Events

World Climate Event in Cape Coast

Green Africa Youth Organization  took the World Climate Simulation to Cape Coast. The event 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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WORLD CLIMATE EVENT BY GREEN AFRICA YOUTH ORGANIZATION AT KUMASI HIVE.

The World Climate simulation event gives people a taste of what it is like to be a negotiator at the UN climate change negotiations. World Climate was developed by Climate Interactive, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) Climate change Initiative. In view of this, an event was organized by the Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) with support from Climate Interactive and the University of Mohammed VI Polytechnic in Morocco at the Kumasi Hive, Kentinkrono-Kumasi.
Over 60 people registered to attend the event while 40 people made it to the event excluding facilitators and organizers. The event was attended by environmental enthusiasts, civil society groups, public servants working in the field if environment, and mostly young environmental graduates. The event lasted for four hours and was coordinated by Joshua Amponsem (GAYO), and Benson Adjei (CSI).
Our event kick-started at around 10:30 GMT and Audra Tufuor simulated as IPCC scientist to give a brief presentation on climate change, after which co-facilitator, Benson Adjei, introduced World Climate to the participants. Joshua Amponsem introduced the formal section and divided the organizations into their 6 bloc groups – U.S.A, EU, China, India, Other Developed Countries, and Other Developing Countries. Additionally, people played the role of the press and also delegates to represent Climate Activist groups. Joshua launched the first round of negotiations and delegates commenced the 1st round of negotiations.


Prior to the commencement of the first round, Ms. Ivy Gyimah (Head of Research, GAYO) played the role of Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and gave a wonderful opening speech which really formalized the opening of the simulation event. Following her speech, Joshua Amponsem also gave a short speech as the UN Secretary General.
After about 10 minutes, the first round came to an end. We launched C-ROADS to reflect delegate’s commitments but delegate’s commitment did not meet our 2degC target – however, we had a financial commitment of over $150b with much coming from U.S.
Following that, we opened the second round of negotiations. During the second round, participants felt much more involved with their role. EU proved to be very difficult in agreeing to funds rather than the US.

The representatives from the developing countries seemed too timid and out of the game – they had poor negotiation skills. China seemed to be more responsible and wanted to negotiate with the US in terms of fund and carbon reduction. The other developed countries had no trouble at all with negotiations – their commitments were just right. India had great ideas and spent so much time talking to EU for funding and collaborative investments towards green technology – which was okay.
At the end of the two sections, the nation’s decisions were fed into C-ROADS software to calculate if the goal of groups to limit global warming to “well below 2˚C” compared to preindustrial levels was met. The results from the computer showed the nations have only limited global warming to 2.3˚C which means more intensive actions have to take place to reach the 2˚C goal. China and the US made changes to enable us meet our 2deg C target.


After the World Climate simulation, room was made for contributions and comments. A number of contributions and comments were made by the participants;

  • Climate change is least talked about on the news.
  • We have to organize climate change awareness programs.
  • We have to bring out a lot of climate change innovations.
  • Many participants pledged to expand knowledge on climate change.
  • About 5 participants were interested to organize a World Climate Event


In conclusion, the program was successful and was impressed by the participation of the youth-led organizations with their presence, contributions and comments to the event. It was an opportunity for young people to play such active role as country leaders and also having given them the opportunity to learn more on climate change.
The next World Climate Simulation events will be organized by GAYO in Cape Coast, Sunyani, and Takoradi.

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POWER SHIFT – GHANA, 2016.

POWER SHIFT – GHANA, tagged as the nation’s largest environmental youth gathering was held on May 14th at KNUST.  The event was organized by the Ghana Youth Climate Coalition (GYCC), Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) and partnered Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO). Power Shift – Ghana 2016, attracted over 400 students, about 100 environmental activists, and solar energy practitioners to engineer Ghana’s transition towards clean energy.

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At the event, Mr. Kobina Nyanteh of Translight Energy (a solar firm) mentioned that Ghana needs to strengthen its policy to promote renewable energy investment. In his speech, he made known that students with interest in renewable energy should focus their research on some of the current hurdles faced by the solar sector – such as a pre/post-paid meter system. Mr. Maxmillian Kwarteng of Gramax energy also exposed participants to some of the advances in the solar industry in Ghana. According to him, solar panels are currently being manufactured in Ghana and that is expected to reduce the cost of solar installations in houses and offices.

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Dr. Kofi Boah, a renowned agriculturalist, asked young people to live a greener lifestyle and also focus on sustainable agriculture as a way of adapting to the changing climate.

Gideon Commey, founder of GYEM, led a climate reality presentation and explained the science, impact, and known solutions to climate change. The audience and students had a lot of misconception on solar energy, climate change and fossil fuel energy production Joshua Amponsem (Executive Director, GAYO) led the last session of the conference and answered the many questions the students had on fossil fuel.

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At the end of the event, GYCC collected over 500 signatures to support the petition of the environmental movement to the VRA and EPA of Ghana to reject the proposed supercritical coal plant.

Fossil fuel still remains the world’s largest contributor to the planet’s changing climate and thus, efforts to reduce carbon emissions means that energy production from fossil fuel (most importantly, coal) must be phased out and replaced with clean energy – renewables. However, the Government of Ghana (GoG) has advanced plans to construct a 2x350MW supercritical coal fired power plant in Ekumfi Aboano in the Central Region of Ghana. The project, initially scheduled to commence in August 2016 and now postponed to April 2017, will see the import of 2 million tons per year of coal from South Africa. It is a joint venture between the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Shenzhen Energy Group of China and estimated to cost $US1.5bn.

Environmental activists from GYEM, GAYO and GYCC has persistently campaigned against the GoG proposed supercritical coal fired power plant. The most recent events include the ‘Walk for Solar Campaign’ held in Accra right after COP 21 staged a in December, 2015 and the ‘Street Press Conference on Coal’ held on Earth Day 2016.

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Earth Day 2016 – No Coal; Our Goal.

On Earth Day, Ghana Youth Environmental Movement – led by Gideon Commey, and Green Africa Youth Organization – led by Tunza ambassador, Joshua Amponsem held a street press conference to educate the public on coal fired power plants, its associated health implications, and ecological impacts.

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For the first time, an environmental street campaign in Ghana attracted foreign journalists and local media houses. The press conference witnessed journalists from China Central Television (CCTV), SET TV from Taiwan, Pulse TV, TV3 in Ghana, Graphic Ghana, and many other local radio stations.

The event commenced with a welcome address from Joshua Amponsem (Tunza Eco-Generation Ambassador), Nat Martin (Canadian Environmental and Human Rights activists) and Gideon Commey (Founder, Ghana Youth Environmental Movement). A press release article on coal power was read out to the general public, following which we took questions from the media and public concerning their understanding and awareness on coal power plants.

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Nat Martin addressing audience at the street press conference on coal.

Most of the questions were geared towards economic stability which will arise if the country possess a constant power supply. However, this argument was disputed by Joshua. He iterated that, power generation from coal is not cheap as presented. Coal waste – particulate matter from the power plants causes health and ecological hazards that could cost the country twice the amount being spent on coal power generation. He also furthered to say, Ghanaians are hungry for constant power supply but the solution is not coal but #renewables.

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Joshua responding to questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media houses present at the event asked series of questions concerning the position of the country during COP21 and the current quest to introduce coal into the country. Climate advocate, Gideon Commey, responded that the country’s decision to bring coal to Ghana contradicts with the commitment of global leaders to fight against global warming and climate change.

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Gideon M. Commey answering questions from media.

He mentioned that the President of Ghana, HE John Dramani Mahama, should be mindful of his role as the Co-Chair of a group of 16 influential global figures supporting the UN in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

 

When asked by the media about the next step of action if government does not heed to the protagonism of environmental activists for solar instead of coal, Joshua Amponsem responded that, activists will travel to the proposed coal project community and educate the community on adverse effects of the project they about to receive. Joshua stressed that the ecological impacts of coal fired plants were so high and therefore, as passionate environmental activists, they will push to the limit until renewable energy is considered as the best alternative to fixing Ghana’s energy crisis.

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The event ended with a loud campaign song led by guitarist and environmental enthusiast, Seyram Gh, who composed the song during our walk for solar campaign last year.

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Farming Palm Weevils as an Alternative Livelihood and Combating Food Insecurity.

Ansah Boatemaa is an environmental activist in Cape Coast, Ghana. She is the Programs Manager for Green Africa Youth Organization in Ghana and a teaching assistant at the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about food security and climate change. Agricultural waste management and climate smart agriculture – aiming at combating climate change through sustainable agricultural methods, are my research interests.

Together with the entire Green Africa Youth Organization, we came up with this project which focuses on introducing insect (Rhynchophorus spp) farming in Ghana and envisions a cheap, readily available nutritious source of food for local impoverished communities.

Palm weevils, Rhynchophorus spp, are excellent low cost sources of essential nutrients.  They have low carbon footprint if farmed as a commercial enterprise. In Ghana, Palm weevils serve as a traditional meal for natives of most rural societies (especially within the southern sector) but are not farmed for consumption. Palm weevil farming is a cost-effective enterprise in terms of supplies and labour. The larvae reaches maturity within three to four months and can be harvested for consumption – very rich in protein.

The project will partner with the Department of Wildlife and Entomology of the University of Cape Coast to provide students and researchers insight on insect farming for human consumption in Ghana. Also, Traditional Leaders, Local Government Representatives of Communities, Local Trade Union, Palm Farmers and Palm Wine Tappers within the community will be integrated as stakeholders to ensure project sustainability and effectiveness.

Palm trunks, which are regarded as agricultural waste, will be used for farming to provide larvae stage of the Rhynchophorus spp (consumable) with a natural habitat. The trunks will be cut into logs. The logs will be fed with fermented palm mash, upon which adult palm weevils will be introduced to mate and produce eggs. Feeding activity and entire life cycle of the immature stages (eggs, pupae and larvae) are harboured in the palm trunk. After about 4 months, the first lop of weevils will be ready for harvesting.

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Image II: Matured larvae for human consumption.

Prior to the first harvest of the farm, the entomology department will give scientific insight, and ensure the ecological health and quality of the habitat to be provided for the palm weevils. As a delicacy, unemployed youth will be trained on how to prepare palm weevil larvae as food for trade. This will be done through a workshop for community members. The project is long term and very sustainable. Income generated from harvest will be used to further the project and scale up in other rural communities. Eventually, it is expected that the project reaches all rural areas – providing affordable food and alternative livelihood.

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Image II: Palm weevil larvae used in cooking rice.

The farming technique is cost effective and environmental friendly as it utilize agricultural waste as a resource and enhance food security. Moreover, the mash used in rearing the larvae is rich in nutrients and will be sold as compost for crop farmers in amending infertile soils. Also, after six months, the hollowed palm logs used for rearing and have been burrowed by the larvae will be utilized as containers for gardening and growing ornamental plants.

This project was developed and inspired to combat chronic malnutrition in rural areas within the Ashanti and Central Regions of Ghana. There is no interest by farmers to farm palm weevils due to lack of skills and technical knowhow.  The project will provide skills and knowledge of Palm weevil farming and trading to communities and create alternative livelihood for dwellers.

The project’s success will be measured by: the availability of affordable nutritious food (palm weevils) to rural communities, number of youth engaged in palm weevil farming and trade as alternative livelihood, income generated from first harvest of the farm which will also indicate the number of consumers. Additionally, impact measurement will also include the number of crop farmers interested in purchasing the nutrient-rich compost for farming following eventual usage of palm trunk as habitat for palm weevil larvae.

The project is currently seeking partners, sponsors and technical support. We will be glad to have you on board. Contact Us.

Written by: Ansah Boatemaa.

4th Environmental Sanitation Workshop.

SAMROSE COMPLEX ACADEMY was our next stop to educate the pupils on the importance of environmental sanitation as part of our environmental sanitation series to reduce the risk of flooding and sanitation related diseases.

As mentioned in all the previous reports, we highlighted on basic sanitation practices and things that our young generation can do to keep their environment clean. Daystar Babanao, project member, did an incredible job educating the children on environmental health and sanitation.

Daystar first explained the meaning of environment and sanitation to the pupils. She then went on to talk about the reason behind the workshop (ie, environmental sanitation), stating that unhygienic conditions cause diseases, diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, malaria and worm infections, which are mostly acquired by children. She explained further that these diseases can be prevented when our environment is kept clean.

Emmanuel Marfo also touched on littering, stating that littering causes gutters to be choked leading to floods, and that one should always dispose of waste properly. He also said that one should keep waste such as rubbers and plastics till one sees a waste bin and that littered environments destroy other organisms that are useful and important to us.

Daystar Babanao leading the education at SAMROSE COMPLEX.

3rd Environmental Sanitation Workshop.

GAYO furthered its education to IMAM KHOMEINI primary to educate the pupils on the importance of environmental sanitation as part of our environmental sanitation workshop. And since we had a workshop for the Junior high school, we deemed it appropriate to do same for the primary school.

We were warmly received by the headmaster and staff, who helped in organizing the pupils. The pupils were divided into two groups (ie, lower primary and upper primary), since one classroom could not contain both the lower primary and the upper primary.

Earlier this year, we had reported on the 1st and 2nd environmental workshop which was established by Joshua Amponsem and led by Isaac Abugri.  For our 3rd environmental sanitation workshop, the team comprised of three members (Emmanuel Marfo, Charles Obiri and Daystar Babanawo).

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Since the workshop was based on environmental sanitation and health with emphasis on personal hygiene and littering, our speakers, after explaining to the pupils what environment is, went on to talk about the reason behind the workshop (ie, environmental sanitation), stating that unhygienic conditions cause diseases, diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, malaria and worm infections, which are mostly acquired by children. We explained further that these diseases can be prevented when our environment is kept clean and we could reduce the level of risk of flooding.

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Charles Obiri, Isaac, and Daystar mobilizing children.