As the world engages in the fight against climate change, there is more and more need for international corporation. An NGO in Cameroon called Game Changers uses storytelling as a medium to create a bond between Cameroon and the United States. The organisation was able to achieve this through its collaboration with the Planet Forward network, a US-based environmental story telling network. In order to guarantee the sustainable and widespread effect of this collaboration, Planet Forward and Game Changers organised a 4day (12th -15th of June) environmental storytelling workshop for student journalists and established journalists in Cameroon. Although this alliance sounds like a very huge deal, of what impact is environmental storytelling to Cameroon?
Participants at the Environmental Storytelling Workshop, Mountain Hub, Yaounde.
Telling stories about our environment is a way to help preserve our environment. The effects of climate change in Cameroon such as the flooding in Buea, the toxic air in Douala, disappearance of some plant and animal species, the drought in the Northern regions, and the landslide in Damas, have proven that; when we hurt the environment, we hurt us. There is no easier way of communicating this logic to people other than through stories. By telling stories about the reasons behind such devastating events and their terrible impacts on the environment and human, more people become aware about climate change.
Although most of the talk about the environment is centred around climate change, there is beauty in our environment and culture to be preserved through storytelling. Did you know that the raffia palm is slowly becoming an endangered plant species in the North West region? Thanks to a video story done by a participant at the workshop, Yufonyuy Princely, we understand the need to preserve this plant. For if it dies, a huge part of our Cameroonian culture is at the risk of perishing. It is from this plant that the “mbuh” or “matango”, palm wine, which is used to perform traditional rituals is obtained. Imagine there being no palm trees to produce “mbuh,” shall we then use Champaign or beer to perform traditional rituals?
Telling unique stories like this is a way to safeguard important elements of our culture.
Yufonyuy Princely and Patu Ndango, co-founder of Game Changers.
Apart from that, we can use stories to celebrate environmental heroes in our country. Despite the fact that climate change is wrecking a lot of havoc, only very few persons have taken the bold and selfless effort to champion activities for environmental preservation and mitigating the impacts of climate change. By doing stories about them, we boost their courage and also let the world know about their heroic acts. This is what Beverly Ndifoin, co-founder of Game Changers (Gamechangers237.org) and Planet Forward Alumnus has been doing. She uses stories to showcase the courageous and unique efforts of climate change activists in Cameroon.
Beverly Ndifoin, photo credit, Mandela Washington Fellowship
In a world where most of the talk about climate change revolves around its causes and consequences, very little is said about the solutions to the challenges raised by climate. Also, most of the available literature on climate change solutions and mitigations is mostly scientific. This becomes a problem because many persons find it hard to understand complex scientific terms. What better and simpler way therefore is there to tell the common Cameroonian about solutions to climate change and ways to protect their environment? Storytelling!
Workshop participants exchanging ideas on their different stories.