LESSONS I LEARNED FROM GREEN GHANA DAY: MR BENJAMIN EDWARDS SHARES HIS STORY.
The great French Marshall once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and wouldn’t reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, “In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon! -John F. Kennedy.
The above quote is a sober reflection on how I have already forfeited unknown people and generations from enjoying the necessary ecosystem services derived from trees.
Early in the month of May 2021, I visited my mentor, Mrs. Vivian Aye-Addo, the Acting Director for Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and Site Manager for Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site, then in our discourse, they arose the concern of the Green Ghana Day which was to be commemorated annually on 11th June. In fact, that was gospel to me when got the notification. That’s a great initiative from the government of Ghana, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and the Forestry Commission!
Just from this moment was a few weeks to the Green Ghana Day. Now, the big question was, How am I going to support this agenda immensely as an individual?
Within these times to the successful observation of the Green Ghana Day was some profound experiences and lessons that I learned of which I will like to share with you in chronological order:
- Request for a partnership letter to bring our organization on board. I fortunate to be the Co-Founder of YOLEG, a youth-led Not for profit organization. I later reached out to my colleagues of which we conclusively accepted to support the initiative within our most efficient means by giving out field laborers, creating social media awareness, and reducing the cost of feeding for participants.
- I proposed some stakeholders and o support the agenda. I quickly suggested to The Director for Wildlife Division in my municipality, some stakeholders who may be of urgent help when reached out to. She had to join the Director and her team to these stakeholders to submit partnership letters to them: Bravo! to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, and Department of Geography Education of the University, as they gave showed the readiness to grace the upcoming event.
- Mobilized and Volunteers to participate in the event. I had to quickly design a Google form to recruit Volunteers who will serve as field laborers to help in the planting of the seedlings. This was followed by a virtual meeting for Volunteers to plan on the effective and efficient means of participating in the Green Ghana Day. Working together with my team I was able to bring on board 12 volunteers from the University of Education, Winneba who helped in the planting of 5,000 trees in the Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site.
- Funds ought to be raised to support feeding and transporting volunteers to the planting site. I was able to work with my other colleagues to mobilize some funds from some of our Associates, the volunteers, and Staff to cater for the feeding and transportation of our volunteers. Every youth in the least possible means can help in the Green Ghana Agenda using these same principles.
I sincerely applaud the government of Ghana, the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources, and the Forestry Commission for introducing the annual commemoration of the Green Ghana Day. In fact, I saw some university students, youth-led organizations, and individuals, voluntarily dedicating their time and efforts traveling long distances and digging hard grounds to plant trees, some even to the expense of their lectures. This alarms how the youth is really groaning within for opportunities to engender development in our country, Ghana.
“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.”
― Wangari Maathai
Even though it’s a good attempt to plant trees in my municipality, the next big question is, are there some provisions put in place to monitor the growth of these trees after much labour?
This nagging question ought to be asked again and again especially in areas where rainfall is relatively low, of which Effutu Municipality is no exception.
This calls for continuous monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly support and Partnership to help water these plants. Youth organizations, cooperate and religious institutions, Municipal assemblies, stakeholders ought to be sensitized to subscribe for monthly partnerships with the regional and district forestry commission to water the trees. The district Ghana water company will be much needed in this regard.
The government should supply adequate equipment to aid in the planting of seedlings.
As an educationist, I will also suggest schools inculcate in curricula activities the habit of nursing seedlings and planting more trees at all levels of education. Planting trees is not a responsibility of some artisan, but rather the corporate responsibility of humankind.
What is the way forward?
Having biodiversity conservatism and restoration at heart, I together with YOLEG will continue to partner with the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission Ghana in Effutu Municipality to monitor the growth of these trees in the next year.