#Change: How Joshua Gabriel Oluwaseyi is Using Social Media To Educate GenZ on the Climate Movement
Updated: Jun 25
Chest compressions and allergies to pollution fumes were the start of Joshua's changemaker journey. At 18 years old, Joshua Gabriel Oluwaseyi founded LEARNBLUE, an international youth-led nonprofit organization creating awareness, and inspiring individual actions against global environmental issues that threaten our planet.
Through social media campaigns, such as the #ForACleanerNation campaign, Joshua has used one of the widest means of communication to educate Gen-Z about climate change and the environment and inspire them to create their own movements and impact.
What started off as a Twitter thread, after seeing the state of a stagnant drainage channel filled with styrofoam packs, plastic, and non-biodegradable waste in Lagos, turned into a 3-week clean-up movement with over 100,000 retweets, donations from over 1000 people, and over 100 participants.
I knew this was bad and dangerous. This was more than a climate change issue; this was a health hazard. I wrote a Twitter thread speaking about how this was bad and how it affects personal health - waterborne diseases, pollution. I asked friends to retweet it and it started to pick up steam!
After the creation of this climate movement campaign on social media, Joshua wrote to the Lagos State Government and created the #ForACleanerLagos Campaign, an official Lagos state campaign, to sensitize and encourage young people to keep the city clean.
Although LEARNBLUE had been created before this, this campaign was a proof of concept; proof that real change could be made through social media.
Now, at 22 years old, Joshua is a statistics student, Nigerian environmentalist, communications expert, climate activist, and storyteller. His greatest achievement though, is his appointment as the only African in the Teen Vogue 21 Under 21 Honoree in 2021, an appointment he knew nothing about and did not apply for. A close second was his role as Keynote Speaker at the Global Impact Conference which came to be through a simple email Joshua wrote.
His journey, however, is not without its trials. One of Joshua's biggest lessons is learning the 'why?' behind your impact project in a sector, the development sector, that is not too kind to youth.
1 in 10 young people are willing to start an NGO, 1 in 3 make it to a year running a non-profit, and 1 in 2 keep going.
After taking a gap year and having time to himself to reevaluate what impact he was trying to make and the change he wanted to see, Joshua restarted the work of LEARNBLUE, renewed and ready to rebuild, regroup and come back stronger.
It is important to understand what motivates you. Defining your 'why?' at an early stage is important.
Beyond the mental strain of impact work, Joshua believes that the lack of access to opportunities is also a hindrance to young Africans in the impact space.
Africans do not have access to as many opportunities as our counterparts who are doing less or have not achieved as much as we have.
This is why Joshua's greatest triumph is getting access to opportunities and opening doors for others to get the same opportunities.
Now, LEARNBLUE, through its four-pronged model, Educate, Activate, Petition, and Reiterate, continues to create and curate social media campaigns tailored to amplify environmental conversations.
Change can mean changing your behaviour to a more sustainable one, changing your habits to reduce your carbon footprint. It is whatever actions people are taking that directly or indirectly make the world a better place.
LEARNBLUE's motto is simple 'Change begins with us,' and they continue to build awareness on climate change, environmental issues, and how young people can change the world, all as a reminder that change begins with you. Want to listen to the full episode? Click this link or press play below!
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WRITTEN BY Chizulu Uwolloh.
'Zulu is a writer, self-proclaimed bibliophile, lawyer, and international development passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities. Zulu Uwolloh is a lawyer and international development professional. She is also the founder of Kurerie, a digital platform, and community that amplifies the voices of youth making an impact in their communities. Kurerie educates young people on how they can become active stakeholders in the achievement of the SDGs. She is passionate about showing young people that they can change the world with the smallest actions.
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