and sustainability and renewable energy experts. This made the interactive sections of the programme very interesting. Unfortunately, the organisers could not find any documentary on the Ocean made by Nigerians for screening. That's a challenge for Nigerian film makers to be ready for the next edition!

As part of support to the festival, Prof. Stella Williams (Vice President/Executive Secretary of MM asbl), Dr. (Mrs) Adeogun, Mrs Abiodun Solanke, Mr Okekunle and Mr Elezuo (all staffs and representatives of Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology), Quadri Blessing (Immediate Past President of the MM Club), Jahnezim Bethel (President) and all other members of Executives and members of Mundus maris FCFMT Chapter took actively part as well as. All together, over 70 students of the College were in attendance.

As part of the programme, Prof. Williams and Quadri Blessing served as members of the “Ocean/WaterPanel”. They both gave oral presentations and answered questions that included information on rural area participation in the care and health of the water body. They also invited as many people as possible to compete in the forthcoming Mundus maris contest for World Oceans Day 2016.

Three feature films were shown in the Life Category: (i) Tunde Kelani’s Dazzling Mirrage; (ii) Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen’s Invasion 1897 and (iii) Dagogo Reeves Diminas Jack’s Stigma.

The Water Category screened four entries: (i) Jeta Amata’s Black November, (ii) OLOIBIRI by Right Angle Productions, and two documentaries (a) The Lady In the Water and (b) Nowhere to Run by 37TH STATE and Yar'Adua Foundation respectively. A BBC drama on oil pollution in the Niger Delta, Blood and Oil, as well as a documentary on renewable energy Green Energy for the Giant of Africa by Damon van der Linde were also shown.

OLOBIRI, a new film still in editing, was shown as the opening film, followed by Black November.

The Jury judged them as co-winners in the Water Category. Both focus on the pollution caused by spills from oil producing companies in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria and the destruction of land and livelihoods of the people living in the area. They illustrate how this destruction is further causing ailment and rise of youth insurgencies for the stoppage of oil production and the clean-up of their water bodies and land.

Well done Green Me Global Festival for Sustainability

With on-going global warming and the progressive destruction of the biosphere through pollution and land degradation, the festival made a good contribution to its objective of contributing to ecological restoration and preservation in an educational, yet entertaining manner. Thanks to the panels, forums and workshops, information and experiences were shared e.g. on causes of pollution, on prevention mechanisms and, most importantly, how to avoid further degradation.The festival went some way towards taking the message to the people, rather than wait for the people until it's too late and they become victims.

After mapping out a world tour in six countries on four continents, the Director for International Affairs, Mrs. Nkiru Niemann said: "The opportunities and amazing invitations by our worldwide partners project a great future for joining forces for the good cause of sustainability. My home country (Nigeria) is developing rapidly, and I am glad we got great support despite the fact of multiple pressuring societal challenges.

Our idea of offering a platform for people, experts and companies who want to commit or support sustainability hopefully entertains, informs and diversifies the perception of socioecological issues.“ Her words in everybody's ears and hearts!

Pictures by the author unless otherwise indicated.