The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has underscored the need for every Ghanaian to be of concern about planting a tree under the Green Ghana concept for is about the existence of life, the earth and all living things on it.
According to him, issues of the environment and climatic change have become topical not because they are fashionable but because they are existential issues for every living thing on planet earth.
“There is a veritable threat to human existence that is typified by the impact of environmental degradation on the climate on our lives,” he stated.
Speaking at the tree planting exercise of the 2022 edition of the Green Ghana Day event at Parliament House on Friday, June 10, 2022, Speaker Bagbin noted the tree seedlings being planted form the basis of life.
The planting exercise, he said, is at the centre of providing sustenance for human existence and for its significance Parliament did not sit to conduct its daily business to afford members the opportunity to travel to their constituencies to participate.
“This bears testimony to the statement once made by the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, that “saving the planet isn’t a partisan issue. No matter what our political persuasion is, it behoves all Ghanaians to join in the efforts at protecting our environment, and by extension saving our planet.”
“It is our elders who say that ‘A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing. If you see a toad running during the daytime, it means there is something after its life.” he stated.
Quoting Ugandan climate activist Venessa Nakate, the Speaker stressed that climate change is more than statistics, more than data points, more than net-zero targets adding, “It is about the people: it is about the people who are being impacted right now. I add that tree planting is about the existence of life, the earth and all living things on it.”
According to the Speaker, it is easy to forget there is a nexus between the extent to which we protect the environment and the nation’s growth and development as a nation.
Ghana, he said, can therefore not successfully pursue an economic development growth agenda if environmental and climate challenges continued to be consigned to the environmental scientists alone.
He pointed out that parts of La in Accra, a growing beach community called Bortor, have today been completely wiped off the surface of the earth, and is gradually being forgotten just like several other areas along Ghana’s coastline including Keta, Dzelukope and allied beach communities in the Volta region that have been eclipsed completely by tidal waves.
The time to act, the Speaker stressed, is now and charged Ghanaians to dial the re-tune knob on climate change.
Hon. Alban Bagbin led officers of the House to plant trees on the precinct of Parliament, which was extended to the Speaker’s official residence, the Clerk’s official residence at Cantonments, The leadership village, Manet Villa, Joggis and Sakumono Estates.
Speaker Bagbin planted a Lignum vitae commonly referred to as the Tree of Life. Majority Whip Frank Annoh-Dompreh planted on behalf of the 1st Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu; Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah did the planting himself; Deputy Majority Whip Seyiram Alhassan planted on behalf of the Majority leader while Deputy Minority Whip Ahmed Ibrahim planted on behalf of the Minority leader.
Full Speech of Speaker on Green Ghana
Remarks by the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, on the occasion of the 2022 Edition of the Green Ghana Day on Friday, June 10 2022 in Accra
Hon. Deputy Speakers of Parliament
Hon. Members of Parliament here present
The Clerk to Parliament and his Deputies
Directors and Staff of the Parliamentary Service
Members of the Parliamentary Press Corps!
We gather here yet again for a very important exercise that has come to characterize the Green Ghana Day. This tree planting exercise, however ceremonial it might look, is at the center of providing sustenance for human existence. In today’s world, issues of the environment and climatic change have become topical, not because they are fashionable, but because they are existential issues for you and I, and every living thing on this planet. There is a veritable threat to human existence, which is typified by the impact of environmental degradation on the climate and on our lives.
You might have noticed that parliament is not sitting to do its daily business today. Members of the House – both the Majority and Minority groups – have travelled to their constituencies, to join their constituents in the tree planting exercise. This bears testimony to the statement once made by the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, that “saving the planet isn’t a partisan issue”. No matter what our political persuasion is, it behooves all Ghanaians to join in the efforts at protecting our environment, and by extension save our planet.
It is our elders who say that “a toad does not run in the daytime for nothing. If you see a toad running during the day time, it means there is something after its life”. The Hon. Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has told us specifically, what it is that is after our lives. He took us through the statistics and other data in relation to the threat to our existence. He also recalled what we did during last year’s Green Ghana Day, and explained what we plan to do today. The information provided is important. Over and beyond that, however, Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan climate activist, said “climate change is more than statistics; it is more than data points; it is more than net-zero targets. It is about the people: it is about the people who are being impacted right now”.
What we tend to forget very often is that there is a nexus between the extent to which we protect our environment and our growth and development as a nation. Ghana can therefore not successfully pursue an economic development and growth agenda if we continue to consign our environmental and climate challenges to the environmental scientists alone. “Climate change is such a huge issue that it requires a strong, concerted, consistent and enduring action by governments, ” says the Australian musician Peter Garrett. Indeed, we require strong partnerships to forestall the destruction occasioned by environmental degradation.
To the participants in today’s Green Ghana Day tree planting exercise, I believe speeches like the one I am delivering are the least important, particularly in a situation in which when we look to the south, the sea is rising around us all the time. Parts of La have been completely wiped off the surface of this earth, and it is gradually being forgotten. It was a growing beach community called Bortor. Today, we hardly remember it again. Huge portions of Keta, Dzelukope and allied beach communities and settlements in the Volta Region have been completely eclipsed by tidal waves. Today. Residents in these areas point to kilometers into the sea to show where their houses once stood. We cannot afford such occurrences anymore. The time to act is now, and that is why we are all here. We need to dial the re-tune knob on climate change!
My only wish is that today’s annual event will not be for just tree planting: instead, let us make it a tree-growing exercise. Let us look out for the trees we plant and make sure they grow. That is the best way to make progress on climate change.
With that, I thank you for your attention and participation in this exercise.
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