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? 


MAKE SMTHNG: A Tool to Achieve Zero Waste

Each generation has the duty to take positive action to address existing challenges. Mother Earth is suffering from biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, air and water pollution, soil degradation, deforestation, as well as an increased production of waste. Unfortunately, not everyone across the globe faces these problems equally. Among the sustainable proposed solutions, MAKE SMTHNG emerges as a tool to achieve Zero Waste. However, can MAKE SMTHNG work effectively for developing countries?

Mboa Hub with its team during Make SMTHNG Week in November, 2023

MAKE SMTHNG is a worldwide festival where everyone, everywhere repairs, shares, and reuses instead of consuming, as a way to counteract hyper-consumerism. It aims to develop creativity, empower people to reuse more, and encourage conscious consumption. The ultimate idea here is to promote financial stability for those who are extravagant buyers.

In a developing country like Cameroon, few people can afford the luxury of excessive consumption. At this level, MAKE SMTHNG may not seem relevant. However, if the focus is shifted to specific types of waste, such as plastic or organic waste, then MAKE SMTHNG will take on its full meaning, especially as a tool to achieve Zero Waste.

This is exactly what happened at the University of Yaoundé 2- Soa years ago, where I discovered MAKE SMTHNG for the first time under the auspices of Planet One. Together with Greenpeace Africa volunteers, we celebrated MAKE SMTHNG WEEK. Young students and volunteers expressed their innovative skills by creating flower jars, jewelry, drums, decorative arts, and many others. Inspired by this experience, I decided to share these innovative activities with secondary school students through the organization of an inter-school competition, where winners were awarded prizes.

For the celebration of International Zero Waste 2024, I intend to draw inspiration from MAKE SMTHNG tactics to reduce waste production in my community and in Cameroon as a whole, through innovation and education.

Written by Mache Dolorès, Mboa Hub, Yaoundé, Cameroon


Empowering Dreams: Seka Blaise’s Journey with Mboa Hub

Hello, fellow planet enthusiasts! I’m Seka Jean Blaise, a passionate advocate for clean energy hailing from the beautiful Grassfields of Cameroon. My journey with clean energy began when I witnessed the harsh realities of limited energy access in my community. Fueled by this experience, I embarked on a mission to empower youths like me and bring about a transition to clean energy in Cameroon, with a vision of energy democracy for rural communities.

My transformative journey took an unexpected turn one Friday afternoon at Open Dreams when I met Ndum Albert and Mache Dolores, Greenpeace Africa Volunteers. They shared the exciting news about the launch of a Youth Climate Justice Makerspace, Mboa Hub, powered by Greenpeace Africa and Fryshuset through Planet One. Little did I know that this encounter would lead me to a roller-coaster ride of purpose discovery and self-actualization.

Before January 17, 2023,  I was a novice in the field of climate action. However, the invitation to the opening ceremony of Mboa Hub changed everything. This youth Makerspace became the catalyst for my academic and professional transformation. Through Mboa Hub, I was nominated as a delegate from Cameroon, funded by Greenpeace Africa, to attend the Climate Justice Camp in Lebanon. This one-week experience, focused on clean energy, exposed me to expert leaders from in France and Greenpeace in Greece, shaping my perspective on energy democracy—a life goal I now aspire to achieve for Cameroon by 2035.

Out of this passion, DeWise Energy was born—a startup dedicated to providing affordable and reliable clean energy to all Cameroonians. Mboa Hub became the wind beneath DeWise’s wings, offering invaluable technical and financial support. Together, we’ve launched projects like the DeWise Fellowship, empowering displaced youths to propose solutions to community problems, and the DeWise-Mboa SunSpark Energy Accelerator Program, training 20 youths annually on clean energy technologies.

What sets Mboa Hub apart is not just its professional prowess but the sense of family it exudes. The unity within the team translates into effective programs that resonate with the youth. I’m grateful for the support from the Mboa Hub team, and I eagerly anticipate future collaborations and projects. Together, we’re not just dreaming of a cleaner, greener future—we’re actively building it!

Mboa Hub, Yaoundé, Cameroon