When seven environmentalists met in Turkey during the Global Power Shift (GPS), no one foresaw the beginning of an era of steadfast environmental advocates about to change the wave in Ghana. Patrick Adjei Nketia, Sylvia Asare-Ayeh,Farid Shamsu-Deen, Dorinda Saah-bosu, Chibeze Ezekiel, Portia Adu Mensah and Moses Nganwani Tia met at the GPS and as a result formed 350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon (GROC), a youth network centred around mobilizing and empowering young people in partnership to actively champion the need to reduce Ghana’s carbon emissions and promote renewable energy systems, as a critical effort in combating climate change.
Since the formation in 2013, 350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon has grown from just the initial seven and with the tremendous grassroots movement they built, they have been making waves. From stopping the construction of a proposed coal fired power plant in Ekumfi District, in Central Ghana in 2016 to launching a campaign dubbed Renewable Energy for Communities(RE4C) in 2017, 350 GROC alongside partners has continuously raised awareness about the possibility of a carbon-free future and the potential of renewable energy in Ghana and the world.
This year, one of our own Chibeze Ezekiel, was announced as the recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2020, after being selected to represent the group for the Goldman’s prize Award. The award cited his commitment through GROC to push for good governance in Ghana’s environmental sector and for his climate leadership in Ghana, across Africa and globally.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s foremost award honouring grassroots environmental activists. Chibeze joins an illustrious list of past Goldman Environmental Prize winners from the African continent including Wangari Maathai, renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist; Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigerian writer who fought for environmental justice and human rights; and recently South African activists Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid.
This is the second time the Goldman Prize has been awarded to Ghana. This shows the fighting spirit of grassroots communities in Ghana have to ensure the safety of their land, water, heritage and environment.
This is just the beginning for Chibeze Ezekiel. 350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon will continue to show leadership towards environmental advocacy and climate justice.
Portia Adu-Mensah, National Coordinator for 350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon (GROC)