Category Archives: Youth

Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Workshop.

Earlier this year, I received a scholarship from Inclusive Leadership to undergo Earth Charter’s “Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics” training for young leaders. The training had lots of impact on my leadership and advocacy path. It introduced me to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), new ways of thinking, and a more robust approach towards achieving the SDGs and even beyond that towards a more peaceful and sustainable future.

As part of the training, participants organized individual workshops to expand the knowledge on the concepts of the programme. I organized my workshop in Kumasi – Ghana on the 22nd of March under the theme “Building Earth Leaders Today.”

I had a group of 25 people from 11 countries and from different backgrounds. The event started with introductions and we discussed ESD. Only 1 person out of the 25 had experienced Education for Sustainable Development. This emphasized on the need for ESD. We deliberated and shared several views on how to promote ESD. The discussion led us to Leadership (Earth Leaders) and Ethics. Participants named Osama Bin Laden as a successful leader (capable of driving people to follow his vision) but agreed that our planet don’t need such leaders but Earth Leaders – leaders who are ethical, concerned about the present and the future. I then led the team to dive into ethics and moved on to critical and system thinking.

We watched a video on system thinking – which illustrated how the earth is all merged together and that every single decision affects a much larger system. Following that, participants were grouped into five (5 groups of 5). Each group selected one local problem in their home country/community and tasked another group to use system thinking to provide a solution to the problem.  At the end, we had beautiful solution to global issues such as terrorism, water scarcity and food insecurity, inequalities, etc.

A presentation on the workshop “ESD, Earth Leadership, and System Thinking” can be found here: Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Workshop – 2017 SLIDES.

The debrief section was another great moment for me to hear what participants had learned. About 70% of feedback response showed that participants had no knowledge about ESD, 50% mentioned that they have heard about system thinking but had no understanding to it, 90% of participants pledge to promote ESD and to adopt ethical leadership towards sustainable development.

To conclude this blogpost, I want to express my gratitude to the Earth Charter for providing such wonderful opportunity for young leaders across the world, and to Inclusive Leadership for the sponsorship. Also, my appreciation to Sarah Dobson and Phat Tan Nguyen for coordinating the event, and to all the wonderful participants who made it as success.

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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.

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.

Joshua Amponsem becomes a World Climate Ambassador.

Joshua Amponsem found Climate Interactive’s tools essential in his work as a young environmental activist in Ghana. In the last three months, he has been mobilizing young people, social entrepreneurs, and universities across Ghana to experience World Climate simulations, and hence, inspiring them to take climate action. We asked Joshua how World Climate simulations were relevant for building the capacity of new climate leaders in Ghana.

 

Grace: How would you describe the climate challenge in Ghana?  

Joshua: Ghana’s government efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation are currently progressing steadily with the support of international organizations and civil society activism. However, there is a huge knowledge gap among citizens. Over the few past years, civil society organizations have increased their climate education efforts. While policies reflect climate action, implementation has not reflected much effort. Sustainable production and consumption is neither implemented nor communicated adequately. Water bodies are being destroyed and water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure is poor. It’s even worse when we experience floods. Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) acknowledges that more needs to be done. World Climate is helping us bridge this knowledge gap and inspire climate action.

Read Full Story here: https://www.climateinteractive.org/blog/joshua-amponsem-from-ghana-becomes-a-world-climate-ambassador/

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World Climate Event in Cape Coast

The World Climate Simulation in the University of Cape Coast brought together exceptional environmental science students, scientists, and also visiting students from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark who were under Kultierstudier programme in the university.

The event commenced with a brief education on climate change (science, impacts, and solutions) by Joshua Amponsem who co-facilitated the event with Benson Adjei and Laura Periera (PhD). Benson Adjei, introduced world climate event to the audience and from facial expressions wed could see a promising negotiations ahead of us.

There were about 100 participants who were grouped into the 6 geographic blocs while designating 10 people as Press Corps and 12 people under the Climate Activist bloc.  Briefing notes and were given to all blocs and the NDC form was given to the 6 regions.

Laura, a visiting lecturer from South Africa, simulated as the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. She gave a wonderful speech to open the first round of Negotiations. The 6 regions had about 15 mins to digest their briefings and make their commitments known to the house through the proposal form.

After submitting their NDCs (proposal), C-ROADS was launched and the submitted data was inserted. Surprisingly, delegates from Other Developing countries exhibited high demand for funds (requesting for $70b per year) while also demonstrating a good willingness to act on climate (committing fully to REDD = 1). Other Developed countries also amazed us with their strong proposal of 8% fractional rate of decline per year while commuting fully to REDD and Afforestation (=1).

Putting all the data together, we reached a global warming of 2.7degC. Although not our desirable target, the reach was much better than our previous event in Kumasi – where we reached 4degC after the first round of negotiation.

To open the most exiting part of our event (2nd round of negotiations), the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC – Laura, urged all delegates to make their best commitments to reach a 1.5degC or maximum 2.0degC. “You need to make better commitments to protect our agricultural systems and for human survival.”

To spur a greater negotiation, the UN Secretary General – Joshua Amponsem, said “Climate Change will affect everything we love as humans but more importantly, our food, water, and the air we breath. As leaders, you have a one time opportunity to make a change that will save our future. Planet Earth depends on you.”

On this note, negotiations begun and the first bloc to make a move was the Climate Activists. They had delegates advising and pressuring China, EU, and US to increase their financial contributions while limiting their CO2 emission growth. EU and the other developed nations seemed to have gotten along very easily as they both exerted pressure on Developing countries, China & India to increase their afforestation from 0.2, 0.6, and 0.7 respectively, to 1.

Following that, there was a sudden fierce argument over the EU bloc. Notes from the press corps indicate that EU was only willing to contribute significantly to the Global Fund if China gives above 20% of the targeted fund and if US contribute up to 50% to the fund. Successfully, there was peaceful negotiations between the Other Developed countries and the US.

Additionally, India and Other developing countries formed a union of friendship. They presented a joint proposal to US and China. China agreed to the proposal and gave $20b to the global fund. EU also agreed to their proposal and acknowledged their responsibility – EU contributed $30b to the fund and a 5% fractional rate of decline while starting their decline at 2060 instead of their earlier 2080. However, activists spoke against that and the EU decides to stop emission growth at 2030 while starting decline at 2035.

India seemed very ambitious and US was willing to give money rather than reducing their emissions. After about 50 minutes, all the countries submitted their terms and commitments. It was really difficult to put an end to the negotiations as many delegates were still engaging their colleagues in other terms and deals. It was really amazing to see the reaction of some of our participants from Europe who were representing India and other developing countries.

After feeding the proposals to C-ROADS, we reached a 2.4degC. Joshua Amponsem and Natasha Verco reiterated the impact of global warming and why it is necessary to reach a 2degC. With that, delegates from Other Developed nations and those from Other Developing countries swiftly opted to strengthen their commitment. They both increased their fractional decline rate to 10% per year and also decided to stop their emission growth at 2030 while they both committed fully to REDD and afforestation.

After these changes, our global warming decreased to 2.2degC. The room was full of suspension as everyone looked up to US to make a change. However, delegates from India and Other Developing Countries united to put up a proposal to China. They proposed that China increase their fractional rate of decline to 12% and US to move their REDD and afforestation effort to 1. US agrees to that but China only agreed to 10% instead of 12%.

Like magic, we reached 2degC with these changes. The house gave marvelous applauds to delegates who pushed for the changes that made it possible for us to achieve our target.

Participants gave their feedback (see below) during the debrief.

Emmanuel Marfo: “It is really enlightening to experience this event and I’ll be looking forward to participate in such events.”

Anonymous: “This is a nice conference and my first time to such an exposure. I already feel like Prez. Obama. Its great to have such a taste of decision making. I appreciate it and I think more if this should be happening on campuses.”

Sylvester Osei:  “Developing countries had a tone of vulnerability and needed help. I think this is good because we are not the future leaders; we are the present leaders and very soon we might be taking similar roles at the international levels. So thank you organizers for bringing this training and I hope we will be ambassadors for Climate Change.”

Mm Hasana: “The event is so practical and we have been exposed to climate negotiations & we’ve also had the chance to appreciate what delegates know what happens at the international level. As youth, we have been given an opportunity to be part of decision making and also to take up leadership role in environmental issues.” She added, “Climate Change is realistic lets try and do in our own capacity the very little we can do to make this 2degC realistic. It starts from us and we should take up the challenge.”

Lovisa: “It was a perfect experience. We enjoyed discussing with each other – it was fun to be in debates with other countries and see what they are up to.”

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My Tweet Chat on Climate Change

On the 10th of August 2016, I was hosted by  Climate Change Initiative of Africa to discuss the causes and impact of climate change to a global audience on Twitter. With the hashtag #CHAINafrica, over 40 people were actively engaged with the discussion.

Please find below the tweets I shared with the audience.

  1. Thank you @ClimateChange54 and everyone who is here to learn more about #ClimateChange. I am very pleased to be sharing my story with you. 
  2. Thank you @@skosei001 @ for having me. @rasbugri @DorrenDorys @BalrajArpit I acknowledge your presence.
  3. @AmponsemJoshua is a climate advocate and an environmental scientist from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. #CHAINafrica
  4. #ClimateChange refers to a long-term significant change in the Earth’s climate – mainly temperature, over several decades. #CHAINafrica
  5. Major changes that factors in #ClimateChange includes #Temperature, #Precipitation, #Wind Patterns, #Humidity. #CHAINafrica
  6. Importantly, #ClimateChange can occur Naturally ( eg. by volcanos) & also by artificial activities – man made. #CHAINafrica
  7. How & when did mankind cause #ClimateChange? Any ideas? Think?#CHAINafrica
  8. Beginning the 20th century, man decided to advance – urbanize & modernize. That’s when it begun. Eg. Burning #FossilFuel! #CHAINafrica

9.The results of Urbanization & #Modernization was & is an increase in atmospheric Greenhouse Gases #GHGs. #CHAINafrica

  1. Through urbanization we utilized more Earth resources and altered the planet’s Greenhouse Effect! #CHAINafrica Then #GlobalWarming begun.
  2. When the sun shines on earth, some is reflected & some becomes heat via #GHGs. #CHAINafrica
  3. The trapping of heat from sunlight by GHGs is naturally designed to keep the average surface temp of Earth🌏 around 14▫C.#CHAINafrica
  4. Without GHGs (CFC, CO2, Sulphur Oxides, HFC, methane, etc), the average surface temp of Earth would be -19▫C (very cold). #CHAINafrica
  5. Meaning that, we cannot survive without GHGs and we also cannot survive if they exceed too much background concentrations. #CHAINafrica
  6. Simply put, the higher #GHGs concentration, the #hotter the Earth will be. #CHAINafrica
  7. What is the data behind all these talk on #ClimateChange? Share with me if you have any data regarding #GlobalWarming #CHAINafrica
  8. June 2016 was the hottest June in modern history & the 14th consecutive month that heat records have been broken. #CHAINafrica
  9. World Bank analysis: Ignoring #ClimateChange can put 100million more pple into poverty by 2030 – 43million will be in Africa. #CHAINafrica
  10. Just as the risks of #ClimateChange are immense, so are the rewards of #ClimateAction if we invest in our people & our Earth. #CHAINafrica

 

 

 

Awarding Environmental Enthusiast and Nurturing Eco-Leaners

Yesterday was my birthday (08-08-2016) and I awarded a Tunza Eco-generation branded storage device to the most participating student during my 3rd  talk on global warming at the Amudurasi community school.
During my 2nd talk on global warming, I awarded Solomon Eshun a school bag for being very participative during the talk. His communication and commitment towards environmental protection and energy efficiency after my visit to their school is said to be commendable. In view of this, I decided to award another student during my 3rd talk on global warming at the Amudurasi community.
After talking to the students on Global Warming, I concluded by selecting the most participating student to summarize all that I have taught them during my presentation. He was able to talk about Global Warming in his own words and I was very pleased.  Although the staff of the school were not pleased that he was not able to summarize my talk in English, I was personally happy that he could explain to his colleagues using their native language – which illustrates his true understanding of Global Warming and his ability to educate illiterates on the need for a cumulative action towards our warming planet.
I announced to the school and his colleagues that I will award him a Tunza Eco-generation Branded 8 Gigabyte storage device when I visit the school again. Last Friday, I was there to give him his award and named him as my second Eco-Leaner in Ghana. Together with Solomon Eshun – first Eco-Leaner (whom I first awarded a school bag) I will train them to be environmental advocates in their community.

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