Category Archives: Climate

World Climate Simulation with High School Students in Ghana

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Climate Change Talk with Business Support Associates

For the past two months, I have been working with a group of business support associates in Ghana. Through my social media platforms and engagement, they identified that I was a climate activist and also through social conversations, they were keen to understand climate change – the science and why it is a relevant topic that needs global attention.

So, on Monday 28th November, I did a presentation to explain the science of climate change to about 30 young people of different backgrounds but working in a business field with SMEs. I also shared a bit of my COP22 experience with them. Most of them knew what climate change was but did not have a clear understanding on the cause and how they play a role in mitigating climate change. I started by explaining GHGs and also how modernization has impacted our climate. Most people raised issue of fuel based economies and how these economies will collapse if the world should totally go renewable. We dialogue on the issue for about 5mins and concluded that economies such as the US has made huge investments towards fossil fuel and that’s why it’s difficult for some investors in the country to accept clean energy. Despite these known hurdles, I led the discussion to inform my audience that leadership and governance is what we need to combat climate change. Countries need to be sensitive to the challenges of other countries that are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Relating to their question on how climate change is important and why it has global attention, I explained to them the impacts of climate change and used sea level rise as an example of how climate change could flood all major cities in the world in the next 15 to 30 years.

At the end of the talk, I had a good feedback from the junior consultants and together we all discussed eco-friendly lifestyles which could contribute to alleviating the impacts of climate change and also reduce our carbon footprint. As a gesture of green living, I gave them Samsung and UNEP Tunza stick note souvenirs and pens  which made of recycled papers.

Five West African Countries Avoids Dirty Fuel from Europe

A number of West African countries have been sourcing fuel from Europe and reports (beginning earlier and mid this year) indicates that these European fuels do not meet the expected emission standards. In Ghana, the issue had risen in public discussions when first discovered and some environmental and health activists had used social media to publicize the issue to raise awareness for better fuel importation into the country.

According to UNEP, last week, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire has introduced strict regulatory standards that will ensure cleaner, low sulphur diesel fuels, and better emissions standards, thus effectively cutting off Europe’s West African market. It was noticed that weak regulatory standards in West African countries had open a window for European low standard fuels to penetrate the West African market and could cause ecological and health hazards. These fuels were identified to have higher sulfur levels that are up to 300 times higher than those permitted in Europe which contributes significantly to air pollution (reported by the non-governmental organization, Public Eye). Considering that sulfur is a toxin and contributes a lot to global warming as it is a Greenhouse Gas, it has become essential for these nations (vulnerable to climate change) to restrict the use of such fuels.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), these move was taken by the countries to address concerns over vehicle emissions and in an effort to bring safer, cleaner air to more than 250 million people that reside in their region. The head of the UNEP in a statement mentioned that the act practiced by these five nations to strengthen their regulatory standards sends a strong message that they no longer want any dirty fuels from Europe. In addition to new fuel standards, the group of West African countries has agreed to upgrade their own public and private refineries to meet the same higher standards by 2020.

Noting that it takes so much resources to clean up pollution, it’s definitely better to stop the pollution from occurring. It must be recognized and commended that these nations are putting their health and the ecology first as air pollution is known to kill millions annually. The head of the UNEP also added that there is a need to urgently introduce cleaner fuels and vehicles to help reduce the shocking statistics.

The UNEP has been working with countries in West Africa to develop policies and standards that will stop the import of fuels with dangerously high levels of sulphur, as well as to introduce cleaner fuels and vehicles. Reducing such emissions around the world is essential to ensure levels of urban air pollution and climate emissions come down.

UNEP hosts the Secretariat of the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV), a global public-private partnership that supports a shift to cleaner fuels and vehicles worldwide. When PCFV began its work in 2005, not a single low or middle income country used low sulphur fuels. Today, 23 countries have made that shift. Another 40 are on their way to doing the same.

In addition, UNEP is hosting the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which recently adopted a global strategy for moving the world to clean, low-sulphur fuels and advanced emissions standards. Experts estimate that this measure will save an annual 100,000 premature deaths by 2030.

 

GPIW: Inner Dimensions of Climate Change, Marrakech 2016.

Continuing from my previous blog post, (https://amponsem.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/gpiw-inner-dimensions-of-climate-change-marrakech-2016/):

Rev. Richard Cizik continued to mention how Christians have failed to be caretakers of the Earth as illustrated in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Dr. Aliaa Rafea also spoke from the Islamic perspective and stated how the Qur’an teaches human to appreciate and be compassionate to all creatures. Dr. Fassil Gebeyehu mentioned how science has taught us the two molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen produces water. In reality, if all natural water bodies should cease to exist, can we produce water by adding hydrogen and oxygen?

Sraddhalu Ranade, spoke more of the impact of modern science on today’s generation. He spoke about how the life in plants is being lost through genetic modification of seeds. The nutrient value of food (which is the life of the food) is now lost and many conscious people keep reading labels from one shop to the other in the quest to get natural foods. Humans have migrated from being part of the food web to becoming controllers of the food web. He shared a practice of his native people, where children are taught to thank and apologize to Mother Earth before placing their feet on the floor when the wake up every morning. These indigenous knowledge and practices shaped the thoughts of young ones to see the life in Mother Earth.

From the youth perspective, Rosalyne Baddoo highlighted the severity of the effects of climate change in Africa – especially in the field of Agriculture and Water Resource. Additionally, Barbara Hachipuka shared an amazing story of how she has been able to sign thousands of rural farmers onto her natural agriculture which does not involve in fertilizers or chemicals. Her story was inspirational as it reflected all the various hurdles she has to overcome in order to get rural farmers to understand the benefits of organic farming.

DSC_0664.JPGIn a dialogue on the loss of indigenous knowledge, I had the opportunity to talk about education, value, and purpose of the African indigenous knowledge. I mentioned how many African communities have so much embraced television, western education and culture, and totally neglected our traditional learning habits (By the fire side: where children sit round the fire at night and listen to stories of wisdom from their grandfathers and the aged in society)

The informal dialogue had so many aspects of engagements which cannot fully be described in a single blogpost. I look forward to share with you our time spent at the Atlas Mountain and also our amazing side event at the Green Zone of COP22, where Venerable Bhante talked about Greed Emissions, Hatred Emissions, and Ignorance Emissions as the roadmap to achieving reduction in carbon emissions.

GPIW: Inner Dimensions of Climate Change, Marrakech 2016

The Inner Dimensions of Climate Change 2016 gathered young professionals and practitioners of ecology in Africa together with global spiritual leaders to dialogue on the inner relations of people (including societies, religion, believes, etc.) and how this is essential in fighting the big war humans have spurred with nature. Despite using moral suasion as a strategy during my numerous environmental education programs in Ghana, attending this retreat as a delegate was quiet extraordinary. I had little knowledge on how inner connections and spiritual beliefs influence the conscience of people to live in harmony with Mother Earth, although religion plays a functional role in moral suasion – where I hold people responsible for being stewards of Earth based on the teachings of their religion.

The five day dialogue commenced with a deep interaction between individuals at the retreat and their inner connection with nature. Senior mentors and spiritual leaders shared their inner recognition and relationship with nature (plants, animals, the sun, the moon, water, etc). This was a beautiful session as it helped many delegates including myself to realize their connection with nature through many essential activities and thoughts. Jana Long told a story about her connection with plants and flowers; Ahmed Kasirye mentioned how he could communicate to plants and animals; I furthered to share my connection with water – I elaborated on the strength I receive from nature whenever I spent time beside a water body; similarly, Dena Merrium also shared her experience with the Ganga river in India. There were many stories to share, and more personal relations to nature were discussed among delegates during breaks.

Following that, Tiokasin Ghothorse, an indigenous and spiritual leader revealed the strength of languages as a medium through which living beings have been regarded as objects.  In order for the world’s population to see the importance and the need to preserve nature, we must first understand the component of our planet. In many of his speeches, he reiterated how we have condemned the life in water, seeds, and even the food we eat via calling these “living beings” as object. In their native language, water is referred to as (paraphrased) ‘that which connects life through all life forms’ – this brings consciousness and life rather than being called water (an object). As an indigenous Sundancer from the Lakota Nation of South Dakota, he mentioned how their native language has no words like property, and dominion. These words triggers the human conscience to take dominion of nature rather than being stewards of nature.

Continue reading from here: https://amponsem.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/gpiw-inner-dimensions-of-climate-change-marrakech-2016-2/

The next blogpost highlights on the youth perspective of climate change in Africa, indigenous knowledge, and other faith/cultural based practices that unites humanity with nature.