Global Work Party-10.10.10 in Sekondi/Takoradi


As part of activities marking the Global Work Party on 10.10.10; about 5000 events in 170 countries were coordinated by the climate activist group 350.org on October 10, 2010. More than 350 of these events were in Africa.

According to 350.org media statements, in the days surrounding the work party, U.S. President Barack Obama, Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn all committed to installing solar on their official residences.

Mexico City and Parisian Mayors committed to cut their city’s emissions 10% over the next year. Dozens of politicians, from US Senators to the President of the Timor-Leste Parliament joined rallies.

Ghana was not left out on this Global Work party celebration. A couple of activities took place in different parts of Ghana. I happened to find myself in Sekondi/Takoradi during the morning of the #101010 where the Mangrove Conversational Festival took place.

 


350.org & Mangrove Conservation Festival

 

The Mangrove Conservation Festival was organized by the Coastal Resources Center (CRC-Ghana) in collaboration with Crisis Action Solutions (CASOLS) and supported by Friends of the Nation (FoN) at the Essei Lagoon, Bakano in Sekondi.

The programme started at 6am with a clean-up of the mangroves amidst brass band music. There was a tree-planting exercise where 50 mangrove seedlings were planted. This exercise signifies a symbol of dedication to preserving the wetlands; an action towards climate change mitigation measures.

3 school clubs; Youth in Wetland Clubs (YWC) were formed by the NGO; Crisis Action Solutions (CASOLS) courtesy a small grant funding from Coastal Resources Center (CRC-Ghana). WYCs are being trained to serve as agents of change in their communities and to also serve as ambassadors for wetlands conservation.

 

350.org Sympolic Photography

 

There were poetry recitals from members of the newly formed YWC and a film show on Wetlands later in the day.

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Sex, Catastrophe, Climate Change?


“Sex, Catastrophe, Climate Change? How to get the attention of a media-sated public!”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has warned of impending disaster if the world does not succeed in slowing global warming – something that will especially affect low-lying coastal areas. The disappointing outcome of the Copenhagen Conference and the discovery of errors in some of the IPCC reports have reduced public interest in and to some extent even belief in climate change.

Discussion between scientists, communication experts and journalists took place in the main Planery  Chamber of the World Conference Center, Bonn.

Lissa McMillan, Mathis Wackernagel, Margarete Pauls, Irene Quaile & Heiner Wember!

Amongst the panelists were; Keith Cunningham [Filmmaker, Screenwriter and Consultant]; Lissa McMillan [Executive Producer-Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)]; Margarete Pauls  [Head of Communications  – Helmholtz Association]; Mathis Wackernagel [President – Global Footprint Network] & Heiner Wember [Radio Features Producer]

What role do the media play in communicating these issues? How do we reach a society inundated by information and entertainment? Attention-grabbing headlines, catastrophe scenarios, and sexy pictures, short and snappy sound-bites – can they do justice to a serious issue like global warming and climate change?

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Global concern about Climate Change: The media must inform and educate!


People all over the world continue to see climate change as a threat. The majority expect the media to not only inform the public about climate change, but also educate them about its consequences. At the same time, the number of people who aren’t concerned at all has risen in the last two years as well: from 4 percent in 2008 to 9 percent now.

Climate Change: The media must inform and educate!

Those are just some of the results of a global study from the market research company Synovate in cooperation with Deutsche Welle. Synovate surveyed more than 13,000 people from 18 different countries about the potential threats, the effects and the possibilities that exist to counteract climate change. The complete results were presented at this year’s Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum. This year’s conference, entitled “The Heat is On – Climate Change and the Media”, is currently taking place from June 21-23 in Bonn, Germany.

The “Synovate and Deutsche Welle Global Study on Climate Change 2010” is the third survey that Synovate has completed on this subject. Researchers relied on respondents from around the world – including Germany, France, Brazil, USA, China and South Africa. In Germany, the UK and Turkey, more than 60 percent of respondents are concerned about climate change. In the Netherlands (38 percent), Russia (42) and the USA (54) it is noticeably lower.

When asked about what they consider a “good or excellent source” of climate change information, 50 percent of respondents stated television, followed by websites (48 percent) and newspapers (44).

Television was rated especially high in the United Arab Emirates (UAE, 87 percent), China (85) and Japan (78).

For websites, China (81), the UK (71) and the UAE (64) were on top and for newspapers it was Japan and China (78), UAE (76) and Brazil (59). In Russia and South Africa, a noticeably lower number of respondents believe that these forms of media were a useful source of information.

The “Synovate Climate Change Study 2010” also shows that 88 percent of respondents believe that industry should be responsible for the fight against climate change. More than 70 percent stated that they have done or are willing to do something to reduce climate change. Nearly half of all respondents are willing to buy more environmentally-friendly products.

Questions: What is the best mode of reaching/spreading the news to the general public about issues on Climate Change apart from the various ways mentioned by these researchers mentioned above? Do you also see Climate Change as a threat? Are the media agencies in your country educating the masses about the consequences of Climate Change?

Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, Bonn – Germany


The Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum started yesterday with lots of discussion and talks from various idealists, Innovators, Climate Change Activists, Reporters and the media as a whole.

The theme for the three-day international event in the German city of Bonn is;

“The Heat Is On – Climate Change and the Media”.

Representatives from science, politics, business and the media discussed what the media can do to create awareness for one of the major challenges of our time; Climate Change.

Dir. Gen of Deutsche Welle; Erik Bettermann,

At the opening ceremony of the Forum, DW’s Director General; Erik Bettermann pointed out that the media’s role i;

“Chroniclers and interpreters of the fight against climate change”.

He also stated;

“I am convinced we need a climate change in the heads of journalists as well. Reporting needs to be about more than just the day’s news. It needs to drive people to action, while showing deficits, solutions and different perspectives.”

Mr. Erik Bettermann He also stressed that;

“Journalists need to tackle difficult issues with well-researched stories and show every individual that they can do something to help,”

He went on to say that the Internet, blogs and Twitter are the new platforms for the exchange of ideas and opinions – and more and more people are getting involved in the conversation. According to Mr. Bettermann; “The “climate generation” is growing, they think differently, go in new directions and are committed to implementing global projects on location.”

He also said the media must jump in and contribute as well. “They can create awareness for the unforeseeable consequences of climate change – for human beings and the environment. But they can also highlight the potential of moving towards green technology and ecologically friendly consumption and production. They can showcase creativity and innovation, new models of working and new fields of work – as well as a new quality of life.”

Bettermann said that in industrialized countries, the media – and thereby the general public – often don’t perceive developing countries as those making use of climate protection measures. But these countries also need to catch up in terms of economic growth and prosperity – something that we often take for granted.

Approximately 1,500 people from 95 countries are in Bonn, Germany participating in this third Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum.

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My Talk @ TEDxYouthInspire


Growing up in a small trading-town of Keta in the Volta Region, my grand-mother; Madam Doris Degadjor-Deha; a Cereal/Grains  Seller in the Keta Market paid so much attention to Education as the only key to eradicating poverty in our family.

Mac-Jordan @ #TEDxYI

Back in the day, she always makes me write letters to my father by normal dictation of whatever she wants to say and I also try as much as possible to express them on the foolscap sheet from my notebooks…! This was the only mean of communicating between my father and Uncles who were in Accra.

I saw those habits as a means of bridging the communication-gap between myself, my dad, Uncles and my grandmother. Those days of letter writing have really helped in shaping my writing skills till date. I owe my grandmother every bit of my success story. She’s the reason why I’m on this podium sharing my life experiences with you all.

In secondary school; Keta Secondary School. I was a member of the Writer’s & Debaters Club in my first and I later on  became the Editor-In-Chief of the School’s Magazine [The Dzolalian] which was released in time for the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

To some extent, I do believe it’s hard to know sometimes how our life has changed until we stop for a moment and look at how different it is from 10 or even 5 years ago.

In recent year’s social media, likely more than anything else has significantly impacted most of my daily lives. The very first thing I look out for when I open my eyes each morning is my Nokia E71 Mobile Phone…! With this tool, I’m able to communicate, know of the latest trending topics/news and update my followers/friends about happenings around me.

Positive Effects of Social Media

Envisioning the global conversation that has developed over the past few years because of tools like Hi5, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter might have been unimaginable for most people at the beginning of this decade. But social media communication tools have profoundly changed my life and how I interact with other people in the world.

Below are the various ways Social Media has revolutionized MY LIFE.

1. Citizen Journalism / Blogging

My friends on social media are increasingly becoming my trusted sources of information, even more than search engines. My Nigerian blogger friend now resident in Ghana, Oluniyi David Ajao recently commented,

“More people are finding my blog from Twitter and Facebook referrals than via Google.com.”

Interestingly, this should tell you how deep people are going with Social Media these days. News (news) is more social than ever.  By getting our news from social media, we know who is recommending and can easily communicate with that person about it.

2. NETWORKING / MEET-UPS

Recently, staying up-to-date with family and friends has been very easy with the coming in of Social Media tools. From writing letters which were either sent by post or hand delivered to today’s modern way of email/SMS has really proven that, Social Media has more positive effects than the negative.

The organizing crew and members of Barcamp-Ghana, Ghana Blogging Group, Maker Faire Africa, Accra Twestival and TEDxYouthInspire all came about as a result of networking via social media tools. By constant staying in touch with each other and working on projects, we know who is available to support any event/project that will be happening and who can play “X-Y-Z” role.

Of course, there isn’t only so much communication that can happen through a social network, but via Tweet-ups and other in-person events, people are expanding these online interactions to face-to-face meetings just like I met RodneyQuarcoo for the very first time even though we’ve been communicating for quite sometimes now.By the way, Rodney Quarcoo was the official photographer at the #TEDxYouthInspire event.

The introductions are initially made through social networks, and then people develop the relationship using phone calls and in-person meetings. In other words, social media is increasingly being used to find and maintain both old and potentially new friendships. There’s been so many instances where friends from Secondary School or University who’ve not been in touch after graduating get to reconnect again via Facebook or Twitter.

3. START-UPS / ENTREPRENEURSHIP

It is easier than ever to start and launch a business today, in great part thanks to social media. We can’t only locate potential collaborators and employees through interest-focused Google Groups, Facebook groups, Twitter searches, and other social networks, but perhaps more importantly, social media gives people who have time, but little money for advertising, the chance to engage with others and promote their business.

While business in the past was generally conducted with those in one’s immediate environment, social media tools, including everything from blogging-tweeting-posting videos on YouTube, has opened new possibilities for both customers and clients. Who we do business with and how we promote that business has moved increasingly online, and for small business especially, social media has proved valuable.

Start-ups using Social Media for advertisement in Ghana.

Start-ups like Meltwater Group, Internet Research, Twists & Locs, DreamOval, Suuch Solutions and some Ghanaian Musicians are a few that are really using Social Media to sell their products and name. A Google search on any of these businesses/Groups/Persons would definitely reveal more information about them today than a couple of years back.

4. SOCIAL ACTIVISM

The practice of using digital technology /social media tools for entertainment, reporting, education, travel and social change is how I define my zeal for activism. Last year, I was part of a few selected bloggers from Africa that participated in the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before my departure, I really experienced the positive side of Social Media from Visa acquisition, accommodation and air-fare package.

Managing Director of GlobalVoicesOnline, Georgia Popplewell visited Ghana sometimes in October 2009 for the African Media Leadership Conference. I happened to take her for a guided tour around some parts of Accra and Cape Coast. She actually convinced me into writing for #GVO from Ghana which I accepted without any comment after hearing of the benefits/opportunities that come with GVO. In my preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen; I was approved of a stipend

Chip-In Campaign by Georgia Popplewell

which will help me in my participation in the conference and my successful return to my home-country, Ghana. When the stipend was successfully approved, Georgia played a very important role by starting a “CHIP-IN campaign” on twitter which saw people from different parts of the world contributing.

The following 45 Activists supported my going to Copenhagen to report on Climate Change issues been discussed for Global Voices Online & Ghana Blogging Group; and also add my voice to the climate petition been demanded from world leaders. I want to use the medium to say a big “THANK YOU” to all 45 social media activists who saw the importance of my going to Copenhagen and contributed.

Whiles in Copenhagen, I didn’t only focus on reporting and blogging but rather, I took the opportunity to meet other people, exchange contacts and more… I met dignitaries, Heads of States and celebrities from all over the world. Amongst them are; (Please click on the links for the photos)

The Mayor of British Columbia, VancouverGregor Robertson

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town – The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu.

Pro-Photographer – Kris Krug and the Fresh Air Center Crew.

Daryl Hannah – Movie Star from the movies; “Kill Bill 1 & 2” and “Splash”.

Kumi Naidoo – CEO of Greenpeace International

Currently, I voluntarily reports on the activity of the Ghanaian blogosphere; summarizing on the concerns of bloggers in Ghana. I’m also a key member of Ghana Blogging Group and Future Challenges by the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany.

5. Conclusion

Before I conclude, the print and electronic media somehow have made a huge impact in positively affecting the lives of people for sometimes now. It is not really a big deal but to some extent it is; because most people read news items and follows stories from MyJoyonline, Peacefmonline, GhanaWeb and other media outlets but with the coming of social media tools; power is increasingly more widespread. So-called mainstream media is no longer always the driving influencer of public opinion.

Bill Gates signed up on Twitter recently and you would be amazed at the number of followers he received within an hour.  About 100.000 people started following including myself. On Twitter, some individuals now have a million or more followers, Facebook Pages of Movies Stars, Musicians and key influential people also have hundreds of thousands of fans, and YouTube videos get millions of views when they go viral. Most of this content is coming from regular people, rather than big, corporate-owned media organizations.

For example, people like Esi Cleland, Ato-Ulzen Appiah, William Kamkwamba, Ameyaw Debrah and few others  who have over 1000 friends/followers on Facebook and Twitter, have used social media to increase their influence beyond what was possible for “regular people” in the past couple of years…

At this juncture, I know some of you sited here won’t agree with me but in every era;

“cultures go through numerous changes, and in recent years ours has been more impacted than anything else by social media.”

Large media houses in Ghana are not likely to go away overnight, nor will the need to communicate by phone or meet people in person, but social media is providing yet one more means of engaging with people on this vast planet of ours, and if used effectively can give all of us greater choice in how we live and what happens in our world.

I’m experiencing the positive effects of social media since I signed up a couple of years ago. I’m calling on all you sited here this evening to take a bold step and make it point to transform people’s lives with social media.

Thank you….! 🙂

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