In June 2004 I left Ghana to study to become a computer scientist. Seven years (and many twists and turns) later, I’ve finally returned home… but as a final year environmental science and technology student. How my twists and turns landed me in this field is another story for another day but what is important is that I came to Ghana with a mission – to explore Ghana’s environment and investigate avenues for proper management and restoration practices.
Throughout my stay in the States I have always maintained the perspective that whatever I become in life should be of use to Ghana… and I’ve come to learn that issues of the environment are the most important of all. Why? Because as Africans we have been blessed with the best in nature and her resources. We have the richest treasures of the earth and we must safeguard them. We owe this to mother nature herself, we owe this to our ancestors who have kept it well for us all these centuries, and we owe it to the generations of the future.
As a developing nation with a stable economy we are also at an advantage. Most western nations have established the infrastructure of their countries on hard engineering principles that didn’t take the environment into account. Instead of looking at what nature had to offer them and building upon that, they forced ecosystems to suit their needs and now they are paying the price. The climate change/green campaign that has become the craze of the day is a desperate effort to hold the earth from caving in on all the pressures it’s enduring. Industries polluting the air and water, agriculture draining the soils and wiping out the forests, animal and plant species constantly becoming endangered and extinct… all are results of the human race subduing the earth. A developing nation such as Ghana has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the West and preserve its environment while building its infrastructure. Green technologies and proper waste management strategies can lead Ghana to be a model nation for Africa and the world.
No one has all the answers to the ailments we have inflicted upon Mother Earth but the perpetrators of climate change (the West) have channeled a lot of money into finding as many solutions as possible. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for us) many of these solutions can only be implemented in the developing world where rigid infrastructure and concreted attitudes aren’t a hindrance. As Africans, we are the worst impacted by the effects of climate change. The services that our ecosystems provide to us are priceless and even when quantified by scientists are beyond what we could ever pay. There is a huge opportunity for improvement but certain things need to be in order to ensure success.
One thing that most African countries (including Ghana) lack is organized statistical data and detailed mapping. It is important to have informational statistics such as population growth, energy use, species populations and what various ecosystems exist. Detailed mapping of the country’s water ways, wetlands, and landscapes aid in the implementation of appropriate technology. These are necessary to be able to assess the extent of environmental degradation and outline prospects for restoration and proper management of existing ecosystems.
So why did I come home? As an intern with Energy Solutions Foundation – Ghana, I will begin my little effort in the fight against environmental degradation in Ghana. I will be assisting in promoting low-cost renewable energy technologies in rural areas, participating in a fund-raising campaign for a biofuel plant and helping expand the profile of the NGO.
In addition to this, I will begin gathering existing data in the above mentioned sectors under the guidance of ESF’s founder, Golda Addo. You can read more about ESF at www.energysolutionsghana.com and you can follow Golda’s blog on all her environmental efforts at www.SavingGhana.blogspot.com Please show support in any way you can! You can stay updated with me by following me on twitter @GreenGhanaian