The Development Institute marks World Environment Day 2017
World Environment Day which is celebrated annually on the 5th day of June, is the United Nations’ most important day for raising global awareness and action for the protection of our environment – it is the ‘people’s day’ for doing something to take care of the Earth or become an agent of change. This year’s celebration was under the theme, “Connecting People to Nature”. Nature can only be enjoyed in an environment that is not degraded.
The Development Institute, in 2017, focused the celebration on the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site (KLCRS), one of its project areas. The Lagoon complex is one of the ecosystems in Ghana that supports the local population and their livelihood activities. The pressure from increased population and unsustainable practices by local people is threatening the lagoon ecosystem. Wetlands however are vital ecosystems due to its ability to mitigate damage from storm and flooding, improve water quality in rivers, store carbon and recharge groundwater among others. Wetlands also have huge tourist potential for bird watching and the KLCRS is a perfect example.
As part of The DI’s efforts to inculcate good environmental practices in the younger generation, the organization engaged over 100 pupils of the Avuto-Akutukope DA Basic School (South Tongu district) to commemorate the World Environment Day, 2017. Activities undertaken to mark the day included a talk on environmental conservation, importance of tree planting, climate change and the importance of wetlands. It was an interactive session; the pupils were lively in responding to questions and even some teachers showed a lot of interest, asking relevant questions in relation to the environment. Additionally, 50 mango seedlings, donated by The DI to the school were planted on the school compound and behind the school to increase the sparse tree cover. The pupils including some teachers participated in the tree planting in all eagerness and committed to nurturing the seedlings. At the end of the day, both pupils and teachers had a better understanding of the need to protect the environment and promised to put into practice lessons learned.
Environmental degradation is a global issue of great importance. While the present generation is trying to act to avert the potential disasters, it is also important to involve the younger generation to ensure a sustained local and global effort to protect our planet, which is what The DI set out to do.