Oparebea Ampofo

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Wisconsin, Madison, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10280

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Ampofo, Yaa (Wisconsin, Madison, U. of) "An Exploration of Ghanaian Youth’s Experiences of Human-Earth Relations, Ecological Knowledge and Environmental Change"

Youth across Sub-Saharan Africa are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change and environmental degradation. In response, there is significant international attention to the importance of supporting African youth to learn about and respond to these changes, particularly from development actors. These approaches tend to reify a human-centered, developmentalist earthview that renders invisible global power dynamics, neglects widespread commodification of scarce resources, and translates local ecological contexts into homogenous, universal commodities. In contrast, this study explores how diverse representations of ecological knowledge are understood, experienced, and contested by youth in Ghana; and how these heterogeneous approaches to conceptualizing human-earth relations, well-being, and environmental change impact Ghanaian youth’s abilities to survive and thrive under conditions of rapid environmental deterioration. The study offers a critical, interdisciplinary analysis of the relationships among environmental change, ecological knowledge, and youth livelihoods. It explores how we might imagine radically different and decolonizing discourses, policies, practices, and pedagogies for supporting youth in thinking about their needs, rights, and responsibilities vis-a-vis human-planetary interdependencies and wellbeing, in situating their own livelihoods and futures, and in gaining the skills needed to understand and respond to the very rapid socio-ecological changes that are reshaping life across the continent.