Blog Action Day: Climate Change

What is blog action day?

Blog action day or BAD09 as some blog nerds call it is a day for bloggers all around the world to join forces around one important topic. Last year, the topic was poverty and I participated then too. The result of that can be seen here.

What is this year's topic?

It is Climate Change. I guess with the UN Climate Conference coming up in Copenhagen in December, its a fairly current topic. And there is a lot to say. Check out BAD09's inspiration page that has gathered some very interesting information about climate change, for instance.

Speaking of the urgency of the topic....Last time I went to my native Sweden, I was surprised how the word klimatsmart (translates into climate savvy or environmentally concious or something like that) was everywhere: A train journey was maybe not cheap, but klimatsmart. One brand of milk was more klimatsmart than another. My friend had gotten a colorful brochure in the mail asking her if she was klimatsmart (she wondered here how klimatsmart that brochure really was...). My cousin's new blog even had klimatsmart in the title!

What can be said about climate change in Ghana?

Actually, what strikes me is how not current the topic is in Ghana. The website (organization?) is counting down to the UN meeting and tellingly has no story from Ghana on their cool Climate Orb application. Really, when was the last time you heard someone discuss climate change around here?

The rest of the world seems worried about climate change/higher temperatures. One of the effects that have been discussed lately is how this can increase the spread of malaria to Western Europe, South America and even Russia.

But in Ghana we don't worry too much about that. Malaria is already one of Ghana's biggest problems to date.

But do we really need to talk about climate change in Ghana? Shouldn't we rather DO something?

A way to globally reduce the carbon dioxide emissions is to make sure we travel with public transport rather than individually in our own cars. Today, many Ghanaians travel in packed trotros, shared taxis or "Kufuor busses" and hence do not emit too much CO2. Can we say the same about the North/West? But as Ghanaians grow richer - our goal is to become a middle income country as soon as possible - more Ghanaians can also afford their own cars.

In my opinion the problem in the discussion about climate change is that while developed countries are struggling to be sustainable, developing countries are already klimatsmarta, but not by choice. Rather the "environmental consciousness" or sustainable living is caused by last year's topic; poverty.

Climate change issues in the end boils down to politics and income distribution. Will my 4 year old relative in the photo above drive her own car when she has grown up? Is it really fair to try to stop her?

What do you think?


posekyere said...

I suppose Africans are much more concerned with the bassic neccessities.
To many issues of the environment is for the rich mations.
I believe that the indifference to a large degree can be blamed on lack of awareness. Look at how the national flowers- plastic bags- have been strewn all over the place. The fact is we cannot wait untill everybody is rich before we start talking about climatic chamge. It must begin now, staring from the kindergartens!

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Is it really awareness that is the issue though? Doesn't everybody know throwing plastics is bad? - but what are the alternatives?

Few public places offer waste bins. Garbage pick up is expensive (from GHC 10 a month where I live). Everything that is sold is packed in plastics without any interference from government - the most disturbing is the water sachet. If we only had potable water in our taps all that plastic (and transport) wouldn't be needed.

Its not awareness among school children that is needed in my opinion.

The pale observer said...

Great post Kajsa - but I disagree that Ghanaians are climate-smart. There are cerain practices of the West that cause a huge carbon footprint.. but deforestation is one of the major contributing factors to climate change and the culprits are definitely here in Ghana.

We need education on the issues to prevent playing a significant part in destroying the planet! :)

Maya Mame said...

I definitely think there is a lack of awareness Kajsa. In Sweden, at a very early age we are taught to take care of our city , so once we're adults, it comes naturally to us. Many in Ghana are not aware of the dangers of the fumes coming from the plastic bag they're burning, if they did, they'd soon stop.

And yes, we should prevent your relative from driving, let's hope by then there are safe cycling routes or wellfunctioning public transport for her to use! :)

Edward of PathGhana said...

I liked your idea about, patronizing tro-tros and Kuffour buses. I think it will be more convincing if the government would make these transport means more attractive so that it wouldn't seem as though tro-tros are just for the poor.

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Interesting discussion forming here. As I understand it Pale Observer and Maya Maame join Posekyere in that they feel education is the key, while Edward and I say government needs to provide viable alternatives.

I guess these are not opposing views, what I am saying is not that I oppose education, but that education alone - about say burning trash - will not do much in changing practices as trash trucks are far and few in between.

And even if we include mining, cutting down trees etc, I still think it is fair to say developing countries' populations are klimatsmarta by the fact that people consume little and reuse a lot.

The problem is when we can afford to consume more in Ghana, we will.

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read that blog. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Thanks Anon!

Anonymous said...

hm. interesting .

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Well, Thank you!

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