By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe
We have always known war as a state of armed conflict between states, societies and informal groups, such as rebellious and mercenaries. It is generally characterized by extreme aggression, destruction, and death, using regular or irregular military forces. The result of war is always massive thus inhabitants especially woman, children and people living with disability being the apparent casualties.
Climate change effects such as perennial floods, harsh weather condition, hunger caused by famine among others in Ghana especially in the northern ecological zone is growing at a super speed, destroying millions of lives and properties just as conflicts do.
Cultural practices are heavily tied to how we carry out subsistence or small scale farming, win sand, gravel, improper disposal of plastic waste and timber for building use of firewood and charcoal for cooking, among other activities have contributed to these grave effects of climate change.
In 2017, water bodies in Saboba, Buipe, Yendi, Sabare, Boafri, Worenja dried up causing acute water crisis in the area since the water pumping machines could no longer generate water from the dried water bodies.
Tuesday July 25, 2017 two died including a woman who drowned with her Toyota Rav4 vehicle in the wake of the flooding situation within the Tamale Metropolis.
Hajia Fati Bapun, a former teacher in Tumu in the Sissala East District of the Upper West region, was rushing to pick her child from school but was washed away in her car by the heavy floods. Efforts by a combined team of the Security Agencies could not save her and she unfortunately lost her life in the process.
If measures are not immediately taken to combat climate change, a thousand more will perish as a result.
Sadly, in Ghana, there are no stiff laws prohibiting people from felling trees. I believe with the recent dangers the nation is facing as a result of climate change, the government together with the local authorities need to pass taut laws to deter wanton tree cutting, bush burning, and application of toxic chemicals in fishing, farming and extraction of minerals.
Some time back, schools were co-opted into tree planting exercises in all corners of Ghana which has helped in many ways in the communities in which they were planted. It is heartbreaking to say that, these campaigns have since stopped.
In northern parts of Ghana, desertification is encroaching fast due to over-farming, wind storms, and over-grazing by livestock, notably goats and cattle. Bad farming methods also add to land degradation; these practices must be stopped with no second thought.
We all must bear in mind that climate change effects threaten food security in Ghana, and paradoxically, make agriculture unattractive to young farmers. Our friends in the heavily forested south also engage in massive pillage of the forest through bush burning, tree cutting, and clearing the land for cash crop farming.
We need interventions to reverse some of these deleterious activities which impact negatively on climate change. It is better to encourage more educated youngsters to take to farming for them to apply scientific methods to crop multiplication and soil conservation.
We need to encourage our rural dwellers to create wind belts, green belts, and forest reserves. Rural dwellers should be taught the importance of leaving forests on the banks of major rivers undisturbed, to shield them from erosion of their banks, which can lead to river silting. We should introduce carbon tax for all motorists to pay for emissions of carbon monoxide. We should set pollution limits for cars, and advise fishermen to stop using illegal fishing methods such as the use of explosives, strong beams of light for fishing, small mesh nets, among others.
Indeed it is now obvious that, the true conflict in northern Ghana is climate change and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts hence, we must all rise and join hands to battle it before we all fall to the fatal consequences climate change.
Prince Kwame Tamakloe is a Journalist with ardent interest in Climate Change Reporting/Writing. He works with Kesmi Fm in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana and as the Northern Regional Correspondent for Rainbow Radio Int. in London and Accra.