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Greening the Ghanaian Youth

Saptarshi Pal's picture

Highlights of the essay by Kwasi Gyeabour (Ghana) who is one of the eight finalists of The World Bank Essay Competition 2009.

"He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions."
                                                                                                       - Confucius

Kwasi, along with his friends, wants to establish a Green Mutual Fund for initiating “green” enterprises. Apart from professionals, this fund will appeal to the general public to invest in, as it serves the dual purpose of avoiding “natural” calamities by protecting the environment, and of having a return on the investment. With this fund, Kwasi wants to pioneer such enterprises in his country.

Kwasi’s proposal of investing in social enterprises is along the lines of what Maria suggested in her recent post.
In his essay, he also suggests establishing the Green Scout Movement which will focus on environmental and climate change issues. This movement will target youth aged 6 to 21, who will participate in climate activities. On successfully accomplishing their tasks at each stage, they will be promoted from “Green Prince” to “Green Scout” and finally “Green Entrepreneur.” Scouts will be trained and supervised in their series of tasks and will be awarded a diploma in entrepreneurship after they’ve completed all three stages.

To initiate recycling activities in his community, Kwasi wants to form a group with his friends, and collect renewable items from households that would otherwise throw them away, and group them into categories for recycling. He plans to place labeled boxes at vantage points separately for paper, rubber and metal recyclables. Then they would take them to recycling organizations in the community. Individual homes will be rewarded if they separate their garbage and make collection easy!

Kwasi wants to capitalize on the popular online social networking sites to discuss and create awareness regarding environmental activities. He plans to establish Ghana Temperature Movement as a group on Facebook, and have members share ideas through the discussion boards. Members will also be encouraged to blog on climate change issues to spread the message faster. He wants the blogs to focus on household energy consumption and reducing carbon footprints.

He also proposes to launch an Inter-School Climate Change Solutions fair to showcase climate solution projects by the youth of Ghana and promote the effective ones at a national level. He expects sponsorship from local firms and the local Assembly to help organize the fair and reward the best project.

In Ghana students are idle for about 10 months after senior high school, before they start college. Kwasi plans to build a campaign for policymakers to engage these students in climate oriented service during this time. Policymakers can make sure that this community service will count towards a student’s admission requirements. These students will be trained and recruited to do field work in their respective districts, such as community sensitization against deforestation for livestock grazing, discouraging the slash and burn practice which normally leads to bush fires in some districts, carry out water projects in water-stressed rural communities, and plantation of trees in their assigned communities. A certificate of community service will be provided to them upon completion.

His essay also suggests a national Carbon Compensation Plan (CCP) in which business organizations whose activities directly affect the environment will be taxed by the government as a “compensation tax.” Developing countries like Ghana use cement extensively in their building processes and the cement industry is responsible for 5% of all global man-made CO2 emissions, 50% of which is from the chemical process, and about 40% from burning fuel. Hence, he expects good tax revenue to be collected from cement manufacturers at Ghana. He suggests that this revenue be spent on financing tree planting exercises and renewable energy research which is not well funded in Ghana.

The essay is full of such brilliant ideas. For space reasons, I can only highlight a few, but please share your questions and comments!

Comments

Submitted by Aniket Pangarkar on
Hi Siena, Your article comes at a most apt time; when dozens of youth conferences are happening every other day. While I'm sure such conferences are a great place to meet like-minded people, think and develop new ideas, I too am of the opinion that there needs to be a far greater effort in sustaining the momentum of ideas and thoughts that are generated within those three/four days of intense activity. I think before one plans another large congregation of young minds, one must think of a rational way to keep the participants engaged; perhaps conduct smaller workshops/review sessions at a local level would be a good idea. Anyways, look forward to reading more :) Best, Aniket

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