The Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has intimated strongly that, if the level of damage and pollution to the environment is what we get from globalisation and modernisation as a nation, then there is the need to revert to the old ways which served humanity well.
Quoting Dr. Letitia E. Obeng, the Senior Minister explained that, “Man is both a creature and moulder of his environment, which gives his physical sustenance and affords him the opportunity for intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth.”
He was speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘ANTHOLOGY OF A LIFE TIME’ written by Dr. Letitia Eva Obeng, at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on Wednesday 10th July, 2019.
Hon. Osafo Marfo, noted that, Dr Obeng acknowledges that a country without culture was nothing. Therefore, throughout her book, she forcefully made reference to culture and customs and blended it with modernity to create a good balance in the search for sustainable solutions for the environment.
“This is indeed the form of models which should inform and inspire modern day academics and researchers who often fall into the pitfall of glorifying everything foreign and looking down on everything indigenous. In this regard, Dr. Obeng has shown us the way,” He said.
The Minister also disclosed that, we could only talk about ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ when we are imbibed with nationalism. Saying, “The sections on ‘Ghana, My Country, My Home’ and ‘Africa, My Continent’ are clear demonstration of how proud the author feels about her Ghanaian and African heritage and this attribute should ripple across our current generation because without a sense of nationalism, we cannot achieve much as a people.”
Drawing lessons from the Anthology, responding to contemporary issues; the book has detailed some insightful propositions which have shaped, and will continue to influence policy and practice in the areas of water, parasitology and sustainable environment.
The Senior Minister further disclosed that, the genuine commitment to uphold culture, customs and indigenous knowledge as complementing western approaches of doing things and in some cases, as alternative ways of water preservation and ensuring environmental sustainability, means a lot to our present times and generations unborn.
Mr. Osafo Marfo, said, “We can only improve the future of our country if we closely associate with the Anthology of Dr. Letitia Obeng, the model for aquatic thinking and the environment. As a people, we are no longer concerned about protecting our water bodies and environment. Indigenous knowledge never allowed us to mine in river beds or establish farms close to the banks of water bodies.”
Sadly, this narrative has changed, according to the Senior Minister. Adding that, “Galamsey attained national prominence because people kept mounting sustained assault on our water resources. Without the decisive policy response through the Operation Vanguard, the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining and the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project, I am sure by now, all our major rivers and water bodies would have been destroyed. So clearly, if Ghanaians had heeded the advocacy of Dr. Letitia Obeng which she has followed passionately over the years, we would not have been at the brink of polluting every river in the country and having to spend millions of cedis to address this regrettable state of affairs.”
He reemphasized that, the President’s vision of Ghana Beyond Aid was distilled into five (5) cardinal pillars which seek to create a Wealthy Ghana, Inclusive Ghana, Sustainable Ghana, Empowered Ghana, and Resilient Ghana.
“In effect, Ghana Beyond Aid seeks to attain a W.I.S.E.R Ghana. Sustainable Ghana as defined in the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda means, Ghana’s economic growth and transformation will also be environmentally friendly and sustainable….Our rivers and natural landscapes will be clean …and natural resources will be extracted responsibly and sustainably. The work of Dr. Obeng, dovetails beautifully into the Sustainable Ghana Pillar. The commitment on the part of Government is well aligned with the ideals of the author and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“Our towns and cities continue to be engulfed by filth, but our villages remain relatively cleaner. Why can’t we revert to the indigenous ways of doing things as guided and defined by our communal ethos? As noted in the Anthology, customs and traditions still have space in our search for means of environmental preservation.” He noted.
Dr. Eva Obeng, is well known for her instrumental role in the establishment of Ghana’s Institute of Aquatic Biology of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Notable among her career achievements is that, she the first Ghanaian female Science Graduate in the country, First Ghanaian female to obtain a PhD in the field of Science, First female Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, First female President of the Academy.
She is also a recipient of the Order of the Star of Ghana, the highest award of the Republic of Ghana and a former Director of United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP).
Just last year, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, in the UK, awarded Dr. Obeng the School’s first Honorary Doctor of Science degree in its 120-year history, 50 years after she obtained a PhD degree from the school. And it was her second Honorary DSc award in a year.
In November, 2017, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where Dr. Obeng was one of the first lecturers in the early fifties, also awarded her an Honorary DSc.
The Book, Anthology of a Life Time, is a selection from the distinguished scientist’s talks, speeches, writings and publications produced during the past 60 years. It also covers a range of views and thoughts on issues of development and the world.
The launch was chaired by the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, and other dignitaries to grace the occasion were, Ms. Joyce Rosalind Aryee, a former Minister of State, a Management & Communication Consultant, a Professional Counsellor, and the founder of Salt and Light Ministries, Dr. Anthony Bonnah Koomson, Catholic University College, Mrs. Victoria Twum-Gyamrah, UG, Mr. Andrews Kwame Pianim, a Ghanaian business economist and former PURC chairman, Lawyer Sam Okudzeko, many others from Academia, students, and to name a few.