Dear 350,

I live in Lagos, Nigeria.
I heard about 350 around August last year while I was volunteering at LEAP Africa. My boss was as passionate as I was about it as she had heard about 350 in Sweden too, so she asked that I organise a 350 action for Lagos State.

Though LEAP Africa is not an environmentally-oriented organisation, we were able to do the best we could: organise a 350-man relay race at a park opposite the Ministry of Environment in Alausa, Lagos.

The problem here is, climate change is the least of things that people worry about, it is even worse here in Lagos, a place that should care about protecting her environment more than any where else in Africa or the world.

Not very many people turned up for the relay race, so we had 35 people run around the park 10 times, in honor of the 350 theme.

I’m passionate about my environment. I know the air I breathe in is bad and unclean, most people know, they worry about it, but no one is ready to spark the action that will cause the change. The reason is clear, everybody thinks it’s easier, cheaper and faster to destroy the ozone layer, than to save it.
Each family generates it’s own power with diesel or petrol generators that emit CO2 even more than 10 trucks per hour because solar panels are ‘not just in vouge’. Everybody who can afford a car buys one, and it’s not as much for status-climbing than it is for the simple reason, there aren’t any other safer options…the list is endless.

A 350 campaign in Lagos is more about challenging the government than it is about challenging the masses. Challenging the government to provide stable power supply, alternative means of transport, drainage facilities…the list is endless.

There’s no limit to the kind of change a major 350 action can spark in Lagos, in Nigeria, in Africa, and all over the world.

As I type this message, I’m powering my computer with electricity from my personal gasoline generator. I ask myself, ‘how can I be a 350 messenger if instead of reducing the 387ppm, I add a tiny fraction so often instead?’.  It sends me on a major guilt trip.

I cannot do this alone. I keep struggling to find the people in power that believe in 350 enough to want to do their jobs. I’m still searching.
I do the best I can. I wish I could just tell people to park their cars and trek impossible distances to save the ozone layer, or to turn off their generators and stay in the dark day and night, or to turn out the lights even when they know how it makes them feel secure that their 400watt security lamp is on and no armedrobber can get past it, or to save up their money and construct drainage pipes and canals with it instead of saving up for their kids’ tuition, or to…

I look forward to organising the biggest 10/10/10 get to work action ever! I am positive it’ll be big in Lagos. I don’t know how yet. It’s just one of those things you believe because it’s impossible for you not to.

Omowunmi Akinde.