Julius K. Satsi, GNA
Accra, June 29, GNA - Professor Horace Campbell, the third Occupant of the Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies at the University of Ghana (UG), has delivered his farewell lecture with a call to rethink the resuscitation of the environment.
He suggested the need for vigorous reforestation, saying that, the keen interest of Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, the Vice Chancellor UG to vigorously plant trees should be leveraged on to create a centre for tree planting.
Professor Campbell said the Vice Chancellor’s tree planting exercise was integrated in the wider Pan African plan of planting a billion trees, which warranted the creation of a centre at the University to make it more effective.
He was speaking on the theme: “Environmental Repair and the Regeneration of Africa: Urgency of the Pan African Approach.”
He said it was necessary for Africans to take particular interest in preserving the natural environment to evade the cascading negative effects of global warming on the continent as it would help to prevent rise in temperature.
Other elements needed for the regeneration of the continent was water harvesting and storage; irrigation and integrated management of soil and water; and integrated canal system, he said.
Prof Campbell expressed concern about how Africa was suffering largely from the global warming even though the continent produced the lowest of greenhouse emissions at a rate of 2.5 per cent as against 33 per cent from North America.
Some of the cascading negative effects of global warming on the region, he identified as the increasing warm spells and decreased numbers of cold nights, continued decrease in precipitation, impacts on hydrological system, and increased desertification.
Professor Campbell identified that the effects of global warming resulted in disasters of increasing frequency and intensity, which was also affecting agricultural productivity across the continents.
Quoting the Food and Agriculture Organisation, he noted that by 2080, due to climate change it was likely that 75 per cent of Africans will be at risk of hunger if nothing was done about it in the immediate.
He, therefore, called on African leaders to eradicate corruption, fight environmental degradation, empower women, and increase access to education and health with a larger goal of liquidating imperial domination.
Professor Campbell also called on Africans to respect earth and life in all diversity, caring for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.
He indicated that the continent must take keen interest in the planting of trees to ensure that the climate, changed to a positive outlook, propelling the increase in rainfall pattern to stabilise the environment.
He called for a different system for tackling environmental challenges, which was rooted not in economic abstractions but in physical realities that would establish the parameters by which its health was judged.
Professor Campbell noted that what Africans wanted now were peace, life, health, a safe planet earth and Pan African movement, saying that the agenda for development in Africa had consistently not been set by Africans and that it must change.
On his part, Professor Oduro Owusu said the need to plant more trees to ensure that the environment was green enough to sustain humanity was borne out of a visit he made to Israel when he was made to plant a tree after he had been told that ‘every single tree in Israel was planted.’
In 2009, the University of Ghana, in collaboration with AngloGold Ashanti Limited, established the Kwame Nkrumah Chair in the African Studies to be held at the Institute of African Studies.
The overarching role of this chair is to honour Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President and a staunch Pan Africanist for his significant intellectual contributions, for his vision.
The Chair was also to honour Dr Nkrumah’s commitment to the liberation and development on the continent and the diaspora as well as his promotion of research, teaching and the public promotion of Africana studies.
The Chair has so far had two distinguished occupants namely, Professor Kofi Anyidoho installed in February 2011 and Professor Jacob U. Gordon, installed in February 2013.
Professor Campbell, the Outgoing Chair delivered his inaugural lecture in February 2017 on the topic: “Reconstruction, Transformation, and the Unification of the Peoples of Africa in the 21st Century: Rekindling the Pan African Spirit of Kwame Nkrumah.