As of now, there is every reason to believe that climate change is a major emerging global phenomenon that is fast affecting the lifestyle of humanity in a negative way. However, the current climate change is linked mostly to ‘greenhouse gases’ emission resulting from human activities. Empirical evidence points to the fact that the unhealthy lifestyles of humans are largely responsible for the recent climate change.
I share a similar vision of a living City as espoused by the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority. It is my fervent hope that my country Ghana, within the next two to three decades will be a major driver in development of sustainable cities in the continent of Africa. I picture a sustainable city as a city that is culturally appropriate, a city where green business creates jobs for the people; where green and habitable spaces are made available for residential and commercial uses; where local transportation is fueled by new innovation in renewable energy; easily accessible by walk, bike or means of transportation with little footprint on the splendiferous environment. Ghana can be a living city but we see a sustainable city as a hindrance to development.
As I mentioned earlier, I wish to live a sustainable lifestyle but there is no way I can live in isolation, without depending on the activities of other human beings. The present global environment and human activity is such that there is inter-dependence in every mode of human life. In any case we have to accept that without the activity of others, whether good or bad, life cannot go on. No matter what it is, humans have to make a living and in this case live a comfortable life. In any case despite the fact that humanity is aware of the dangers posed by environmental degradation and its resultant effects, one cannot ignore that not enough has been done to ensure that people live sustainable lifestyles. As the years go by, human beings keep on finding ways and means that would improve their life styles. I strongly believe that human beings are capable of living sustainably through public education and good living practices. There is therefore an urgent need to scale up awareness of climate change issues at local, community and international levels. At this stage, it would be worthwhile to examine what prevents people from practicing or observing lifestyles that would make them live sustainable lives. A proposed plan has been issued in the United Kingdom to assess each individual footprint on the environment so a budget will be assigned.
I am of the view that, to a large extent, financial constraints at the individual level are a major drawback to what one can do to live sustainably. In fact finance is a great determinant to a good lifestyle. One other drawback to sustainability is infrastructure. In this case the unavailability of decent housing resulting in indiscriminate development of slums and communities that do not have basic conveniences are major contributing factors to the problem of living sustainably. This of course results in inhumane settlements (slums) in most developing countries like Ghana which generate communicable diseases and in untimely deaths which otherwise could have been prevented.
Adequate knowledge about sustainable lifestyles as I have mentioned earlier is another problem which has to be looked at. In most cases people do not realize the negative effects of their activities and the impact they have on the environment. An important question that has to be posed therefore is what constitutes a sustainable lifestyle? I believe that to sustain something is to be able to start an activity or action and continue with it forever and even more improve on it as one goes on. That is my view of living a life that would impact positively on myself and in the end benefit others.
We must accept the fact that our lives are to a large extent linked to climatic changes and as such we must be able to adapt to the varying trends in the environment. As an example, the warming climate could bring changes that can affect the dearth of our water supplies, extensive heat as we facing in Ghana now, agriculture (food shortage), power outages (Dumsor) and transportation systems to the extent that our health and safety are affected.
Penultimately, we should all strive to do our possible best to minimize our carbon footprint on the environment and to live a sustainable lifestyle. Example lets practice the ‘3Rs’ which is reduce, reuse and recycle.