Today is World Environment Day (WED) and we here at Green Ghanaian are taking the opportunity to shine light on the theme for this year and discuss how it applies to us here in West Africa.
A brief history
World Environment Day celebrations started in 1972 by the United Nations. Its used to ‘stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and encourage political attention and action’.
It has been celebrated in Ghana over the past few years with themes like “Many Species, One Ghana, One Future” in 2010, Forests: nature at your service in 2011 and “Green Economy: Does it include you?” last year.
The global theme for this year’s celebration is Think.Eat.Save. It’s a campaign by the UN Environment Programme against food waste and food loss. “According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted.” One thing the campaign seeks to emphasize is that “if food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost.” This is a serious implication considering the fact that “global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.” A timely theme indeed!
Why Ghanaians should Think.Eat.Save.
This current global theme of Think.Eat.Save. is an interesting one. It is mainly a western world problem to have people throwing lots of food away. Here in Ghana many homes feed whatever food scraps they have left over to their livestock. Also, we don’t have laws that impede the sale of fruits and vegetables that don’t look perfect as many European countries do. One issue we truly do have is the lack of storage facilities for harvested crops and poor road networks from the farming communities to commercial towns and cities. This is what accounts for most of our food waste and can result in unnecessary shortage of food. I think that government should recommit to solving these issues. Not only for the good of the environment but also for the progress of our economy.
World Environment Day Ghana Style
Looking for something to do locally? According to the UNEP website, there are a few events happening in Ghana.
In Accra, the Green Earth Organization will have a press conference and tree planting exercise.
In Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region, Greenlove Ghana will be planting mango seedlings along the banks of the Pumpum stream (the main water source for the Kintampo waterfalls). They will also clean the surroundings of the waterfalls. Mango seedlings will be distributed to schools in the Kintampo township to promote environmental ethics in the students.
In Tema, the Environmental Health Club will have an Eco-Health Awareness Walk. With banners and placards, the Hon. Kofi Brako, the Member of Parliament for Tema Central will lead their campaign to promote plastic waste separation and recycling.
In the eastern region, the Okyenhene (Chief of Okyeman) Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin chairs the Okyeman Environment Foundation which is celebrating Okyeman Environment Week in the Apinaman/Dwenase Traditional Areas of the Denkyembour District of Akyem Abuakwa. They will climax the week with an environment durbar on Thursday, June 6, 2013 to mark today’s World Environment Day (WED). Their week included tree-planting exercises, educational workshops from the EPA and forestry services division as well as a children’s environment bazaar. Its particularly worth noting that they have themed their celebration differently that what is being used globally: “Promoting Sustainable Use of Natural Resources”. I think this is commendable of the chief considering the fact that it resonates much stronger with environmental issues faced in the Eastern Region such as illegal mining and land grabs
So, get out there and participate if you have the chance. And if not, participate on social media. Use the hashtags #WED2013 and #KeepGhanaGreen to voice your opinions and reflect on the state of our country’s environment. The theme calls for a push from us…How does Think.Eat.Save. apply to where you live or your lifestyle?? Our environmental problems range from deforestation to illegal mining to coastal pollution and impacts of climate change. Have your say.