AIMS Ghana organized the second edition of the Climate Science Speaker Series as part of efforts to advocate for gender equality and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for women.
The public lecture focused on the need for increasing women’s participation in Climate Science. It also inspired members of the AIMS community and Africa, especially women to contribute to addressing Africa’s development challenges resulting from the effects of climate change. Most importantly, this program also forms part of measures to mitigate the impact of Climate Change in Africa.
Professor Zachariah Debo Adeyewa, Director of the Doctoral Research Program in West Africa Climate System (DRP-WACS) of the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), said Africa must raise climate change advocates to educate and sensitize the populace on the effects of climate change. Women being better at advocacy he said, would inspire a holistic approach from every member of society to adopt responsible behaviours towards reducing carbon emissions.
Prof. Adeyewa in general discussions on Climate Change Science, observed that Africa’s contribution to global carbon emissions was minimal ie. about four per cent, however, the continent has had to bear the brunt of the negative effects of climate change since it cuts across all continents. He mentioned rising temperature of the atmosphere, resulting in erratic rainfall patterns, drought, food insecurity, floods, diseases and poverty were some of the negative effects of climate change in Africa.
Therefore, he said, it behoved on Africans to raise climate change champions who would devote their time and energy to educating people on the use of renewable energy sources, undertaking afforestation campaigns and the generation of renewable energy through the use of solar panels to reduce carbon emissions.
Prof. Adeyewa explained the role WASCAL was playing in building the capacity of young African graduates to advocate for climate responsible behavior. WASCAL is a research-focused Centre operating in about 10 West African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger providing science-based advice to policy-makers on impact, mitigation and adaptation measures of climate change.
Finally, Prof. Adeyewa asked students, especially females, to take advantage of the various educational programmes offered at WASCAL to build their capacity on Climate Change Science and mitigation measures to help change people’s attitudes.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako Amoah, Deputy Director in charge of Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation at the Climate Change Department, Environmental Protection Agency, on his part, said that African countries must make deliberate efforts to empower women on Climate Change since reports show that they are more vulnerable to its effects.
He further advocated the need for Africa to use sustainable methods in tapping into its natural resources in order to minimize the negative impact on the environment.
Dr. Nana Ama Browne – Klutse (AIMS-Canada Resident Researcher) also contributed to the discussion, as a woman in STEM, specifically in Climate Change Science, motivating female students to venture into the field as it holds a great number of opportunities for them as women.