Celebrities, both international and local, the academia and other members of the Ghanaian public continue to unite to resist the decision by the government of Ghana to mine bauxite in the Atewa forest reserve.

These celebrities and other members of the public have employed social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube among others to make known their rejection of the proposed mining in the Atewa forest.

The Atewa forest reserve is a biodiversity hotspot with a unique ecosystem that is home to around 50 species of endangered mammals and provides freshwater for about five million people. Located 95 km north-east of the capital Accra, the forest reserve, which covers 725 km2, is home to more than 1,000 species of plants, 230 species of birds, and 570 species of butterflies.

One of the international celebrities to have kicked against the bauxite mining project in the middle of the Atewa forest reserve is the world-renowned film actor, Leonardo Dicaprio.

This is not the first time the star of the famous film, Titanic, had kicked against the proposed mining in the Atewa forest and he has been relentless in his effort to get the Ghanaian government abandon the mining project.

Leonardo Dicaprio

In a 2-minute video posted on his twitter page this month, the actor gave key figures on the Atewa forest, before reminding people that it is one of the irreplaceable places on Earth that keeps the planet alive.

Famous Ghanaian actress, Lydia Forson has also joined the social media campaign, tweeting recently that “I think enough people aren’t speaking about #atewaforest because they don’t know or understand what is going on. We made noise about the Amazon fires; we need to make noise about this too, the WORLD DEPENDS ON IT”.

Lydia Forson

The multiple award-winning actress has therefore been championing an online petition named change.org, seeking to get 50,000 signatories to petition the government of Ghana to turn Atewa to a National Park that will be a lasting positive legacy for the government and Ghanaians.

The National Park option, according to the online petition has a great public support amongst forest edge communities, and would honour Ghana’s commitment to the international Convention on Biological Diversity and to the Sustainable Development Goals which is in stark contrast to the loss that would be experienced should the hills be mined.

Also leading the crusade against the proposed mining in the biodiversity hotspot is another award-winning actress, Yvonne Nelson.

As part of her campaign to get government backed down on the bauxite mining in the middle of the Atewa forest, the actress took a haircut to send her message across.

She tweeted in November 2020, “Two daring things I’ve done this year, to cut my hair and fight for ATEWA FOREST. Responsible mining is staying away from critical watersheds that serve 5 million people. Mr President, @nakufoaddo #DontMineAtewa #saveatewa @LeoDiCaprio @arochaghana”.

She also posted on her Facebook page, “Atewa Forest has just 18% of low-grade bauxite. Let us secure it with green bonds not destroy it with mining #Waterfor5million #DontMineAtewa #SaveAtewaForest #ForNature #SDGs @Joy997FM @Citi973 @tv3newsghana @UN @AfDB_Group @NAkufoAddo @arochaghana, Mr President @NAkufoAddo #saveatewaforest @arochaghana”.

Yvonne Nelson took a haircut to support the call to save the Atewa forest

A renowned Architect and Writer, Kuukuwa Manful also twittered, “I never imagined I would see capitalist companies like BMW, TetraPak and Shuco being more concerned than the Government of Ghana about the environment & people! Like... even they are saying #SaveAtewaForest now! Kudos to the organisers @SaveAtewaForest”.

Commenting on the proposed Atewa bauxite mining, one twitter user by name Efo Norvisi Mawuli said “is it that this #atewaforest exists in isolation? aren't there chiefs and government officials designated to its jurisdiction? are there not human beings there? ei! so none of these authorities there have seen the destruction going on there? h3rh Ghana!”

Another user twittered “YOU! I was Just talking to a friend about the need of biodiversity and conservation… our rich land is been used for mining which is taking a heavy toll on land. To save a land like this, we have to advocate for better environment laws, like Agroforestry”.

Atewa Till Eternity

Former MUSIGA President, Obour, Nero X, Mz Vee, Kuami Eugene, Sherifa Gunu, Kojo Rana and others have also teamed up to release a Song and video titled “Atewa Till Eternity” which seeks to caution the perpetrators of ills in and around the Atewa forest reserve.

The campaigners also sent a firm message to the various arms of government to be responsible for the safe keeping and preservation of the country’s natural resources as well as the President himself.

Below is the video.

Story by Awudu Salami Yoda