Category Archives: Event

Plastic Pollution in Ghana Joshua

Power Shift Ghana 2018: End Plastic Pollution.

On World Environmental Day 2018, I was excited to share with about 200 young people the origin of plastics, how it pollutes our environment, the effects on human health and simple steps they can take to reduce their dependency on single-use plastics.

The session which lasted for about 45 minutes had a huge impact on everyone who attended Power Shift Ghana 2018 and it was a moment for individuals to make a commitment to ditch disposable plastic products.

Below is the presentation I used during the session. Have a read and ask me any question on how to live a plastic-free life. Ultimately, together with Green Africa Youth Organization and the entire Youth Environmental Movement, we hope to create a sustainable and healthy country through our #PlasticFreeGhana campaign.

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Education for Sustainable Development Workshop at Africa Clean Up Conference 2017

The workshop which was held on the 7th of July, 2017 started with a brief Q&A on the importance of diversity and inclusion. In about 15 minutes the group had given a lot of reasons why diversity is important but only a few people mentioned inclusion. This was good and this formed an integral part of the workshop. It was my objective that by the end of the session, participants will not only appreciate diversity but also understand the need for inclusion.

I projected a slide which talked about diversity and I used my obsession with nature (particularly the ocean) to explain the reason why diversity is not enough until inclusion is established. I said, “When I watch any documentary about the ocean, I get excited and I think you all do – why? Because the ocean gives a lot of beauty – it’s colorful with a lot of species. The beauty of the ocean is possible because of the diversity of organisms. Some are colorful, others are not. Some are fascinating, scary, beautiful, amazing, ugly, and think of all the adjectives you can use to describe all that we see in the ocean. If the ocean chooses to accept diversity but refuses to foster inclusion, we will not see its beauty.”

This analogy helped to paint a good picture to the audience. Additionally, I made it known to them that inclusion is very important for humans to enrich our understanding in the reasons why people do what they do – helps us to understand and appreciate different cultures.

Moving on, I launched into Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). So no one in the room had an idea what ESD is. This was another thing that made me happy – the session was really impactful. I explained ESD, then furthered to mention the need for ESD in modern education and how Africa, in particular, is far from attaining a sustainable economy because we lack ESD in our education system. ESD provides an environment for people to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values necessary to build a sustainable future – we lack this in our systems. We only give the knowledge to students and that’s it.

It was very interesting when participants from the University of Lagos – Nigeria, reacted to the session on ESD. They were very interested to have learned about ESD and totally agreed that ESD is needed to build the future of young people in helping Africa to reach a sustainable future. At the end of the session, they extended an invitation to me to deliver the Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Workshop in University of Lagos, Nigeria.

Following that, participants were divided into four groups to undertake an exercise in system thinking and critical thinking. The task was simple – most often our solutions to the problems we encounter in life leads to other problems in the future. In view, we need to make thoughtful decisions which take into consideration all factors that could be affected via the solutions we make. I showed a video of system thinking based on a story of cats in Borneo and based on that participants were asked to provide solutions to increasing crime rates, traffic congestion, and air pollution.

Participants did a great job delivering critical solutions to these problems. I advised that participants keep practicing system thinking and critical thinking in every problem they encounter in life – no matter how small it may be. “Always keep your eyes on the larger picture, focus on the long term and make decisions based on that,” I said.

Now, I am waiting to deliver the Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics workshop in Nigeria.

Thanks to Earth Charter, University of Peace, and Inclusive Leadership Cooperation for their support and online training they offer to young people across the globe.

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.

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.