The oil industry is damaging people’s health and the environment in Nigeria, and contributing to the violent conflict in the country, a leading African environmentalist says.

Time magazine’s “Hero of the Environment” 2009 Nnimmo Bassey speaks at the event “Black Culture: Standing Up for Justice and a Safe Environment for All”, which takes place in Glasgow, Saturday 21 November 7-9pm, at the Glasgow Social Centre 66 Osborne Street.

One of the oil companies practices, “gas flaring”, burning of excess gas when extracting crude oil directly damages the environment and emits toxic fumes.

Nnimmo Bassey said: “Gas flares are nothing short of crimes against humanity. They roast the skies, kill crops and poison the air.

“These evil gas stacks pump up greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, impacting the climate, placing everyone at risk. Gas flares go on because it is cheap to kill, as long as profits keep on the rise. That is the logic of Shell, Chevron and their cohorts.”

Widespread human rights violations connected to oil extraction have undermined traditional livelihoods, polluted the environment, damaged people’s health and contributed to violent conflict.

Community activists attempting to prevent further abuses and to bring public attention to these issues have faced violent reprisals from state security forces.

Dan Glass, Plane Stupid activist and one of the event organisers, said: “The crisis isn’t in 2010, 2020 or even 2050, it’s right now, right here.

“Today more than ever there is a need to take action on the common issues which keep us from achieving equality for all people. Increasing climate change means a widening gulf between those causing the problems and those having to bear the consequences.

“It is no accident that poor and black communities suffer the impacts of climate change first, from rising sea levels in Asia to noise and air pollution on our back doors.

“‘Why Black is the new Green’ is a unique coalition launch event between climate change, environmental justice and anti racist activists as we all fight for our rights to exist in a healthy environment. We are educating ourselves and building a movement relating global and local issues that mean something to our daily realities and taking action on climate injustice before its too late.”

Nnimmo Bassey is Chair of Friends of the Earth International and Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact:
Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland

T: 0131 243 2719

Notes to editors

“Black Culture: Standing Up for Justice and a Safe Environment for All” is A Friends of the Earth Scotland, African Caribbean Network, Glasgow Social Centre and DIY Education Collective event.
Other speakers at the event:
Able Miller of Skills Scotland Ltd – the recycling social enterprise and Zimbabwean refugee
Grasian Mkodzongi (Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations Scotland officer – but also an Agornomist from Zimbabwe)
Graham Campbell of African Caribbean Network
Dan Glass of Plane Stupid and DIY Education Collective for Environmental and Climate Justice
The event is FREE at Glasgow Social Centre, 66 Osborne Street.
 
Friends of the Earth Scotland exists to help people in Scotland look after the planet for everyone’s future. We think globally and act locally in Scotland, delivering solutions to climate change by enabling and empowering people to take both individual and collective action. We offer help to people with the big things in life – helping to sustain a healthy society and environment. We believe that all of our children’s futures will be better because of what we do. www.foe-scotland.org.uk