Friday, December 25, 2009

Green Seasonal Greetings

As part of the world plunges into religious and holiday celebrations today and the next few days, I entreat each and every one to remember to be kind to mother earth.

Remember to switch off the lights and other electrical appliances as you go to the churches and clubs and beaches. Some more walking and cycling will save us some CO2 emissions.

Instead of the artificial "Christmas Trees" with the twinkling lights, why don't we rather plant some beautiful tree flowers? These will last, not only for the season, but also throughout the next year and beyond, not to mention the CO2 absorption.

Hmmmmm......some food for thought.

Wishing all my readers a wonderful season.

May the good Lord richly bless you all.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Obama Arrives in Copenhagen: Last Day of Climate Talks

President Barack Obama addresses the House Dem...

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U.S. President Barak Obama this morning arrived at the Copenhagen for the crucial final talks at the climate summit. He will later meet with the Danish Premier and other world leaders at the summit.

With today being the last day of the summit, observers think that the US and China are the most significant nations as far as the talks are concerned.

Sources confirm that the negotiators have been working throughout the night to come to a deal. It is still however not clear whether there can be an agreement by the close of today, though there are some optimistic views. One of the main issues still remaining a debate is how concrete the money deal between the developed and developing nations will be. If the developed are to pay the $100 billion annually to 2020 to developing countries (to fight climate change), one can definitely be sure of how much say the developed would want to have in terms of how the monies would be used, and how much of such influence the developing nations would be willing to allow.

It is however important to note that a deal of any sort today is better than nothing at all.

Deal or No Deal?  We'll find out sooner.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Copenhagen Police Clash with Climate Protesters

Information from the Danish capital indicate that some angry protesters who were attempting to break into the conference building and disrupt the talks have clashed with the police.

The police had to fire tear gas into the angry protesters to disperse them, a few of whom had broken through the barricades outside the Bella Centre, (the cconference centre).

Acording to Yahoo News, officers also had to use dogs, truncheons and pepper spray to push back the protesters and have arrested at least 230 people.

These protests come amidst divided factions at the conference, where the developed and the developing nations seem to be at two extreme ends of the world on an agreement. While the developing countries are calling for higher sums from their developed counterparts, there is no indication that the developed nations are in such a "money releasing mood".

In a related news, the UN President, Ban Ki-moon, has chided the negotiating countries at the talks for what he describes as "pointing of fingers" by the negotiators. He urged them to resolve their differences and warned of how big a mistake it would be to leave the decision to the world leaders who arrive later this week.

As the clock ticks towards the end of the summit we ask ourselves: Where are these talks going? Can there be a deal? What do the world leaders bring to the table?

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Copenhagen Police Clash with Climate Protesters

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Can There Be A Deal?

View in Botanisk Have (University of Copenhage...Image via Wikipedia
Last night, representatives at the Copenhagen Climate Conference had to struggle through the night to salvage the talks, which for sometime now have been thrown into some bit of "chaos". It is reported that a group of African nations walked out of the conference and withdrew their co-operation, accusing the developed countries of bias in their approach to the talks. The group, which received a backing from the G77 countries (comprising 130 developing countries),  staged this walkout yesterday morning to register their displeasure with the lack of progress at the talks and also against what they describe as an attempt by the developed world to "ditch" the Kyoto Protocol. And this was enough to bring the talks into a temporary suspension.

According to Penny Wong, the Australian climate change minister, the walkout was "regrettable", insisting that it was "a walkout over process and form, not a walkout over substance". "This is not the time for people to play procedural games. We need to resolve the process issues and get onto the substance," she added.

Contrary to this, the Algerian chief negotiator for the African group, Mr. Kamel Djemouai,  told reporters that rich nations' opposition to a continuation of Kyoto meant they were willing "to accept the death of the only one legally binding instrument that exists now" to cut emissions.

On the BBC 08:00 GMT today he had two main questions to ask; "If there is a new treaty, when will the treaty be ratified and who will ensure that it is indeed ratified?".

With only a few days to the end of the summit, we ask ourselves whether there can actually be a deal by way of a legally binding outcome, amidst the many major issues that still need to be resolved.

Time will tell.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Where Does Africa Stand?

Landscape of Casamance Region, southern SenegalImage via Wikipedia

Vietnam exports 25% of its rice to Africa. The major importers are Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal.

Due to climate change, hot weather conditions are causing sea levels to rice in Vietnam.
Vietnam's rice farms are being affected by salty waters from the sea. What will happen if this trend continues? A possible revenue loss for Vienam? Loss of livelihood for rice farmers? An imminent food shortage in Africa and Vietnam? Hunger? Deaths?

Time is up for a change.
Nature is life. The environment is our life. Protect Nature, Protect the Environment, Protect our Lives. Green is the word - The last stop must be Copenhagen!
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Green - The New Global Big Deal

As I listened to the 08:00 BBC news yesterday morning, I was saddened by a comment passed by a man who was being interviewed about what he thinks concerning the Climate Talks in Copenhagen.

He said "I kind of like it when it's hot, so I really think nothing should be done about the environment". Huh, what have I got to say, I just think otherwise, like many of you do, I hope. I believe the time is up – the deadline is Copenhagen and failure is not an option.

To the world leaders, I hope you will put aside all
interests and push for a politically binding agreement on
emission cuts.

Posterity is watching us.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

How green is your tomorrow?

After a long sleep I am awake to the call of Blog Action Day ‘09, which is focused on Climate Change. So what am I gonna about some green technology news that I have been following so far.

In one of the very few posts I have made, I talked about the importance of jatropha and the fact that Ghana, and its government, and maybe Africa, is not

taking this seriously. Can you believe that even the airlines are taking this order?

In January this year, Continental Airlines, the fourth largest United States-based airline, used a fuel blend made from algae and the jatropha plant to power an unmodified, twin-engine Boeing 737-800 jet.

A statement from Continental Airlines said that the test flight, which took off without incident around 12:15 p.m. (Houston time) on January 7, 2009, at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, lasted about 90 minutes. And what is their mission? “To have member-carriers use 10% alternative fuels by 2017 to reduce global warming.” Sweeeeet ! Read more? Barely a year ago, Air New Zealand, the flag-carrier airline of New Zealand and the country’s biggest airline, flew a Boeing 747-400 plane that used a 50-50 blend of oil derived from the jatropha plant and conventional fuel in one of the jumbo jet’s four engines. How does that sound?

And what’s the good news for Africa? Jatropha is limited to warm climates only (according to a 2009 research by Boeing). I rest my case.

How about Imagine searching the web and saving the planet at the same time. Ecocho is a free service, and it's one of the easiest ways people can change everyday behaviour to make a positive impact on the environment.

When you search on, the company is able to raise enough money (through ads) to buy carbon offsets which are then used to plant trees to offset carbon pollution emissions.

Wondering how this works?. The company says that for every 1000 searches, monies that are raised from adverts on the returned pages are used to purchase carbon offsets capable of planting two trees. Within a year, two trees have the capacity to suck out 1 ton of CO2 from the atmosphere. And you don’t have to worry about the quality of search because it is based on Yahoo!’s search technology. I think you could do something too........

To wrap up, and like I said earlier on, today is Blog Action Day, an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. This year was dedicated to climate change, and how awesome that was.

So there you go. This is the little piece I could do for mother earth today. What about you? How green is your tomorrow? What legacy are you leaving behind? The ball is in your court...take over.....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What are you doing?

Readwide Ghana Limited, the major sponsors of the weekly “What Do You Know” quiz contest on Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), did a very good job by focusing this week’s contest on environmental issues. The Sunday 22nd March edition of the popular contest was held in commemoration of World Water Day. The three-round contest focused on several topics related to water and its management. One question, to which none of the contestants was able to provide an answer, was: “In which ways can water pollution be compounded?” As usual, every subject area has its own wide array of terminologies. All the contestants assumed that “compounded” meant curtailed, prevented, reduced or solved, as their responses proved. Apparently, “compounded” in this context meant “worsened”. The National Quiz Master, Dan Afare Yeboah, therefore provided responses like; increasing population, urbanization and improper sanitation measures. At the end of the three-round keenly contested competition, Alhassan Hassan of the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana topped with 21 points. Samuel of UEW, Samuel Dwumoh of CUC, Daniel Aboagye, formerly of UCC, and Swala Abubakari of UG were 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.

So why would I write this on this blog. I believe it’s about time individuals, corporate society and the government took steps to improve water and environmental sanitation. I think that focusing an episode of the popular contest on water issues was a very good initiative worth commending.

However, there is a lot more that can be done. With only two months to the commemoration of the World Environment Day, the government, NGOs and private bodies can take several initiatives to promote the environmental sustainability agenda. Essay competitions focused on several aspects of environmental sustainability can be organized for the various levels of the education in Ghana, the results of which should not be left on the shelves. What about a national clean-up exercise on one Saturday in June? This may seem complex, but if the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei-Tutu II, could use one day to promote such an exercise in Kumasi, why can’t the rest of the nation do same?

The power of individuals is very important. Sometime in July 2008, my colleague, Emmanuel Kofi Gavu, who was then a Teaching assistant at the Land Economy Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (and now a masters student at ITC, Netherland), undertook project dubbed “Waste to Wealth”. He was able to sensitize some primary and junior secondary students of the Ayeduase Catholic School in Kumasi, Ghana, to learn how to convert waste into useful products. One of the primary pupils used rubber and polythene bags he had picked from the ground to produce a “soccer ball”. What if there were tools to make this ball a long lasting one? Wouldn’t that be helpful to the environment? Like Mr. Gavu, many individuals in Ghana and Africa can undertake similar and more advanced programmes to promote environmental sustainability.

My question to you as an individual is what are you doing to protect, conserve and sustain the environment? This June 5, what concrete activities will the government be undertaking, apart from the usual paper presentations on World Environment Days?

I congratulate Alhassan Hassan on winning the contest, and Mr. Gavu on the success of his project.

What are you doing about our environment?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stop Global Warming

It is not surprising that there is so much talk about the environment in recent times. The world is deteriorating more rapidly than we thought. The effects of this are catastrophic. The signs: “melting glaciers, heat waves, rising seas (eg. Keta, in the Volta Region of Ghana), trees flowering earlier (even ripe fruits are not as sweet as they used to be-either the cause of the environment or they were forced to ripen with chemicals) and extinction of species - when was the last time you saw or heard about a parrot? The unmistakable signs of climate change are everywhere.

I was inspired to write this after I read an article in the June 2008 edition of the National Geographic magazine ("Where We Go", written by Bill McKibben. The objective is to draw Ghanaians' and mankind’s attention to environmental sustainability. Our planet is fast deteriorating and we must help safeguard it.

As a society we are faced with the biggest problem humans have ever made for ourselves - global warming. In our various efforts to improve our standards of living and create wonderful habitats for ourselves, we have ended up causing irreparable damage to the environment that sustains us. Many studies have correctly asserted that the root of this is carbon emissions.

From the African point of view, it may seem that we emit less than the East and West and therefore we are not in so much danger. However, we here in Ghana can talk of numerous intances where we noticed much pollution, and in fact we shook our heads, complaining or wishing it were not so. Whereas the Americas and the like are even reducing the use of high fuel consuming luxury vehicles, it is interesting that we have chosen to use them. There are plenty of changes we need to make in our habits as well as technology. We need to reduce the use of luxury vehicles which consume much fuel and use more ceiling fans instead of the AC.

We need to develop new solar panels rather than rely on thermal plants. We need to get out of the cars and do more walking and biking - a healthier society! Farmers (and for that matter, the Ministry of Agriculture) are encouraged to stop the use of petroleum based pesticides and fertilizers. We need to adopt climate friendly ways of producing fuel. For example “about 40 percent of Brazil’s transportation fuel now comes from ethanol, (gotten from sugarcane) which generates up to 90 percent less CO2 than gasoline.

With the recent discovery of oil in Cape Three Points, we need to adopt environmantally friendly measures that can help sustain the Ghanaian environment. For now, we are all thinking of the money, and not the environment.

Quite recently, Ghana was fortunate to discover with others that one of our "our childhood playing plants", JATROPHA, can be used to produce fuel for vehicle consumption. Unfortunatly, the government, as usual in Africa, paid deaf ear to this and we do not hear much about it anymore.

Gloobal warming is on the increase, and its resultant effects are a great danger to human, animal and plant species. Hence, the need for environmental sensitivity & sustainability cannot be overemphasized, and the fact that we need to halt carbon emissions as soon as possible is non-negotiable. Once we have played a bigger role in changing the earth’s climate, we should be part of the solution as well.

I therefore humbly call on all Ghanaians to act in our own little way to save the planet. Stop wasting fuel, electricity, water and improper refuse disposal. Can we all "Zoomlionise" a bit?

God bless our homeland Ghana

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