Civilisation is Creating the Environmental Problems- Otumfuo

Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has indicated that civilization is the genesis of the environmental challenges the earth is battling today.

He noted that the way of life people of ancient days which is “primitive” in the view of the current generation prioritized and safeguarded the environment in a sharp contrast to what is being witnessed today.

Otumfuo made these comments when the Country Representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Noor Baya Pwani, visited him to request an envoy for their ‘Africa Royals Climate Change and Tree Planting and Care’ Programme.

Led by a team from the Ghana Red Cross Society (GRSC) including the General Secretary, Glolo Solomon Gayoni and the Regional Manager, Mr Clement Owusu-Banahene, Mr Pwani Otumfuo explained the objective of the project which bothers on climate change and their action.

“Our objective is to come and share with you our actions in terms of climate change. We all acknowledge that climate change is impacting our natural resources. It’s making living very difficult and we appreciate that the royal has a lot of impact in terms of the drive in issues around climate change. We know there is a lot of cultural attachment and a lot of religious attachment in terms of how our environment interacts.

“With you, Your Highness, we also know that you have the word and the commitment in terms of ecosystem protection, in terms of environmental protection, and so with your help, we will be able to achieve a lot. We also know that the ecosystems of the environment are aspects that have actually enjoyed the leadership and the protection from the royal family and have been more sustainable in terms of long-term services.”

As such, he said, his outfit deems it appropriate to utilise the traditional leadership structure in creating awareness about climate change with a piloting in Lesotho, Buganda, Zambia and Ghana.

“Our feeling is that if it pleases you, Your Highness, you nominate one of your key persons like a prince or a princess so that they drive our agenda here in Ghana, in terms of stewardship towards environmental issues. We will enjoy the cultural support in issues around the environment.”

Mr Pwani outlined some initiatives the IFRC is embarking on in Asante Mampong in the Ashanti Region in the provision of safe drinking water to residents.

“As Red Cross, we have a lot of things we are performing in terms of our humanitarian programmes and within your Kingdom, we have activities around Asante Mampong where last year, we were able to support 400 households for subsidized connection,  that is, connecting households to safe water supply.

“We provided 70% subsidy of the cost to 400 households. We also provided a 100% subsidy to 50 households. This year we are still there and we are planning to do so for 400 more households. We plan to be there till 2025 to provide safe drinking water.”

Otumfuo agreed to nominate one person for the climate change awareness creation in Ghana as their ambassador but noted that concerted efforts were needed to effectively deal with the menace.

“I’m prepared to help because my heart is there and I’m always wanting us to find a solution to us…I will appoint someone to join the crusade but we also have to take it seriously and formulate policies where we can talk to the government about the issues that need to be resolved.”

His Majesty is of the view that the government must be brought on board to formulate and pass a Legislative Instrument to regulate the protection of the environment.

“The Red Cross and the International Federation can team up and talk but it won’t be effective until we have a policy negotiated with the government under a Legislative Instrument (LI)…If we don’t adopt policies that will inure to our benefit in the protection of the environment and appreciate that the tree is more important we will still continue to see this…let’s get the government to have a political will in this. {For instance} The forest cover is being given out to people to mine, why don’t we have a policy that will enjoin them to replace all trees they cut?”

Environmental Problems
Otumfuo in his remarks also stated that traditional laws in the olden days such as restrictions on farming, fishing and mining gave natural resources the utmost protection.

He highlighted, “Mining has also been a problem. It is our own creation. We all have to make sure that we fight this together. In the olden days, the cultural aspects were very effective. You couldn’t do things you do now because the farmer knew he was not to go to the farm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

“Why was that? To preserve the environment. There were rules that you could not build along buffer zone of rivers. But what do we see now? The government is giving permits for people to build.”

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