| As Eco-generation ambassador to Africa, I desire to engage children and youth to test their knowledge on global warming in Ghana. Just yesterday, I was at the New Edubiase District Assembly School to talk about Global Warming – to my surprise none of the junior high school students knew about Green House Gases and the Greenhouse effect. Today, I took up any task to visit rural community school where major economic activity is agriculture. It was a long ride to the rural community and I was welcomed by lots of children between the ages of 10 – 17 years.
I introduced myself as Tunza Ambassador and begun questioning them on general environmental sustainability (recycle, reuse, recovery, reduce and refuse), hygiene and sanitation. Later we all discussed pollution – air, water and land. Following that, we launched into air pollution as a topic and discussed much further details. Although a rural community school, this school had a fair knowledge about global warming and greenhouse gases. They however had a misconception on Greenhouse effect and Global Warming. They attributed Global Warming to superstitious roots such as Gods punishing men for their sinful deeds and a few also mentioned that they have not experienced any increase in temperature over the past years, thus to them, everything is okay.
At this point, my challenge was how to transform the mind-set of these little ones from superstition to science and logic. I had to take them back to Greenhouse effect and its relation to modernization. I also initiated a global perspective of global warming rather than just looking at it from the weather condition of just a small rural community. Additionally, I had to clear the scepticism of their teachers such that they can give examples of changes in weather condition since their childhood until now that they are adults.
At the end of the day, the children agreed that contributors to atmospheric carbon are now diversified and nonpoint rather than their initial thought that mankind and burning of wood for charcoal was the only source for carbon emissions. Also, they agreed that there is an ongoing warming climate following a brilliant example of reduction in local river channels given by their teachers.
I received a lot of questions from the students:
1. Why is Earth the only habitable planet to Man
2. How is Global Warming related to sanitation related diseases?
3. Can burning rubbish increase Global Warming?
4. Does open defecation affect Global Warming?
5. How does Recycling and Reuse affects Global Warming?
6. Can our Earth Die?
These and many more questions did I receive from them. It took me almost an hour to answer these questions plus additional ones. For every answer I gave, it gave birth to a new question. The teachers and staff of the school congratulated me after the talk. They set about additional 30 minutes for me to explain the concept of Climate Change since they heard it during my talk. As tutors and local farmers, they were more interested in the science of climate change and how to mitigate it. I explained to them and also enhanced their knowledge on climate mitigation and adaptation.
I look forward to engage more youth on the issue of Global Warming this month.