The Ghana Tourism Authority and the “Beyond the Return” secretariat in partnership with the Forestry Commission have planted trees under the “GIVE BACK GHANA PILLAR” to commemorate “Juneteenth,” at the Achimota Forest in Accra.
The exercise was also to mark the Green Ghana day by getting the diaspora involved in national activities to improve the local economy.
Mr Rabbi Kohain Halevi, Executive Director of PANAFEST Foundation, and the Convenor of the Pan African Diaspora Coalition said the exercise was significant to the diaspora community because it was linked to the celebration of “Juneteenth,” which is celebrated on June 19 every year to mark the emancipation of the final Africans to be freed from enslavement in the United States of American.
“This exercise is important to us because as much as we know greening is important in this time of global warming. It is important to draw whatever historical relevance is close to us and the celebration of Juneteenth is the biggest thing happening in most African countries.
This day has recently been set as a national holiday in the United States after 157 years of observance in the African American community.”
He said the history of Africans in the diaspora was as important to them as it was to Africans on the continent, saying, “it is important for Africans to learn to tell our stories together, so we learn of each other’s experiences and recognise that we are the same people with an intertwined destiny.”
He said 150 seedlings were being planted at a designated place in the forest for the diaspora and said, “We should be cognizant of the importance of tree planting and the preservation of our forest and our green lives, altogether.
Today people are desecrating nature, and we are paying the price with the change of the weather pattern globally and if we do not recognise and take responsibility for the importance of this, we will continue to pay the price. It is better that we are responsible today than pay the price tomorrow that we cannot afford.”
Mr Halevi noted that tourists loved to see nature and would be interested in seeing the natural forest as part of the African experience, so it was important to replenish the forest cover.
“Africans are known to have preserved nature for several years. If we cut a tree we must think of replacing it so that we preserve nature and nature also preserve us.”
Mr George Agbenowoshi, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Manager, Forestry Commission, said the Commission was engaged in tree planting daily and urged the public to support it in planting more trees.
“At the high forest zones, the Commission has various compartments. The public can come and adopt them for planting to green the environment.”
Mr Agbenowoshie said, “let us practice afforestation, plant more trees, inculcate in our children tree planning and appreciate the importance and value of trees because they provide good health.
Without trees, our existence in the world will be meaningless. Let’s plant trees to protect the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change.”
Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.