Syndicate content

Green solutions from Ghana

Kwasi Owusu Gyeabour's picture

The author, Kwasi Owusu Gyeabour, won third place in an international youth essay competition sponsored by the World Bank and other partners. He answered the question “How can you tackle climate change through youth-led solutions?” The awards were announced in Seoul in June, 2009.

There is never a time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now.” -James Baldwin (1924 - 1987) Nobody Knows My Name, "Faulkner and Desegregation

It is a privilege to be called on to share ideas on issues of our time, issues that can be solved through youthful action. In my essay, “Greening the Ghanaian Youth” I proposed several ideas that would help tackle climate change. Here is a sample of the ones I consider most practical.

Youth action at the community level is the most potent force in our fight against rapid climate change. So I proposed the establishment of a Green Sector Mutual Fund. This community-based fund will invest in firms that operate in the green/environmental sector. Now I consider this feasible because I have friends who have established mutual funds such as the University of Ghana Campus Mutual Fund which have turned out successful. The success of a fund mostly depends on factors such as advertising and the prestige and market reach of the fund managers. Most asset management firms these days would jump at the opportunity to manage something ethical just to create a sense of social responsibility and goodwill.

Floods in Ghana
   Photo © Curt Carnemark/World Bank

Now that we know that climate change is here to stay, I believe we must help ourselves by looking for ways to survive its impacts. This is why I also proposed that we establish a Community Climate Change Impact Relief Centre. This centre would train the youth in my community to prepare for climate-related disasters. You can imagine how long it takes for relief efforts to reach the needy after disasters. Such a centre would be a collaborative effort between the local assembly, young people, and National Disaster Management Organization officials who could train us every weekend. Had we had such a centre in Accra, the recent floods wouldn’t have taken lives.

Also at the community level, I suggested a “Green Scout Movement” along the lines of the Boy Scouts of America. This would introduce children to climate change at an early stage and lead them through different stages (Green Prince, Green Scout, and so on) to the final stage of Green Entrepreneur when they will be challenged to carry out environmental projects.

At the national level I proposed the Carbon Compensation Plan, a scheme by which we hope to influence policy makers through our local Member of Parliament. This scheme would suggest a special tax on companies whose actions affect the environment directly. Additionally, such firms would be required to afforest allocated land.

The American lawyer Robert G. Ingersoll put it brilliantly: “In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments—there are consequences.” I believe that in our quest to slow down the progress of climate change and possibly counter its impact, our prime motivation should be the potential consequences of neglect.


Submitted by JP Brice on
Hi Kwasy, I like your initiatives, at a national and international levels. Please keep in touch with us to share experiences and ideas. Also, if you can update the 3G facebook group I will like it. Please do it. JP

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by HENRIETTA MINGLE on

Submitted by Clement on
Hi kwasi, what a brilliant, thought-provoking submission. It is obvious that human actions and inactions have brought about this phenomenon (Climate Change), hence the need for this same human to resolve these imbalances. Governments cannot do it all, it would take such simple but laudable ideas such as Kwasis' to make a headway in managing our environment in a sustained manner. Proud of you boy!!!!!!

“Climate change” scientists abroad predict that the southern part of Africa will become hotter and drier as climate change intensifies. This will result in severe water stress in most of the country. As an artist, I have noticed that most of the communities around the coastal areas are experiencing water shortages over the past few years which is caused by the cutting and destroying of the greenery. The government is putting measures in place to manage this crisis, but as business and individuals. Example as an artist, my contribution is by sharing my sculpture pieces as a critic and visual thoughts on the subject matter. We need to urgently participate in the process to conserve water

Submitted by mae on
Congratulations Kwasi! Thanks for bringing such great inspirational ideas. I am from Davao, Philippines. Recently, we have experienced a surprising and abrupt flashflood. I believe it happened fist time in the history of Davao. A lot of unfortunate residents died during the recent flood. I have never expected this worst case to happen but I realize now that we are all living in the same roof, the same ozone layer and we all breathe the same air. Our place is not exempted for possible effects of climate changes. We are all responsible for whatever will happen in our environment. I hope that our city will recover very soon from this terrifying event and will take all the necessary actions to save our forests and maintain our green city. I am stirred with your ideas. If given the chance, as a youth, I'd really like to do a work that involves saving the environment and contributing to success in the pursuit of clean and green environment. And that would surely start in our homes. We have now a strict implementation of the segregation act pushed by the local government in the city. I just hope that the implementation will be consistent and that the people will be persistent also. I hope to find unity of efforts from both the people and the local government. Good governance plus good people will result to sustainable development, hopefully, without compromising our good and healthy environment...

Submitted by Linford Kumador on

Hi Kwasi, congratulations on your selection to take part in the youth conference in DC and your great contribution to solving the impact of climate change. It is undeniable fact that climate change has to stay and it's impact has been felt all over the world including the ongoing severe flooding in the Balkans. Now is the time we can step up our efforts as youths to prepare our various communities to assist during climate change disasters like what we have seen across the world including in the USA. Here in the USA, there are effective systems of providing information about what to do before, during and after severe storms and other disasters. Almost 99% of the communities are well informed and educated on planning and preparing for disasters. In addition, all local, states and federal authorities have emergency response plans and are 80% ready to help even during and after disasters. In our case in the third world country like Ghana, the story is vastly different. Authorities wait for such disasters to happen before they plan and act. Our leaders have no foresight and it even difficult to have them hear your suggestions. I think it is time we take some actions ourselves to do something. Radio and TV stations must realize the need to dedicate time for educational programs about the impacts of severe storms, what they need to do before and after storms. Government must liaise with the print and electronic media to devote time to educating people on how to keep the drainage systems clean of filth, water ways must be free of blockages, buildings must be sited at right places, roads must be built with disasters in mind, evacuation centers must be designated, provisions must be made for buses and routes, emergency workers must be well resourced and train, there should be volunteer centers where volunteers are trained and equipped with skills, knowledge and resources to respond to emergencies. These are basic things we can put in place before disasters strike. If you build disaster centers where people can be housed for sometimes before, during and after disasters, It is better than providing mattress and roofing sheets to people who cannot help themselves during disasters. This is my little contribution to helping build a better Ghana.

Add new comment