More than 100 people gathered on April 22 at the Afia Village in Accra, Ghana, to celebrate Earth Day and join in the global March for Science campaign. In an exciting atmosphere, there were teach-ins focusing on what can be done to preserve the environment, the need for science to be at the forefront of national development and ways to encourage more women to venture into science and technology.
There also were presentations on a number of environmental and science-related topics, including how peasant farmers are struggling because of changed rainfall patterns over the years and the destruction that illegal mining activities are doing to the environment, among others.
Outdoor activities included hands-on teachings about recycling and video shows on climate change and science.
“We march for science because the action of one country affects all of us…sitting on the edge of the ocean, we are concerned about climate change and ocean pollution and their effects on agriculture in Ghana,” the Accra March for Science team said.
“It’s our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example,” they added.
Various speakers championed science as a tool that serves the common good of the people and plays an indispensable role in the development of communities. They also discussed the impact of poor environmental management on the health, economics and general socio-economic development of communities.
There were placards with various inscriptions including: “there is no planet but this;” “I’m with her,” in reference to the earth; and “yes to science, no to alternative facts,” among others.
Participants included, among others, Kenneth Ashigbey, managing director of Ghana’s largest circulating newspaper, Daily Graphic; 2016 Cornell Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellow Joseph Opoku Gakpo; 2015 UNICEF Reach for Change Award Winner Cordie Aziz, and 2015 Global Leadership Fellow Rufai Ahmed Braimah.
“No matter what you do, it’s good to get a bit of science in what you do,” Ashigbey said.
Or as I told others at the event: “Standing up for science and defending the environment are moral obligations that demand the best of all of us and we will not let Mother Earth down.”
Joseph Opoku Gakpo is a 2016 Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellow.