Some of the trucks noticed on the country’s highways as they head for Accra from as far afield as parts of the Bono Region bordering the Savannah Region and beyond are laden with charcoal and firewood.
The sight of such vehicles on the terminal parts of their long journeys towards the nation’s capital to feed the insatiable demand for firewood and charcoal cannot be missed every hour, every day and throughout the year.
For every truck bearing firewood and charcoal there is no gainsaying the fact that many trees have been felled some as old as thirty years.
For those who felled them no plans for planting replacements a reality which accounts for the rapid depletion of the forest cover.
While officials of the Forestry Commission and detachments of soldiers are busy policing the forests and protecting our odum, wawa and other species of trees, charcoal producers are busy felling trees and burning them to make charcoal.
We embarked upon a national tree planting exercise recently. Planting five million trees during a national exercise ambitious as it was we have not considered the effect of charcoal production and firewood on the nation’s forest cover.
Unless we take another look, a holistic one of course, at protecting our forests the five million trees planted would hardly serve the purpose for which we embarked upon the exercise.
We must as a country listen to the climate change conversation raging across the world. It is a conversation which scientists and politicians have often locked horns about.
Tree felling and other human activities like illegal mining which continue to plague us must be taken seriously.
Climate change and its fallouts are being noticed across the world of which our country is a part. Even cities such as New York and others with their sophisticated infrastructure are not being spared the effects of climate change.
We must join the rest of the world in protecting our forests and bring to the front burner the fallouts from climate change as it occurs in other countries.
Our scientists should be able to educate our farmers and the rest of us why for instance the raining season pattern has somewhat changed in some parts of the country.
The fact that the extremities of the seasons as the outcome of climate change is lost on many of us is why our relationship with the environment is still begging for positive change.
We appreciate the challenges that government will be confronted with when charcoal and firewood production are banned. But what should be done sincerely to protect our forests when we claim to appreciate the importance of letting our flora survive our national irresponsibility.
Felling trees for charcoal and firewood when we simultaneously claim to be protecting our forests is such a useless venture and can be likened to pouring water into a basket and expecting the latter to retain the former.
A more appropriate national policy is required to address this issue otherwise our forest cover will not get the required protection we talk about in public forums and even plant five million trees.