By Kofi Thompson
As wise and aspirational African people, we must find creative ways of surviving and thriving, even in the midst of global pandemics. Let us take inspiration from our past in how we treat our priceless natural capital. In the past, we lived in harmony with nature – and had mostly healthy and happy communities.
It is a real pity that in pursuit of unthinking-and-unselective-GDP-growth (at all costs), we have ended up becoming a society, which permits a powerful few, with greedy ambitions – to paraphrase the farsighted President Nkrumah – to destroy forests, poison soils, streams, major river systems and groundwater, across vast swathes of the GhanaIan countryside, with total impunity.
The destruction of forests, on the scale we are now witnessing, will, by definition, mean that we will always be a society constantly grappling with pandemics – as the destruction of habitats and biodiversity loss, bring along with them, zoonotic diseases, as viruses from wild animals, species-cross, to infect humans.
It is important, therefore, that rather than be lulled into a false sense of security, by the availability, and procurement, of vaccines, we rather focus on building consensus, and unite, to transform our country into a heavily-aboreal one, which is always battle-ready, to fight and survive global pandemics. The protocols designed to enable us stay safe, during such global pandemics, ought to become our new-normal way of life.
That will mean, for example, that when we design and construct new military camps, as well as barracks for the other security agencies, schools, hospitals, markets, shopping malls, private and public residential accommodation in new green communities; ditto our mobility sector, we must take into account and design survival-and-resilience-protocols for global pandemics, into all such projects.
Above all, clearly, super-spreader-events, such as: massive political party campaign rallies; large funerals; weddings; packed religious services; parties; mammoth traditional festivals, and the like, can no longer continue to be part of our lives, anymore.
Vaccines can only be an addition to our pandemic-survival-arsenal, like nose masks, hand-washing, razing down slums that are potential infection-hotspots, for viruses, nationwide, and relocating their residents to new pandemic-ready and climate-change-resilient green communities. In the new-normal global pandemic era, as an aspirational African people, we must find creative and innovative ways of surviving and thriving.