Thomas Sankara on ecology and the environment ?

Today on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy that took the life of Thomas Sankara and twelve of his companions, I would like to share with you some thoughts about his commitment to ecology and the environment.

I leave to others more competent to take you through the wider issue of the full range of his legacy and shall deal here only with his commitment to ecology and the environment. highlighted by a number of key actions that he set out, for instance::

  • three struggles (against illicit logging, forest fires and free-roaming animals);

  • the development of environmental awareness in education;

  • one forest for each village;;

  • introduction of improved cooking stoves across the country;

  • organisation of collecting forest seeds by the population;

  • systematic introduction of village tree nurseries;

  • setting up a ministry of water management;

  • a symbolic marriage gift of an improved cooking stove to every newly-wed couple.

(Read on at : ”Sankarisme et environnement”, communication de Fidèle Kientega)

This plea for the environment and ecology deserves to be seen as the recognised heritage of Thomas Sankara. To this I would like to add his commitment to family farming and food sovereignty. The expression food sovereignty did not exist in his lifetime, but the often stated the idea in these words: : ”Let us consume what we produce and produce that which we want to consume.” ».

The same commitment is also manifest in some of his speeches and should therefore be seen as part and parcel of his legacy to the nation. Below a brief quote from what President Sankara said in1986 at the SILVA Conference on forestry and trees in Paris:

Le roi des arbres du Burkina : le baobab, précieux pour ses feuilles (sauce) et ses fruitsLe logo de Terres Vivantes - Thomas Sankara”I intend to tell you in the most explicit way about the changes which are now taking place in Burkina Faso. I intend to tell you in the most truthful words of the birth and growth of a deep and sincere love between man and tree, therefore between man and the environment and therefore also between man and life in Burkina Faso” »

In April 2011 a friend wrote: ”Everybody cuts down trees and nobody plants”

Today we may ask: “What is left of the heritage of Thomas Sankara? Who are his heirs?”»

But this is not simply a matter of fate. Anyone may consider herself or himself as having inherited all or part of what Thomas Sankara.
left to his country. This is what the members of a new organisation “Terres Vivantes – Thomas Sankara” propose, under their suggestive logo.

More on this in a following newsletter.

Koudougou, October 15th, 2012
Maurice Oudet
Director, SEDELAN

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