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Ghanaian Traditional Arts for Biodiversity Conservation: Lessons From The COP 10 Origami Project

By  The wanton destruction of the biodiversity resources of nature has been a resurfacing menace to the world. Therefore, several strategies have been mapped up and continue to emerge to arrest this sour negative global experience that destroys lives and properties. It is in this light that the Japanese government decided to adopt a potent strategy for ingraining the ideals of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity via their iconic traditional craft called Origami. The success of the COP 10 Origami project encapsulates the great significance that the traditional arts of a nation can play in the campaign against the abuse of the biodiversity resources in nature that pivots the life of all humans. This article enlightens readers of the powerful lessons that could be learned from the COP 10 Origami project in the light of utilising the traditional arts of a country to beef up the campaign for biodiversity conservation using Ghana as a case.

The Origami project was themed 'Biodiversity: All Lives are Linked' and it encouraged all participants to produce aesthetically pleasing artistic expressions in Origami. The piece produced was to portray the message that the artist who produces the piece is unveiling on the pragmatic way s/he or the world would adapt to salvage the biodiversity menace and resort to conservation and sustainability measures. The artistic geniuses were to be displayed around the COP 10 venue and its related facilities to enhance the biodiversity conservation campaign. This aided the Japanese nationals to think on a daily basis about the future and ways of conserving the rich biodiversity resources in their environment. Fortunately, many Japanese participated in the project and it became a success.

Ghana is one of the African countries with rich traditional arts that are embedded with rich philosophical thoughts and could be harnessed for the biodiversity conservation awareness campaign. For instance, the Ghanaian people engage in the production of Adinkra cloths, Kente cloths, sculptural and metal arts like Akuaba doll, drums, masks, gold weights and so forth. Also, others engage in landscape paintings with themes that reflect the ideals of their forebears on the need to conserve the flora and fauna species in the environment. Potters produce pottery wares with symbolic patterns that espouse powerful moral lessons on living in harmony with nature and its resources.

Therefore, the public and private agencies responsible for environmental protection and biodiversity conservation should think of organising biodiversity conservation sensitization projects using the traditional arts in Ghana. The artefacts that would ensue from the project would then be displayed in offices of private and government institutions and at vantage points in the Ghanaian society. This would serve as a constant reminder of the need to conserve the biodiversity resources in the environment. It would gradually nurture the ideals of conservation and sustainability in the hearts and minds of the Ghanaian people.

Learning from the powerful lessons from Japan on the utilisation of the traditional arts of one's country for biodiversity conservation would be successful and aid reverses the destructive attitudes of some Ghanaians toward the precious biodiversity resources in Ghana. Art is, in fact, a powerful instrument that can effect attitudinal change. Therefore, the Ministries in charge of the Environment, Lands and Natural Resource, as well as Non-Governmental agencies like the Friends for River Bodies and the Conservation International, must fund and spearhead the organisation of biodiversity conservation projects using Ghanaian traditional arts as having been done by Japan with successful outcomes. This liaison between Art and the Environment would be a proactive synergistic approach to salvage the wanton depletion of the biodiversity resources in Ghana and save the lives of thousands, if not millions of Ghanaians alive and those yet unborn.

If you want interesting information on biodiversity conservation and other environmental issues click the link below:

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