October 4, 2016 by Grace Mwaura
Joshua Amponsem found Climate Interactive’s tools essential in his work as a young environmental activist in Ghana. In the last three months, he has been mobilizing young people, social entrepreneurs, and universities across Ghana to experience World Climate simulations, and hence, inspiring them to take climate action. We asked Joshua how World Climate simulations were relevant for building the capacity of new climate leaders in Ghana.
_Grace: How would you describe the climate challenge in Ghana? _
Joshua: Ghana’s government efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation are currently progressing steadily with the support of international organizations and civil society activism. However, there is a huge knowledge gap among citizens. Over the few past years, civil society organizations have increased their climate education efforts. While policies reflect climate action, implementation has not reflected much effort. Sustainable production and consumption is neither implemented nor communicated adequately. Water bodies are being destroyed and water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure is poor. It’s even worse when we experience floods. Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) acknowledges that more needs to be done. World Climate is helping us bridge this knowledge gap and inspire climate action.
Grace: Why World Climate Simulations?
Joshua: Individuals must realize their mandate as stewards of nature. Governments and world leaders represent just a small portion of world population. The quantum number of youth, with all their strength and intelligence cannot sit idle and await decisions of our leaders when it comes to saving our planet. I always say that ‘Youth action on climate change is the solution to achieving a better future for planet Earth’. Thirty years from now, most of our leaders might be gone, but we will be alive. Our children and grandchildren will be alive. We need to preserve the Earth for them also. Playing World Climate helps us see urgent climate action is important for a safer future.
_Grace: What’s unique in your World Climate Simulations? _
Joshua: To make the participants feel like world leaders, I always set up the room with flags of the UN/UNFCCC, and print a delegate card for participants. After introducing World Climate, before commencing the negotiations, participants are given their delegate cards and flags of the countries/negotiating blocs they represent. Like magic, they suddenly begin to think, talk, and act like leaders from those countries. This revives the event and allows for a successful negotiation.
Grace: To anyone who would like to become a World Climate facilitator…
Joshua: … Experiencing World Climate simulation is a nice feeling but organizing an event is even super. It helps the participants to realize the difficulties in having diverse governments to agree to a common goal. As an organizer, you need to prepare the minds of your participants to understand the urgency of climate action and why they need to commit to fighting climate change. Additionally, as a facilitator, playing the UNFCCC Secretary, let your participants feel responsible for climate change. I also urge all organizers to fully understand the science, impacts and solutions regarding climate change before leading an event. Specifically, practice explaining the C-ROADS model to the delegates. To me, it is amazing to see how people enjoy playing roles of world leaders; and then uniting to exert pressure on other countries to reduce their emissions.
About Joshua Amponsem
Amponsem Joshua, is a young environmental activist with a degree in Environmental Science. He focuses on youth mobilization for environmental conservation and advocacy through volunteerism, and social media. While an undergraduate, he founded Green Africa Youth Organization – a non-profit organization which serves as an advocacy anchor in environmental protection in Ghana. He has led a couple of anti-coal campaigns in Ghana which has made significant impact. To mark World Climate Week, Joshua is planning two World Climate Simulation events:
- 7th October, at University of Energy and Natural Resources (Sunyani, Brong Ahafo – Ghana).
- 14th October, at University for Development Studies (Tamale, Northern Ghana).