Doreen Edwina Owoo is a Ghanaian student currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s Degree program in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Academic City in Ghana. During her time in middle school, along with my peers, had the privilege of founding "Voices on the Mount," a youth movement with a mission to amplify the voices of young people and engage them in discussions about global issues. In this capacity, she served as a dedicated Climate Activist, advocating for environmental awareness and change. Her educational journey has been marked by a strong commitment to learning and a dedication to making a positive impact. From her early years at St. Peter’s International School to her active involvement in "Voices on the Mount" as a Climate Activist, and finally to her high school achievements, including the Best Chemistry Student Certificate and her role as Library Prefect, she has consistently strived for excellence and a better understanding of the world around her. These experiences have shaped her into a motivated and dedicated student who aspires to contribute to my field and society as a whole.
Have you drawn professional inspiration from other women? Tell us about someone who has inspired you.
I draw inspiration from other women popular amongst them is Ms. Greta Thunberg. Greta Thunberg’s unwavering commitment to climate action at such a young age is truly inspirational. Her fearless and passionate advocacy proves that age is not a barrier to making a significant impact on the world's most pressing issues. Greta's ability to speak truth to power is remarkable. Her fearless address to world leaders and holding them accountable for their actions, made it clear that climate change is a global emergency that requires urgent action.
Greta’s role in raising awareness about the climate crisis has caused a lot of young people all over the world to rise up. Her message has resonated with people of all ages, bringing the urgency of the issue to the forefront of public consciousness. Ms. Thunberg’s consistency in activism is admirable. She continues to advocate for climate action with the same level of dedication and urgency, even in the face of criticism and adversity. Ms. Greta leads by example, living a low-carbon lifestyle and minimizing her environmental impact. Her actions that reinforce the idea that personal choices can contribute to a more sustainable future are commendable. Her speeches, actions, and social media presence has inspired countless individuals including me to join the climate movement, demonstrating the potential for collective action on a global scale. Her emphasis on the importance of acting in accordance with the best available climate science and her data-driven approach underscores the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for immediate action.
What led to your decision to become a climate activist?
My choice to become a climate activist was not so much a conscious decision as it was a source of inspiration. As a Christian, my faith guides me to believe that the Lord, the creator of the heavens and Earth, entrusted us with a profound responsibility – to be stewards of the Earth (Genesis 2:15, which states, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it"). Reflecting on this Scripture, it became clear to me that a fundamental part of our purpose is to care for our planet. Regrettably, we are failing in this duty. Our daily decisions and actions have significant impacts on the environment. It's disheartening to realize that we have been entrusted with the care of animals and trees, yet we often fall short in fulfilling this obligation. Our insatiable greed and relentless pursuit of money and power have had and continue to have devastating consequences for the lives of countless creatures in the ocean. I can confidently say that my inspiration to become a climate activist is deeply rooted in my faith and the belief that we must honor our divine charge to protect and preserve our Earth.
What are the major challenges that you are facing as a climate activist?
My fervent dedication lies in the realm of plastic recycling, where the pressing challenge of establishing sustainable, long-term solutions for plastic waste management takes center stage. While I wholeheartedly endorse and support the commendable work undertaken by fellow activists in endeavors such as beach clean-ups and climate awareness campaigns, my focus remains fixated on the imperative of securing enduring resolutions to issues like plastic pollution. The perennial question that echoes in my mind is, "What can we do to address these problems in a manner that ensures lasting impact? How can we unlock the potential to convert waste into valuable resources?" These inquiries encapsulate the core concerns I face as a climate activist on my path to fostering positive change.
What are your suggestions/tips for future climate activists?
I firmly believe that future climate activists should immerse themselves deeply in climate science to drive the discovery of long-term, effective solutions to the climate crisis. It's imperative that they actively engage in understanding the scientific underpinnings of climate change in order to develop comprehensive strategies for mitigating its impact and safeguarding our planet's future.
Furthermore, an essential facet of climate activism lies in consistency and embodying the principles we advocate. We often find ourselves inadvertently contributing to the very crisis we aim to combat through our everyday choices. The adage "Charity begins at home" aptly captures this notion – we cannot, in good conscience, speak out against harmful practices while simultaneously engaging in them. For instance, Greta Thunberg's unwavering commitment to her cause is evident in her actions. When invited to the UN Summit on the Climate Crisis, she was resolute in her decision to travel by water, highlighting her dedication to environmental preservation.
What are the most significant current issues in your region, and what is your plan to enhance your influence in offering solutions?
The prevailing issues in my region encompass plastic pollution and the prevalence of illegal mining activities. A longstanding challenge has been waste management, an issue that the government has grappled with. The root of this problem can be traced from waste collection to the insufficient infrastructure for recycling.
Furthermore, the issue of illegal mining is a pressing concern, exacerbated by corrupt practices among some government officials. Ghana has been wrestling with illegal mining for an extended period, with past policies aimed at curbing the practice. However, a recent and alarming resurgence in these activities has occurred. Corrupt practices have led to the heavy pollution of water bodies with harmful mercury compounds, rendering them unsafe for human consumption and devastating aquatic life. Communities near these mining sites suffer from respiratory diseases due to air pollution caused by these mercury compounds. To address these critical issues, I intend to mobilize individuals with a shared interest to collaborate on a project aimed at purifying the contaminated water in rural areas, removing hazardous compounds and making it safe for consumption. This project represents my commitment to contributing to the solution of these pressing regional problems.
What would you tell to young women who would like to be climate activists? What would you like them to know?
I believe that aspiring to become a Climate Activist is an incredibly beautiful endeavor. It's a path that requires selflessness and self-denial, making it an aspiration not everyone can embrace. Being a Climate Activist means taking action, and age should not be a barrier. A bit about myself: During my time in middle school, I had the privilege of co-founding "Voices on the Mount," a youth movement with a clear mission—to amplify the voices of young people in global issue discussions. This experience marked the beginning of my journey as a Climate activist. I would like to encourage any young woman who aspires to be a Climate Activist to start right away. All you need is to gather like-minded individuals who share your passion and set out on this journey together. That's the crucial first step. It's important to acknowledge that, like where I am at this moment, you might face obstacles along the way. But my advice is not to give up on your dream. Keep it alive, and always explore how you can apply your knowledge and skills to tackle the problems you encounter. Your journey as a Climate Activist is a continuous learning process, and your dedication will pave the way for positive change. In summary, the path of a Climate Activist is a beautiful and selfless one that anyone, regardless of age, can embark on. It's about taking action, collaborating with like-minded individuals, and persistently working to address environmental challenges. Remember, obstacles are part of the journey, but they can be overcome with unwavering determination.
A few words about the project
We The Women is a key project under the umbrella program Women4Climate powered by IRIS Sustainable Development. Specifically, We The Women is an interview series project, holding inspiring discussions with climate actional leaders and pioneers in the social and green entrepreneurship field. Women with different backgrounds, experiences, and achievements, share their insights, know-how, opinions, and advice with the public, inspiring more people -especially young entrepreneurs and women- toward a more sustainable future.