Climate Change Media Partnership

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My issues with the environment and climate change

I knew not much about climate change when I first wrote a poem on the environment http://www.voicesnet.org/displayonepoem.aspx?poemid=79967 in 2003 during my sojourn in Lagos, Nigeria. I was however conscious all was not well with man’s inhumanity to planet earth.

 

It was not until 2009 that my consciousness blossomed during a science safari to Kenya’s South Rift Valley, where the East African pastoralists battled with severe drought – the rains will not come and water bodies had dried up, leaving cattle and man to compete for water to survive http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=287&s=b.

 

Back home in Ghana, the abundance of water had saddened some communities with the attendant flooding. The severity of extreme conditions of drought and flood experienced by people in different parts of Africa is much prevalent today.

 

The unexpected changes in the weather have indeed become a reality but people are challenged in accessing basic information of what to do in the face of the changing weather patterns – farmers especially are worried about when to plant as the seasons become increasingly unpredictable http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=443.

 

In the midst of these realities, attitudes towards the environment – forests, water bodies, waste management and land degradation through resource exploitation – remain largely pathetic.

 

My desire to act local in environmental protection and promotion was inspired by two exceptional drives to green the environment – the activism of Prof. Wangari Maathai to grow forests within the city of Nairobi and Johannesburg’s tree planting project http://kadafricana.blogspot.com/2011/11/changing-our-ways-before-we.... I wondered why my own city – Kumasi – had not lived up to the enviable accolade as ‘The Garden City of West Africa’!

 

Indeed I have always had a strong will to use my media platforms to champion issues of the environmental sustainability http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201303/103317.php due to its importance to sustainable development http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=514. Unfortunately, specialization in journalism is a challenge and man must do a little bit of everything to stay in business.

 

My strategy therefore has been to use every opportunity to write about the environment http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201303/103097.php, even in my focal business and economic reporting. Hence, I have prioritized Green Initiatives like promotion of clean cook stoves, http://www.ghanamma.com/2013/02/lpg-price-hike-to-worsen-ghanas-dep... efficient energy alternatives http://www.new-ag.info/en/developments/devItem.php?a=2796 and waste recycling http://business.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201205/87382.php as well as carbon financing and trading opportunities: http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=483 , http://business.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201301/100688.php, .

 

I have passion for farming, food and agribusiness which naturally fall in line with my quest to write on the environment. With over 70 percent of Africa’s population in small-scale farming, the impact of climate change would surely be telling on the agricultural sector with rippling impact on the gains in all other sectors of the local economies.

 

Unfortunately, working in urban radio does not give enough room for a journalist to engage local farming communities with information on adapting to the changing climate. I was therefore humbled to learn the experience of Radio Ada in the Greater Accra Religion and the impact of the community radio on the lives of the farming population in the Ghanaian locality. With very limited resources – semi-experienced staff, volunteering hands, poor broadcasting equipment and low advertising revenue – the radio station is indeed serving humanity.

 

This was my story, thanks to the support from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and WRENmedia, UK. This radio piece http://www.agfax.net/radio/detail.php?i=489 reflected my desire to use journalism to impact positively on society for development.

 

The politicians, blue chip firms and people in white colour jobs can always have their way through in media engagements, either by means of their influence, power or financial muscle. But who lends a voice to the voiceless, especially the poor farmer who produces food to feed all others?

 

My will is to use the least opportunity to support to upliftment of the poor, vulnerable and helpless segments of society through qualitative engagement with people in power and authority to change for the best.

 

The joy is to see the farmer harvesting higher yields, getting markets to sell produce, recording low waste, earning enough to cater for the health and education of the family and living a happy life.

 

If this comes with recognition and honor for the reporter, we can only glorify God for the opportunity to lighten our small corner of the globe.

 

I therefore wish to thank the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the United Nations Environment Programme and supporting partners for instituting the annual African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201305/106951.php .

 

I was honored to have emerged 3rd best in the maiden Awards gala night in Nairobi in 2013 http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201306/107293.php ; http://thechronicle.com.gh/kumasi-broadcast-journalist-wins-africa-... and indeed humbled by messages from friends, colleagues, personalities and institutions:

 

“Kofi really deserves this award. He is one journalist who really cares about the environment. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana wishes him well....”

 

“Congrats Kofi Domfeh. I know you deserve it. I have previously called you to express my personal satisfaction for your environmental reporting. Soon, we will have the proposed workshop on environmental reporting. Congrats again” – Bossman Owusu, Tropenbos International Ghana.

 

“In my estimation you deserve more than this, but this could be the beginning of the emergence of a breakaway brand in Ghanaian Journalism. God Bless!” – Nyaaba Aweeba-Azongo.

 

The PACJA training for journalists and communication officers on climate change issues was great and the formation of the Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC) was the beginning of raising awareness on critical matters of our lives.

 

This has served as a platform to keep the campaign of climate justice going. My radio piece “When Production Soils Run Dry” https://soundcloud.com/kofi-adu-domfeh/when-production-soils-run-dry eventually came tops at the 2014 ACCER Awards http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2014/July-7th/ghanaian-journalist-w...

 

I dedicated the Award to the smallholder farmer at Atebubu-Amantin in the Brong Ahafo region who struggled to harvest groundnuts because the ground was unexpectedly tough https://soundcloud.com/kofi-adu-domfeh/2014-accer-awards-nite.

 

The drive now is to engage young journalists to take interest in reporting on environment to sustain livelihoods, whilst ensuring my community is active in climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. http://climatechangemedia.ning.com/profile/KofiAduDomfeh

 

I do what I do based on my providence that “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom”, Ecclesiastes 9:10.

 

Glory!

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