‘For centuries, many indigenous cultural groups have through value, care and respect for nature, sustainably conserved biodiversity, lands and water resources wholeheartedly without a feeling of being pressured and persuaded by government agencies of their country,’ explained Opoku. ‘Presently, however, these innate indigenous culturally specific conservation practices are fading away and are on the verge of being eroded completely.’
He developed a model for teaching culturally-specific environmental ethics in the senior high school Biology/Life Sciences curriculum that is culturally mainly pedagogical. Opoku observed that, ‘Integration of indigenous cultural conservation practices may go a long way to complement current ways of conservation studied in our schools and would help reduce the alarming rate of biodiversity loss.’
The study was funded by the National Research Foundation and Opoku presented an extended abstract of his research at the international conference on Environmental Sustainability, Development and Protection (ICESDP’17) in Barcelona, Spain.
His message to other researchers is, ‘be persistent and never give up on your dream. Have your country and younger generation at heart, that through your efforts in research, a better future would be made for the younger generation.’
Opoku thanked his support system of family, friends and supervisor Dr Angela James. ‘I always told them not to give up on me and [that I] would do my best for them. My supervisor inspired me to manage my family, relax and still be up and doing my study.’
He plans to continue his research and pilot the model in schools with a focus on publishing, postdoctoral studies, and training and supervising future graduates.