This is not a plea in the sense that I am begging for something from whomever reads this piece. It is a plea for us to open our minds as we explore the unknown. That is what we are doing and have been doing since we knew of the importance of keeping time.
The time is late and tonight is a fine September evening in Lund, Sweden. It is not normally as warm or dry as it has been this pass month. The month of September is usually swept in rain and the encroaching chill of winter. Lund is located in Southern Sweden, or Skane pronounced Skonah. The rains here don’t stop. Or at least that is what I was told when I first arrived a year ago. As I sit here and explore the unknown terrain of writing my first blog post on The African Exponent, I can’t help but talk about the weather.
I celebrated my twenty-sixth birthday on Tuesday and the day had been sun-kissed. The next day was equally as sunny and the next as well. Anytime the topic of weather came up, which it does quite a bit in my circle, the same thing seemed to be repeated “climate change!”
We have come a long way from creating the structures of keeping time. Humans now have the ability to measure, tabulate, analyze and draw conclusions from varying methods of keeping time. The most remarkable conclusion we have drawn in recent history is the revelation that humans are changing the climate. Global warming was its first iteration but it is now rightly described as climate change. Global warming is an incorrect description because it does not fully grasp the whole phenomena. Climate change better describes the ‘certain ambiguity’ of which our World will experience a shift in long-term patterns of weather. I say ‘certain ambiguity’ because we (scientific community) are sure about changes. But, to some extent, we are still doing what we have always done and that is to explore the unknown. For all the advancements science has made we still do not have a complete understanding of how this beautiful planet works.
James Lovelock advanced the idea of our planet being an intricately designed organism called Gaia. Living, breathing, and evolving interdependently with other organisms within its system. The air would interact with the sea, the land, and the sky. The sea would balance temperatures and more. The trees would grow and produce oxygen and more. Animals molded the landscape and more. Gaia soon built the house that would shelter the growth of our species. In this house we experienced life. We fell, and got back up. We got cold and turned stone into fire. We transformed the land and cultivated food. We formed huge social groups and named them nations. We fought each other as nations. We enslaved each other as people. We endeavored for freedom and gained it. We opened the world to everyone. And we did this all in the house that was built for us and by us in a way.
For the first time the house’s foundations are shifting dangerously because of our activities. What will we do to save ourselves?
It is amazing to think that we have the ability to do things that detriment our own existence. Not many species can boast of this unique characteristic.
Outside of spending my week basking in the sun, I have pondered what it means to be twenty-six, mixed-race Ghanaian in Sweden, and pursuing a masters’ of sustainability science.
One thing is for sure.
I hate being ‘the other-side of twenty five!’
As for being mixed race, there will be another time for that conversation.
But the main thing is, not so many people care about the topic of sustainability. Whenever I am back in Accra and people ask what I am studying, I feel embarrassed saying “environmental studies and sustainability science.” The response is either a blank stare or “you are going to make a lot money.”
In my mind I always think, “It is never about the money.” But my mouth does the opposite and agrees that it is.
The more I will myself to believe I can bring change the more I find myself standing alone. Isolated by multiple factors that dig deep into identity, class, age, perspective and motif.
I believe in Gaia, and I believe in leaving a legacy for young Ghanaians, Africans, and people of the World to look to when they go forth into the deep unknowns of the future. We are all under the same roof.
So this is a plea for whomever reads this piece to not follow me, or pity me, but walk with me as we begin this wonderful but scary adventure into the unknown.