"Lead The Fight Against Climate Change"

Mr Sam Healy, Regional Environmental Officer, at the United. States Embassy, has urged individuals to lead the fight against climate change.

He said: "I urge all to take your turn leading the fight against climate change, wildlife trafficking, environmental degradation or any other environmental threat in any way you can. It is taking action, and not necessarily the action you take that will matter most in leading Ghana and the world to a sustainable and better future."

Mr Healy made the call in a statement issued ahead of the observance of Earth Day 2015 on the theme: "It is our turn to Lead".

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year, to promote environmental awareness, and a call for the protection of the planet.

The statement said climate change is rapidly altering the environment on an extraordinary scale with oceans rising, and ecosystems changing forever.

It said illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing are emptying our oceans of sustenance on which literally billions of people depend.

"Habitat loss, poaching and wildlife trafficking threaten not only iconic species such as elephants and rhinoceros, but lesser known ones like pangolins and monk seals."

It said in Ghana and throughout West Africa the situation is perhaps even more critical, as growing seasons and rains are becoming increasingly unreliable, threatening farmers and their livelihoods; rivers that provide drinking water to millions are spoiled by rampant illegal mining using dangerous chemicals.

The statement said beaches and fishermen's nets were clogged with plastic bags; forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. "Bush meat poached from nature reserves is sold openly, threatening biodiversity and public health with diseases such as Ebola."

"So, whether young or old, poor or rich, each of us can help lead a movement to reverse this tide of environmental degradation. Each of us can begin on Earth Day to transform the current grim reality through our actions.

Environmental leadership can start small - discuss conservation with your family or turn off the water when you brush your teeth; or gather a group to clean a beach or encourage your elected representative to act on an environmental issue."

The statement urged the public to write to local newspapers, plant tree or hold meetings in your local community, adding that each action shows leadership and encourages others to do the same.