Feature Article of Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku
“Power concedes nothing without demand”—Fredrick Douglas.
This is extraordinary and humongous…This is a head- scratching moment!
THE YOUTH OF GHANA SHOULD arise to defend and protect the environment and the nation’s health and its resources.
Yes, the young people of this nation should be screaming from the rooftops of the Parliament House, OSU Castle, District Assemblies and Chiefs’ Palaces across the land right now; for many man -made problems that could have been avoided, or controlled and managed with simple initiatives and empathy.
People, have you noticed how the environmental degradation and the pollution of our river bodies rarely come up in the Presidential race this year? We have barely two months to go before general election and none of the leading politicians has said a word about the environment and how bad they have ruined our rivers bodies for profit.
Yes, the youth of this nation should be furious at me and my generation for destroying the environment and raping Ghana with impunity.
Here is why!
There are generations of Ghanaians who came of age during periods of relative prosperity and availability of jobs. They entered a country (Ghana) of comfort and stability with low environmental degradation. Relatively, little was required of them beyond their obligations to themselves and their families.
That is not the country you young people inherit today. As a matter of fact, you’re growing up in a time of great challenges. We now have high unemployment rate, perpetuated by an idea-deficit, evil-greedy dwarf politicians. There are also serious reckless mining activities that have resulted in high concentrations of poisonous substances; such as lead and arsenic. These substances enter the food web of the poor communities where mineral resources are being exploited without sustainability consideration by individuals. And, even by licensed companies (who know better exploration methods) for the benefit of their shareholders; some of whom are enjoying good life with their dividends far from the shores of Ghana.
You will seek a profession in an era where undergraduate degree is no longer a sure path to success. And, you’ll raise your children in a country where environmental degradation and greed need to be contained.
Not only that, with the help of some forestry officials, and being sanctioned by community leaderships, politicians and chiefs, the vegetation of Ghana has been reduced to non-arable land due to illegal timber logging and other activities.
You might say it’s not your damn business. But, I haven’t even touched on the health issues and the effects of poor sewage and waste disposal or the poor sanitation of the food processing industries. So spare me with your tufiakwa!
Now let’s take a tour to the slaughter houses, restaurants’ kitchens, and pure-water processing plants, way-side chop bars, bread bakers’ den, and other food vendors’ parlors around the country. How many of these establishments will pass the health inspectors’ standard inspection or that of the standard Board’s---to safe the citizenry from any serious illness? Does anyone care about the conditions in which these food items or water are processed or produced? What about the cooking utensils and serving bowls they use?
Is it me or this is the time? Maybe, I’m crazy, but this is how my mind works: whenever things don’t go right in Ghana my mind goes to the young people of this country. Despite the politics involved, we know something could be done to change the tone and tenor of things in this country for this generation and the next if our young people will put away their latest electronic gadgets and put their feet down and demand something from our greedy evil-dwarf politicians and community leaderships.
No, I’m not advocating for civil disobedience, but I strongly and genuinely believe that virtually, you’re the only group of people who can change things around in this country. Because my generation is losing it so bad that we need the Ghanaian youth to rescue Ghana and its resources. It’s your job because my generation (which is filled with greedy evil-dwarf bastards) has failed us miserably.
Yes, humankind has been destroying the planet since the beginning of the industrial revolution, but in our part of the world, we’re by and large destroying all our water bodies, arable lands and other species with the help of our community leaderships and foreign and indigenous mining companies.
Make no mistake; we in Ghana are an oppressed people when it comes to air, water and food contaminations and pollutions. Also, we’re increasingly being fed by genetically modified and chemically –saturated imported food. Now we’re suffocated with local food production that is ridden with chemically –saturated and contaminated produce because spraying deadly and cancer- induced chemicals on the farm is a ‘newly-discovered’ farming method in Ghana…. While we’re being told that we’re free and in control of our lives and future—we’re not! The irony is that the people from the countries where we import our food and chemicals are religiously consuming organic fresh farm produce.
Like it or now, we’re under the control of our evil -dwarf bastard community leaders, politicians and some business people, who are too greedy to stop and realize that their own children and grandchildren have to inhale the same air and use the same pot-hole ridden roads like the rest of us, even if they’re wealthy and powerful that they don’t have to eat the same food and drink the same water the rest of us drink.
Please someone should tell me that our politicians and civic leaderships haven’t seen how bad our two big rivers like Birim and Pra in the eastern region have been polluted and unfit for human consumption and impregnated with toxic elements; such that fish and other aquatic species could not survive. The mining companies are paying off our politicians and chiefs, big time!
Listen, you young people! You can’t awaken the conscience of those who are consciously selling everything including the air we breathe. And, obliviously you can’t be nice to those cruel, heartless evil- dwarfs; who worship nothing but money...it simply can’t be done!
Believe it or not, most of the decisions made by international and local companies that impact negatively on the environment and our lives are signed onto by our greedy politicians, who have sold out the same citizenry, the very people who put them in office. So the time has come for young people to take back the defense of the environment, water bodies, and the natural resources.
By ‘taking back’ I don’t mean a full -blown revolution like the Arab- Spring, but this taking- back is not going to be a walk- in –the- park because those in control and responsible for the environmental degradation and depletion (mess we’re in) are not going to roll over and play dead because a bunch of well-meaning young people get together on university campuses across the land and demand a change.
Indeed, no one likes using turmoil and upheaval to achieve a goal, but it’s not going to be an easy ride to tell those responsible for the mess to desist from those illegal actions against the nation and its people.
What about if friendly persuasion doesn’t work? What if they don’t listen to your outcries and view your efforts as just a bunch of kids who have nothing better to do but letting off youthful steam?
I know, I know you don’t want any civil disobedience either, but how can you achieve your goals without a little pressure? Whether or not you’re in favor of the use of pressure, the hidden truth is if the young people of this nation occupy the rooftops of the Parliament House, OSU Castle, District Assemblies, Chiefs’ palaces, as well as the houses of our MPs they will reform immediately.
By the way, the only reason why the politicians who are running in this year’s election haven’t declared their assets is because you have allowed them.
It’s the youth’s job to protect and defend the environment and the nation’s resources from the greedy evil-bastard dwarfs. Because my generation has failed us and bent on exploiting the nation further so we can’t count on them to do anything meaningful for the nation anymore.
Please prove me wrong if I’m right!
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi. (Voice of Reason)
*The author is a social commentator and the founder of the Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment Foundation for Disadvantaged Youth.