- FAAPA ENG - https://www.faapa.info/en -

Collective efforts needed to rebuild climate resilient communities

Cape Coast, March 5, GNA – Environmentalists at a day’s roundtable on climate change, culture and security have advocated an immediate, and collective action to address the pressing issue of climate change in communities.

They said it was important to build the capacity of actors, particularly at the local community level, to cope with, and adapt to, the devastating impact of climate change on lives.

According to them, no one group could deal with the issue as the dynamics were interwoven and like a chain, would require each one to play his role to achieve the desired impact.

The panellists are; Prof Nana Ama Browne Klutse, Climtecpreneur with the University of Ghana, Legon and Prof Ken Ahorsu, Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, University of Ghana.

Others are Prof. Aliyu Shugaba, Director of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-Graduate School, Maiduguri, Nigeria, and Dr Samuel Dotse, African Special Envoy on Climate Change.

The Preservationists were speaking at the University of Cape Coast’s (UCC) annual SDG-Graduate School, which focuses on Cultures and Development in West Africa.

The school is a collaborative training network for graduate students run by UCC, University of Hildesheim in Germany, and University of Maiduguri in Nigeria.

The initiative fosters innovative research that brings together approaches from performance, arts, and culture to bear on sustainable development as defined in the SDGs.

Prof Klutse called for the promotion of behavioural change by all stakeholders, stressing on the need to adopt practices that would protect the environment, including forest conservation, sustainable agricultural practices and water resource management, among others.

That will enhance the ability of community members to deal with and adjust to the impact of climate change on their livelihoods and food security.

That, she said, could be done by helping to raise awareness and ensure greater commitment to environmental conservation and climate change adaptation policy in the districts and the regions.

Prof Ahorsu said scientists have linked severe heat and drought that fuel wildfires to climate change and human activities.

The rising temperatures, he said, were a key indicator of climate change, evaporating more moisture from the ground, drying out the soil, and making the vegetation more flammable.

As drought and heat continue with rising greenhouse gas emissions, he said, humans must expect more wildfires in years ahead, particularly with the fire seasons getting longer.

Prof Ahorsu said the impact of climate change on agriculture remained a major concern, as farmers struggled to keep up with shifting weather patterns and increasingly unpredictable water supplies.

Extreme events such as such flooding or reduced water supply also threatened crop yields, he noted saying aside from the destruction, wildfires caused loses of farm produce and that there was even a grimmer picture.

Prof Saliba stressed that human activities such as some cultural practices, lighting campfires, agricultural activities and discarding lit cigarettes were key drivers of deforestation.

He cautioned that if concrete actions were not taken to break the warming cycle, more and worse wildfires and coastal devastation will recur.

It was his expectation that governments and policy-makers would help protect the forests and trees to counterbalance and offset continued fossil fuel use.

« This hope remains a wild goose chase because severe and large wildfires could derail that plan, » he said.

Dr Dotse said there was the need for collective efforts, involving all stakeholders, to address the triggers of wildfires.

This calls for sensitisation and education for farmers on best farming practices to help curb the menace.

He urged chiefs, opinion and community leaders to send strong signals to all the people in their communities to desist from bush burning, particularly during the dry season or face severe punishment in accordance with the law.

Giving an overview of the programme, Dr. Sabina Appiah-Boateng, Coordinator, SDG-Graduate School at UCC said the platform offered scholarship research on topics such as cultural performances, eco-arts, peace building, climate change, music, among others.

She said the intersection of culture, climate change, and security represented a critical and complex area of study.

It addresses how cultural practices, beliefs, and identities influence and are influenced by climate change and its implications for global and regional security.

To her, the interplay between culture, climate change, and security was a critical area that required nuanced understanding and innovative approaches to address the complex challenges it presented.

By recognizing and leveraging cultural resources and knowledge, she said, « it is possible to develop more effective, sustainable, and equitable strategies for addressing climate-induced security threats.”

Twice every year since 2017, she said the Graduate School had organised two-week workshops, one in Ghana and the other in Nigeria.

Isaac Arkoh