Each year, International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 to recognize and celebrate the importance of young people in driving positive change and contributing to the development of countries around the world. This day serves as a reminder of the significant role that youth play in shaping the future and highlights the need for their active involvement in decision-making processes. Climate Change is an unprecedented challenge, and Ghana’s youthful demographic (estimated at 6.9 million) presents a unique advantage in addressing it. Our youth have unique perspectives, fresh ideas, and a strong desire to be agents of change in their families, communities, the nation and beyond.
This year, the world celebrates International Youth Day under the theme ‘Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World’. At a time when the world is battling the damaging effects of climate change, this theme is critical to transition to a more ecologically sustainable society. It is crucial, not just for addressing the global climate crisis, but also for meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 13
Every year, the survival of Ghanaians is threatened by heavy floods, deforestation, illegal mining, plastic pollution and extreme heat waves among a plethora of issues that contribute to changes in Climate.
The country’s reported economic growth performance would drop considerably if the environmental consequences of activities behind the growth are not mitigated in time. The impact of climate change like drought, famine, conflicts among others on communities cannot be overemphasized. The obvious consequence of these is hardship and poverty for the critical mass of Ghanaians. In this context, key skills are required to aid the country’s adaptation and mitigation to the effects of Climate Change and environmental degradation, as well as a progressive transition to a green economy through the creation of green employment.
According to UNIDO, green skills are the knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society. These are known as green occupations because they help to preserve or restore the environment by supporting ecologically friendly activities or by producing green products and services.
Young people must be engaged and well-equipped with green skills to successfully navigate this changing environment and capitalize on the possibilities it brings. Despite the growing recognition of the relevance of green skills, the available evidence suggests a shortage of such skills among young people. Young people who are already into sustainable agriculture and recycling of plastic waste, wildlife conservation among others must be supported with soft loans and the technical know-how to scale up. Again, the youth must be encouraged to tap into new renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biogas to augment Ghana’s hydroelectric and thermal power generation. A green transition, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), will result in the creation of 8.4 million employment for young people by 2030 in agriculture and ecological management.
Capacity building and awareness creation must be heightened among young people. Green skills can be made appealing to young people right from the basic level. Solar energy and afforestation as well as other green-related activities should be introduced into the basic school curriculum with the aim of greater awareness creation among children, so they become conscious of their environment as they grow.
We encourage the government to review the policies on the environment to provide clear and appropriate guidance on green skills. Green occupations must also be made in abundance with suitable conditions to attract young people.
Hope For Future Generations continues to advocate for the inclusion of young people in spaces that promote their engagement with nature and sustainable practices that reduce the impact of climate change.
Attaining green skills is vital for young people to play an active and influential role in addressing environmental issues and driving sustainable development. By equipping the youth with green skills, societies can foster a generation of environmentally conscious and empowered individuals who are capable of creating positive change and shaping a more sustainable and resilient future for our planet.