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Day before 2022 Greening Day

BY: Dinah Amankwah
File photo
File photo

The most refreshing aspect of the Greening Day remains its universality; there is a certain fascination about countries uniting to fight climate change. In a way, we are unitedly demonstrating belief in the truism that humanity dies when the last tree dies.

By planting, we humans are demonstrating a will, not only to live but also to preserve the earth’s cooling footprint.

Indeed, every little step in mitigating climate change implies a thwarting of the embittered ozone’s scorching.

However, equally a legitimate fact is the aesthetic effect of plush green around us. When I attended an academic conference in Mombasa in 2012, what struck me most was the lush green environment of the Island.

Wherever I turned, I could see well-kept parks, trees and lawns. When delegates could not access the Dolphin Park, the scheduled sightseeing destination due to heavy rains, I suggested a visit to the Haller Park in the middle of the island, and lo and behold, delegates got a good tour and for a bonus encountered a tortoise that was decades old. When their habitat is protected, creatures thrive.

Sentiments

I shared my sentiments with one of the organisers, applauding Kenyans for their greening efforts. He explained that the tree planting initiative of the late Professor Wangari Muta Maathai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement (GBM), started in 1977, which had been embraced by Kenyans, had yielded the sustaining green environment.

He added that the Kenyan policy was the preservation of trees, but if one cut a tree, one was required to plant 10 for replacement.

Imagine,10 trees planted for one tree felled; how could the environment not be lush! Even so, Kenya is also experiencing deforestation, so President Uhuru, just like his counterpart in Ghana, is leading the campaign to plant trees.

Global collaboration

As heart-warming as the global collaboration is, the appreciation deepens in a politically polarised Ghana where the greening effort assumed a neutral face.

Despite some jaundiced stances, major political stakeholders cast aside political sentiments to focus on the environment.

Making all parliamentarians go to their constituencies to lead tree planting activity on June 10 was a laudable move.

Seeing politicians plant to motivate others to plant was a welcoming sight. Even if it was for a day, the political cacophony dimmed for the environment! How refreshing! But June 10 was only a culmination of good preparation.

On June 9, 2022, I visited three distribution locations and was pleasantly surprised by the reception and collection system.

The Kumasi Forestry Division had put in place a solid distribution arrangement. For the endangered species, Mahogany, Ofram and Royal Palm, one had to fill a form at the forestry office.

The officer in charge and supporting staff were so co-operative. It was an open house at the nursery for all other seedlings – mango, guava and decorative seedlings – with no limitation to selection.

For convenience and accessibility, there was a distribution point at the Ahodwo roundabout. It was a smart move to reach people. An acquaintance saw me and also collected seedlings for his house. Apparently, a good strategy and serviceable officers yielded good dividends.

The planting target for 2022 was 20 million trees but that was exceeded by over two million trees. Encouraging even if the target of 10 per cent forest cover eluded us. For the 2023 Green Day, if each 2022 participant manages to win one soul for the tree planting activity, we just might exceed our forest recovery target.

Distinctly absent was the usual stinginess that characterises national distribution, where people engaged to distribute materials would siphon such home or give to friends. The Kumasi Forestry team deserves high commendation for their enthusiasm and unusual co-operation.

This Greening initiative is one of sheer common sense and pragmatic governance towards environmental protection for human sustenance.

Therefore, it is a policy that all successive governments must sustain. The Greening Day is completely apolitical. No Ghanaian politician should be obtuse about that.

So, what if we do not have a Wangari Maathai or GBM in Ghana? We have started and should maintain this green culture. Over to us, country people!

The writer is a Lecturer, Takoradi Technical University. Takoradi. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.