Our Forest, Our Heritage

Dear Environmental Gurus,

What story are you willing to tell in your future? In a world filled with climate anxiety, our feelings, uncertainties, and loss of control are sometimes considered void. It’s easy to feel helpless, but it’s not okay not to care. Growing up as a child, traditional medication was the best cure for minor aches, illnesses, and mental health issues plaguing our communities currently. If not for biodiversity health’s sake, at least let’s do it for humanity. Forest inhabitants deserve shelter that man destroys and exploits without remedy for future generations to come. Here’s a brief account of my journey as a climate justice activist.

Did you know? Every time we open social media, more than half of the world is connected. Television news is bombarded by environmental disasters and our forests are menaced by wildfires, drought, pollution, and invasive species.

Oh, I remember! Growing up in the Grassfields area of Cameroon, in the beautiful, spacious, and evergreen vegetation along the Donga Mantung Plateau, was the best experience of my life. Indigenous people and local communities knew how to deal with hunger, illnesses, and when to plant agricultural products. All this was possible due to the presence of our forest, but today I bleed because these features are fading away.

But here’s the catch: I do remember the forest was the only rich heritage we had. From one generation to the other, they acknowledged its health, food, and security benefits; even the animals rely on it for livelihood. Sadly, I lack words to further explain what we have done and where we have fallen today.

The World Day of Forest brings a lot of nostalgic feelings to many Africans, and I hope even you reading this. Please pause for a minute and reflect deeply. Ask yourself the question: “What have we done to our forest & environment?”

Our actions matter, and we should avoid being eco-paralytic. We do not need a diploma to act. What I do is support organizations working for forest conservation, sensitize my communities on eco-friendly methods, or plant more trees locally.

Even when centuries pass, our works will be remembered. You really just need to care. So, I’m starting with the person in the mirror—that’s you. And as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

So, do we really care?