Ghanaian Youth Demand Climate Justice From Leaders

Sat, 3 Oct 2015 Source: Hinneh, Samuel

By Samuel Hinneh

Chibeze Ezekiel, 350 G-ROC delivering a presentation at the event

Globally, youth in different continents held various forms of events in September with main aim to petition leaders to take on board concrete and conscious measures to combat climate change. The issue of climate change has become, as some experts say, ‘the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, responsible for rising seas, raging storms, searing heat, ferocious fires, severe drought, and punishing floods’. It threatens health, communities, economy, and national security depriving national efforts to achieve development.

The year 2015 is on track to be the hottest year in recorded history, and this December hundreds of world governments will meet in Paris to try to strike a global climate agreement. It will be the biggest gathering of its kind since 2009, and it’s potentially a big deal for the global movement. So far, however, commitments from world governments just aren’t adding up. This has the makings of a global failure of ambition and at a moment when renewable energy is becoming a revolutionary economic force that could power a just transition away from fossil fuels.

The solutions are obvious: there is the need to stop digging up and burning fossil fuels, start building renewable energy, as well as make sure communities on the front lines of climate change have the resources they need to respond to the crisis.

The Ghana Reducing Our Carbon (350 G-ROC), a local partner of 350-an international environmental organization, joined others in the Africa-Arab world with various youth events to fight climate change. The event called #WEFGHTCLIMATECHANGE Campaign was held on 25th September, at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre, in Accra, with attendance from over 200 students drawn from about four junior high schools in the metropolis.

The G- ROC is a grassroots movement formed with the aim of mobilizing and empowering young people in partnership with key stakeholders to actively champion the need to reduce carbon emissions as a key effort in combating climate change.

The National Coordinator of the 350 G-ROC, Chibeze Ezekiel, says the event was organised as part of the global campaign to fight climate change.

"As I speak there are over 20 countries hosting similar event to hold governments accountable for pledges made and also is a build up to climate change conference to be held in Paris this December to take a final decision on climate change,” Ezekiel stated.

According to him, "the meeting is basically to engage the youth in the district assembly to understand the issues surrounding climate change, and more importantly their role in the fight of climate change.”

Miss Rita Odoley Sowah Municipal Chief Executive of La Dade-Kotopon Constituency in the Greater Accra region, who spoke at the gathering in Accra says children and youth are the future leaders and so the time to be aware of climate change and actively participate in the actions in combating it is now.

"Change in rainfall patterns, droughts, heat waves, floods, diseases and pests make it extremely important that young people are given the opportunity to participate and contribute to the implementation of the climate change policy of Ghana,” Ms Sowah stated.

Recommendations such as to reduce the use of disposables, plant at least a tree, and use of improved stoves that produces low levels of carbon dioxide were some of the initiatives she called on the youth to embark on as future leaders to fight climate change.

Columnist: Hinneh, Samuel