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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