Greening Ghana, a national revival

BY: Kobby Asmah

The nation is ready to go green; what happened across the country last Friday points to this. Across the length and breadth of the country, a campaign led by the President himself brought out the beauty of a united nation and a focused people, as Ghanaians turned up in their numbers to green the country.

Equally worthy of appreciation is the disclosure by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, that the Green Ghana Campaign will be institutionalised. This is a great piece of news, as its implementation will offer a great opportunity for evaluation and how the campaign to green Ghana will fare. 

In my view, greening Ghana is long overdue as a result of the fact that our forest cover is, on a daily basis, being depleted left, right and centre. Alas, the awakening is here and firm efforts are being made to overcome the challenges associated with forest degradation and the management of sustainable land use.

Purposeful campaign

The massive participation in the green Ghana project was the outcome of weeks of intense and purposeful campaign that culminated in drawing many people from all walks of life to plant an ultimate target of 10 million trees to replenish our dwindling forest resources.

A Hawthorne and Juam study in 1993 recorded that about half of Ghana's reserved forests was either mostly degraded or in worse conditions. And, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, between 1990 and 2010, Ghana lost an average of 1.68 per cent of its forest per year. In total, between 1990 and 2010, Ghana lost 33.7 per cent of its forest cover.

Great initiative

Given the importance of trees to human existence, and the fact that they provide habitats for animals, as well as offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change, I can only applaud the initiators and the organisers for their work and foresight which have culminated in such an overwhelming endorsement.

Indeed, the exciting spectacle of the highest echelon of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, as well as highly revered traditional leaders, military chiefs, the Police Administration, the Diplomatic Corps, among many others, joining other citizens for the exercise speaks volumes of what a united people with a common destiny can achieve.

Like the broom whose brunch is difficult to break, I see this as an opportunity for a national revival and renewal to rally around national projects with common zeal to achieve progress for our motherland.

National enthusiasm

It brings out useful lessons which we must all take advantage of as good citizens to catapult our national development to enviable heights. The onus lies on us, the media, the National Commission for Civic Education, NGOs, our traditional authorities and educational institutions to take advantage of this national enthusiasm to sensitise the population to strengthen and sustain this spirit for the good of the country.

In the Wall of Jericho narrative, the Holy Bible depicts what a unified people can achieve and what disunity, confusion and misunderstanding can cause generations. We must use this time to re-establish our identity and bring out the hardworking, innovative and determined nature of the people of the old Ghana Kingdom whose offspring make up our modern country.

Nurturing seedlings

But I am also concerned that although this may be the first time in our recent history to witness such a clarion call and massive participation in such a national exercise, it is not the first time we have made attempts at greening our country and adding more hectares to our forest cover.

We have done this a number of times, but the seedlings couldn’t survive because we only planted the seedlings but failed to nurture and grow them.

This time around, leadership at all levels must ensure that the trees grow to achieve the results of a green Ghana, as envisaged, to engender interest in other national events and exercises.

All citizens, and especially the security agencies, must exhibit patriotism by arresting people who illegally fell trees. It is counter-productive for citizens to strive to plant trees only for a few selfish, greedy ones among us to fell the grown ones.

The era of the country moving one step forward only for the selfish interest of others to bring us many steps back must end.

Self-introspection

We must further remember that the planting of the trees does not end with last Friday’s exercise; all those who could not take part must find the time to plant theirs on their premises. There is no reason to doubt that the time for self-introspection and mental renewal for the national cause is now. It is important to reflect on the words of our national pledge, the national anthem and the national hymn to continue from where our forebears left off and render unqualified service to our country, in order for God to shower His blessings on our homeland.

Congratulations, all of us, on a successful Green Ghana Day.

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