Just like the Atiwa Forest Reserve which lies on the rich land of the Eastern Region of Ghana, the Virunga National Park is one of the richest and life-supported National Parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and serves as Africa’s most biologically diverse area. The National Park is the home to 43% of Africa’s bird species, 27% of African mammals, and more than 10% of reptiles, amphibians, medicinal plants, and several other rare endangered species that do not exist anywhere else in the world.
Between 2005-2010, the Congolese Government approved licenses for oil concessions that cover 85% of this rich biodiversity that supports the livelihoods of millions of people and creatures including humans. Despite the global trend to shift away from Fossil fuels and move towards Renewable Energy, the Democratic Republic of Congo is taking a dangerous and unsustainable path towards oil exploitation.
For a Fossil Free Virunga, and a Fossil Free Africa, Climate Activists from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) joined forces with activists around the world in expressing their displeasure in the leadership of DRC for agreeing to the concessions to deplete Virunga National Park of its precious resources. The team shared their solidarity through a screening of the Virunga documentary as well as social media amplification, especially Twitter.
A seminar was also held to educate students further on climate change and why it is necessary to shift away from fossil fuel use and rely on renewable energy. The main aim of this seminar was to remind us all about the need to shift to renewable energy use for our day-to-day activities. This was a very interactive session as most students were eager to know more about sustaining the environment.
Most expressed their pleasure and it is needful to say the seminar broadened their horizon on climate justice issues. The screening concluded on the note that renewable energy is the way to go and environmentally sound, each one of us must do our bit towards the fight against Fossil fuels.
Portia Adu Mensah