Solutions

by NOOR

 


© Nina Berman / NOOR

© Nina Berman / NOOR

NOOR continues its climate change project with Solutions by NOOR, a project representing the work of eight internationally acclaimed photographers. An encompassing independent visual investigation into what is and can be done to slow down or reverse climate changes. Human stories about alternative power sources, renewable energies, and attempts to alleviate, adjust or cope with the rise of global temperatures. The biggest challenge our world has ever faced.

Collectively, the participating NOOR photographers travelled to Cuba, Brazil, Kenya, Congo, Iceland, Russia and the USA, in the process of documenting the innovative solutions found around the world.


Greening the Ghetto, USA

by Nina Berman

 76-year-old Abu Talib helped turn a vacant lot filled with old cars, tires, and garbage, into this half block long urban paradise with watermelons, peaches, apples, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and chickens.  Local residents become members and farm their own plots.  During the week, Talib and his son Robert Watson sell food to local residents who now have access to affordable, organic, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

What was once America’s most famous slum is now at the forefront of a national movement tackling climate change with environmental justice, one street at a time. What’s good for the planet is also good for the ’hood. The South Bronx, immortalized in films with its vast swath of torched tenements, rubble-strewn lots, gangbangers and hip-hop kids, looks quite different now than it did in 1977, when President Jimmy Carter walked through its urban ruin.

Over the years, motivated residents who saw possibility where others found wreckage cleaned out abandoned lots and created green spaces. Global warming wasn’t on their minds. They yearned to create peace amid chaos and nurture themselves and their neighbors, one plot at a time. Slowly, public space was transformed. More than 100 community gardens manned by crews of volunteers are thriving in the most unlikely places – tucked in near train tracks or sandwiched between housing projects. Here, urban farmers grow everything from eggplant to beans, cantaloupes and broccoli. They bring with them generations of knowledge as migrants and immigrants. Urban farmers from Puerto Rico share tips with those from Ghana. Father and son tend vegetables once grown by their ancestors in the Jim Crow south.

 

Local schools are teaming up with gardeners to teach kids basic nutrition and agriculture. One child on a garden tour thought the apples scattered under the trees had been bought at the supermarket – he didn’t realize apples grew on trees. In a borough with high rates of diabetes and obesity, teaching kids how to eat, and persuading them to choose fresh fruits and vegetables over fast food, is a health necessity.

The movement has reached a pivotal point.   Right now, gardeners eat what they grow, or give it away to churches and shelters, or sell it at neighborhood farmers’ markets.   The vision is for the gardens to become part of a more systemized network of urban growers  farming in gardens and on rooftops that can supply local schools, hospitals, restaurants and residents.  The benefits would be enormous. Local food requires less transportation and so less CO2 emissions.    Those without jobs – the South Bronx is one of the poorest places in America – could work in farms.  Organically produced fruits, vegetables and eggs (some gardens have hens)  are healthier then the  pesticide laced, processed  food served up by corporate agribusiness.   

Community  gardening is just one component of a bigger greening strategy that must tackle the historical reality of the Bronx having been built as a place to serve cars rather than people.    In the mid-20th Century,  Robert Moses, the powerful New York City planner demolished homes, businesses and entire neighborhoods to build a vast network of highways,  all leading out to the newly constructed suburbs.  Under Moses the South Bronx became a place you drove through but didn’t stop. No highway has been more detrimental to Bronx residents than the Cross Bronx Expressway which consistently rates as the most congested roadway in the U.S.  Neighborhoods that border the highway suffer from fumes, noise, lack of light and permanent poverty.  Environmentalists have proposed decommissioning a piece of the Moses highway system and turning it into a green space.

 Waterfront parks, where there were previously none, have opened in the past few years and a greenway for runners and cyclists will open in 2011. Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, an environmental justice and jobs training organization, grew up in the Bronx but never knew there was a river flowing through it until she happened upon the Bronx River one day while walking her dog. This experience inspired her to ‘dare to imagine’, resulting in the Hunts Point Riverside Park, the first new park built in 60 years and a jewel of the New York City parks system.

 

 A volunteer gardener at Finca Del Sur, a yaer old garden in the South Bronx,  tends the corn stalks while a passenger train goes by in the background.  The garden was created on an empty plot of land bordered by a high way exit ramp and a commuter train line.    Volunteers grew, corn, cabbage, eggplant, apples, peppers,  etc.  In 2011, La Finca Del Sur  (The point of the south)  will be the location for a newly created farm school
 Located next to a car repair shack,  the River Garden is cared for by Nessie Panton. Nessie Panton, 73 years old,� a retired nurse�s aide at Harlem hospital, �started volunteering in the River Garden in 1986 . Like most of the gardens, it was formerly an abandoned lot where people would dump things.�� She first started planting cabbages, collard greenes, carrots and tomatoes,�� and now also� plants callaloo, a vegetable with high vitamin and mineral content that is popular in Jamacia where she grew up.�� �She is one of 8 gardeners who regularly work the land. � � �Sometimes I like to go in there by myself,� and when you have problems, you go in there and get peace of mind.�

Steamland: Geothermal Energy in Iceland

by Pep Bonet

 Due to the unique geological location of Iceland, the high concentration of volcanoes in the area is often an advantage for generating geothermal energy, heating and electricity. 100% of Iceland’s electricity comes from clean sources and the government plans within 30 years to become the first country to abandon the use of fossil fuels.

Geothermal activity in the Hengill area is connected by three volcanic systems, which cover 112 square kilometers and form one of the most extensive geothermal areas in Iceland. Geothermal energy is heat energy that occurs naturally in the earth, and is recovered from the earth’s core. In nature, geothermal heat shows up in the form of volcanoes, hot springs and geysers. When this energy is higher than 150°C/302°F, it is considered hot enough to be used to generate electricity and heat in Iceland.

Geothermal Power

Geothermal heat is one of Iceland's greatest natural resources and is mostly used to heat fresh water, which can be utilised directly for central heating. 89% of all homes in Iceland are heated this way, making central heating and warm water rather inexpensive. But the geothermal water is also used in many other ways, such as in swimming pools, greenhouses, for soil warming, fish farming, drying timber and wool, animal husbandry, etc.

 People have used naturally occurring hot springs for bathing for thousands of years but using geothermal energy to generate electricity and to provide heat for homes and industries is a more recent development. It is a versatile and reliable source of heat and electricity, which generally produces none of the greenhouse gases associated with the combustion of fossil fuels.

The Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater spa is a part of an eco-cycle where nature and science work in harmony. Geothermal seawater comes into contact with cooling magmatic intrusions and captures the earth’s minerals, resulting in this unique natural spring known for its healing power. The water’s temperature is 37-39°C/98-102°F. The lagoon holds six million liters of geothermal seawater, which is renewed every 40 hours.

The readers of Condé Nast Traveller voted Blue Lagoon as the best medical spa worldwide. For five consecutive years, Blue Lagoon has been awarded the Blue Flag environmental recognition for natural beaches and marinas.

Geothermal Power in Iceland
Geothermal Power

Solar Power in Nairobi's Slums

by Stanley greene

 stanley Greene (C) NOORIMAGES-2010

Kuvua Samaki Mwangazani

Hunting the fish into light 

Nyachebe Solar Fishermen -Mbita ,Kenya
 stanley Greene (C) NOORIMAGES-2010

Kuvua Samaki Mwangazani

Hunting the fish into light 

Nyachebe Solar Fishermen -Mbita ,Kenya 

Mbita is a town close to Lake Victory. There is a big solar installation where fishermen Use solar light to attract fish at night in the lake instead of Kerosene lamps.
By using solar lamps the fisher men can fish much longer than using Kerosene laterins , and the can catch four to fives times more fish . instead of the usually 3hours on the lake they can stay out more than twelve hours at a time , but the down side is the fish stock are depleting much faster .

The beginning of the journey to search for the usages of solar energy in Kenya started for me in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi. Kibera is the second largest slum in Africa with a population of approximately 700.000 inhabitants.

The Community Youth Program in Kibera gathers youths from Kibera who create solar lamps that are being made for the community. They create and sell the lamps and the money that they receive is shared amongst the group. Inside the youth center there is a solar panel, but it is the only one in Kibera. Their hope is to be able to build solar panels for the whole Kibera community.

In Kenya, solar panels and lamps are also being used in schools to power computers during school hours. They are used in market villages where everybody can charge its mobile phones and power fridges, but also in individual houses.

Solar power lamps are practical argument for solution of climate change and can give a positive reason both economically and environmentally potential of solar power in out of reach areas where electricity is expensive and impractical to come by to poor communities.

 stanley Greene (C) NOORIMAGES-2010

Kuvua Samaki Mwangazani

Hunting the fish into light 

"Pulling the net "
Nyachebe Solar Fishermen -Mbita ,Kenya 

Fishing on Lake Victoria with Solar power in Nyachebe Beach CommunityMbita is a town close to Lake Victory. There is a big solar installation where fishermen Use solar light to attract fish at night in the lake instead of Kerosene lamps.

Russia's Green Exodus

by Yuri kozyrev

Solutions

Russia’s Green Exodus, the back to the land movement, is drawing thousands of professionals weary of the new consumerism, state policy and corruption. They live in tepees, raise horses and identify themselves with Native Americans. They believe in the magic powers of cedar trees and plant them by the thousands. They create hundreds of ecological communes in far corners of Siberia, the Altai Mountains and the Karelian woods in search of happier, alternative forms of living. Yuri Kozyrev documented four different communities.

The movement started about 15 years ago. Some represent the outgrowth of old Socialist ideals, transformed by religious rhetoric. At least 10,000 Russians have joined just one commune, City of Sun, led by the Christ of Siberia, or Vissarion, an ecological sect outside Abakan. By selling all their property and giving the money to their charismatic leader, Vissarion’s followers have burned all bridges to their old life. They are heavily criticized by the Russian Orthodox Church, as being “green” saved religious communes from political persecution.

 

The tree lovers, or Anastasia movement, involving over 100,000 registered activists of eco communes, idealize the return to rural peasant life. ‘All my life, I’ve been a part of the system: at school, as a university student, then as a faithful officer, but the system fell apart before my eyes, destroyed by traders, by stealers, by outrageously corrupt managers. The motherland is what teaches us to live in harmony,’ says Dmitry Ivanov, a former colonel and an ideologist of the Land of Plenty commune, outside Novosibirsk on the Ob River.

 

Back in the late 1980s hundreds of Russian fans of Native American culture ran away to the Altai Mountains, settling in Kukui community. They followed the traditional life of Native American tribes, living in tepees, working on Soviet horse collective farms and wearing traditional Native American clothes – they copied the designs from Marlboro adverts somebody brought from Poland, or from pictures found in books about American Indians.

The Soviet system did not accept them – during the commune’s eight years of existence, the KGB often questioned and chased young, sportsmen covered in feathers and the local kolkhoz fired the foreign-looking young men. The commune fell apart but most of its residents could not stop identifying with Native Americans and settled on individual ranchos in the Altai and the Ural Mountains, Tyumen and Kamchatka, where they live today.

Life on the land in Siberia is not easy: last winter, the temperature fell below –50°C/-58°F in the Altai Mountains. Communal life in Askat village was a disappointment – fights among artists became a more severe issue than Arctic winds. Olga Kumani has been trying hard to live a green and peaceful life since she quit her crime reporter career in 2002. ‘I could not breathe in the city; the state system choked me. And this commune is not an ideal society, either. I feel disillusioned at times,’ she said.

After almost 20 years of searching for the best alternative life, the residents of Nevo Eco-Ville commune say they have found harmony.  About a dozen households of creative and successful professionals from St Petersburg and Moscow have settled on Ladoga Lake in the Karelia Republic woods, 25 kilometers from the Finnish boarder. ‘The key to successful life in a commune is strong family relations – nobody has managed to escape city life, go green and stay happy without family support,’ says Andrei Obruch, a father of four natural and four adopted children. Obruch’s family teach their children at home; vegetarians, they eat what they grow in their garden. Every summer crowds of European backpackers and eco-tourists stop at Nevo Eco-Ville commune, well known for its hospitable and friendly atmosphere.

 

Solutions
Solutions

The Cuban Solution

by Jon Lowenstein

In our over-developed, hyper-consumer-centric world, we tend to think of climate change solutions in terms of technology. What new whizz-bang gadget can be invented for a seemingly easy fix we can all benefit from? Developments such as windmills, electric cars and solar energy are important; yet, also significant and perhaps equally vital are the seemingly meaningless decisions individuals make that significantly lower our carbon imprint.

 An Organop�nico in Cienfuegos where the men were picking beans manually. The majority of the labor at these small scale, organic farms are done manually. The  Organop�nicos are a system of urban organic gardens in Cuba. Organop�nicos provide access to job opportunities, a fresh food supply to the community, neighborhood improvement and beautification of urban areas.

Organop�nicos first arose as a community response to lack of food security after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They are totally organic, use crop rotation and natural pesticides instead of chemicals and help feed the local community. They are publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access and management, but heavily subsidized and supported by the Cuban government.

The Cuban Solution

�The amount and type of energy we consume is a result of two kinds of choices: those we make as a society and those we make as individuals and families.�

The World Watch Institute

In our over-developed, hyper-consumer-centric world we tend to think of climate change solutions in terms of technology. What new whizz-bang gadget can be invented for a seemingly easy fix that we can all benefit from? And these developments such as windmills, electric cars and solar energy are important, yet also significant and perhaps equally vital are the seemingly meaningless decisions that individuals make that significantly lower our carbon imprint. 

Much can be learned from places where resources are scant and people must conserve. Examples of this are as simple as growing food locally in community gardens, using public transportation, riding a bicycle when where we would take our car and recycling. Although, in developed countries such as the United States, these �innovations� are not yet common, Cuba is one country that has been forced into these �solutions� by necessity. 

In 1991 the Soviet Union pulled out of country and Cuba was left to fend for itself. 
The ample and continuous supply of petroleum that the economy ran o

Much can be learned from places where resources are scant and people must conserve. Examples are as simple as growing food locally in community gardens, using public transportation, riding a bicycle where we would take our car and recycling. Although, in developed countries such as the United States, these innovations are not yet common, Cuba is one country that has been forced into these solutions by necessity.

In 1991, when the Soviet Union pulled out of country and Cuba was left to fend for itself, the ample supply of petroleum that the economy ran on ground to a halt. Cuba's oil imports dropped to 10% of pre-1990 amounts. This had many adverse effects on the economy and caused a sea change in Cuban behavior: the food supply became limited, decrepit 1950s cars became used as taxis, people carpooled and individual Cubans developed innovative ways to survive in a myriad of ways.

 Carlos Lazos and Dagoberto Nunez together saved for two years and built a windmill for their two families in Altamisa, Cuba. The windmill powers the well where their water supply is located. The mill cost the men and their familiies 2000 Cuban pesos which is a substantial sum of money in the small island country. The windmill was functioning, but they had two problems; the first was that the on/off  handle was broken and they had to manually operate it by climbing the mill to turn it on or off and that some tubing had broken and it was unavailable at the local store. Therefore, the men had to fill up a large water bucket on wheels to carry the water to the other house. Resources and supplies are difficult to come by but it's far easier than pumping the water from the well by hand. 

The Cuban Solution

�The amount and type of energy we consume is a result of two kinds of choices: those we make as a society and those we make as individuals and families.�

The World Watch Institute

In our over-developed, hyper-consumer-centric world we tend to think of climate change solutions in terms of technology. What new whizz-bang gadget can be invented for a seemingly easy fix that we can all benefit from? And these developments such as windmills, electric cars and solar energy are important, yet also significant and perhaps equally vital are the seemingly meaningless decisions that individuals make that significantly lower our carbon imprint. 

Much can be learned from places where resources are scant and people must conserve. Examples of this are as simple as growing food locally in community gardens, using public transportation, riding a bicycle when where we would take our car and recycling. Although, in developed countries such as the United States, these �innovations� are not yet common, Cuba is one country that has been forced into these �solutions� by necessity. 

In 1991 the Soviet Union pulled out of country and Cuba was left to fend for itself. 
The ample and contin
 Carlos Lazos and Dagoberto Nunez together saved for two years and built a windmill for their two families in Altamisa, Cuba. The windmill powers the well where their water supply is powered. The mill cost the men and their familiies 2000 Cuban pesos which is a substantial sum of money in the small island country. The windmill was functioning, but they had two problems; the first was that the on/off  handle was broken and they had to manually operate it by climbing the mill to turn it on or off and that some tubing had broken and it was unavailable at the local store. Therefore, the men had to fill up a large water bucket on wheels to carry the water to the other house. Resources and supplies are difficult to come by but it's far easier than pumping the water from the well by hand. 

The Cuban Solution

�The amount and type of energy we consume is a result of two kinds of choices: those we make as a society and those we make as individuals and families.�

The World Watch Institute

In our over-developed, hyper-consumer-centric world we tend to think of climate change solutions in terms of technology. What new whizz-bang gadget can be invented for a seemingly easy fix that we can all benefit from? And these developments such as windmills, electric cars and solar energy are important, yet also significant and perhaps equally vital are the seemingly meaningless decisions that individuals make that significantly lower our carbon imprint. 

Much can be learned from places where resources are scant and people must conserve. Examples of this are as simple as growing food locally in community gardens, using public transportation, riding a bicycle when where we would take our car and recycling. Although, in developed countries such as the United States, these �innovations� are not yet common, Cuba is one country that has been forced into these �solutions� by necessity. 

In 1991 the Soviet Union pulled out of country and Cuba was left to fend for itself. 
The ample and contin

Some of the solutions were government-sanctioned but many were simply individuals finding a way to eat, move around and simply survive. These included the advent of community gardens called ‘Organoponicos.’ In only a decade, Cuba went from a farming system based on conventional modern agriculture, with inputs of fertilizers and pesticides that even surpassed the United States, to 80% organic farms. Today, they dot Havana and most communities throughout the country, helping to significantly improve the average Cuban’s diet.

Many people walk where they need to go and public transportation is used by the vast majority of Cubans. Modes of transport include busses, animal powered vehicles, and finally the 1950s American cars that sometimes carry up to 6-8 people on their routes. Although these cars use gasoline-powered engines, they have been preserved for upwards of 60 years, meaning Cubans have not bought a new car every few years like the average American. It’s important to note that globally there are more countries like Cuba – with few resources and people forced into environmentally conscious decisions by necessity – than places with ‘whizz bang’ gadgets. While Cuba is not a perfect society to be emulated in every way, much can be learned from its initiative and innovations.

Cuba still relies heavily on subsidized, imported oil from Venezuela, and the government is set to drill for oil off the coast of Havana, yet the survival solutions developed during the past two decades help the average Cuban to survive and the majority of these solutions are generally good for the climate. With an ever-increasing world population that’s expected to reach between 8 and 10.5 billion people by the year 2050, we must learn how to conserve our resources so that life on earth can continue into future millenniums.


Wind Energy in China

by Kadir vAn Lohuizen

Solutions, wind energy in China

Since China has committed to a low-carbon development path, it has now become the second biggest producer of wind energy, after the US. With current wind power capacity at 25.8 gigawatt (GW) and capacity sharply increasing, it will be number one by 2011. Big wind farms with thousands of windmills are being constructed in provinces including Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Gansu. The current capacity is enough to serve 55 million Chinese households.

Over the last five years, thousands of windmills have been erected on the vast steppes of Inner Mongolia. Goldwind, a Chinese wind turbine company ranking among the top five in the world, built 200 windmills last year. Goldwind alone has installed 7,000 windmills to date. The windmills are on average 65 meters (215 feet) high, each blade is 34 meters/110 feet long and each generates 1.5 megawatts. A nuclear power plant generates on average 1000 megawatts; thus 1,500 windmills will need to be installed to equal this.

Solutions, wind energy in China
Solutions, wind energy in China

On the steppes, Mongolian herdsmen look strange amid these high-tech wind parks. The herdsmen have received compensation from the energy companies to allow them to build the windmills on their land. Now the old and the new meet and mingle on the steppes.


Brazil's Sweet Solution

by francesco Zizola

 Brazil. São Paulo. Usina São Manoel. 12 October 2010.

A previously harvested sugar cane field is lit by the fires burning on the surrounding fields. 
Sugar cane in Brazil is harvested either by hand, the traditional method, or by machines. Harvesting operations have been mechanized in the majority of Brazil’s sugar cane mills (‘usina’ in Portuguese) but some fields on uneven terrain are not accessible to machines and have to be burned to facilitate manual harvesting.

Started as a way to reduce oil dependence in a decade threatened by the first oil crisis and its resulting oil shortages, after 35 years the commercial production of sugar cane ethanol fuel has brought Brazil to the forefront of the battle against climate change. 

 Brazil. São Paulo. Usina São Manoel. 12 October 2010.

One of the large tanks where ethanol his stored prior to sale. 

Brazil produces two types of ethanol: ‘hydrous’, which contains about 5% water in volume, and ‘anhydrous’, virtually water-free. 

‘Hydrous’ ethanol is used to power vehicles equipped with pure ethanol or Flex-Fuel engines. ‘Anhydrous’ ethanol is mixed to petrol before it is sold.

An agro-industrial giant, Brazil is the world’s second largest producer of ethanol and the world’s largest producer of sugar cane, which is used as feedstock in the production of bio-ethanol. Brazilian ethanol derived from sugar cane is deemed the most successful biofuel to date in terms of energy balance and greenhouse gas emissions and it has slowly been replacing gasoline and diesel in significant sectors. Today, bio-ethanol is not only used to power light vehicles, but is also being tested on power buses in city centers and electric powers plants.

 Since Brazil’s government launched the ‘National Alcohol Program’ in 1975, making a blend of petrol and ethanol mandatory for light vehicles, pure petrol is no longer sold in the country and in March 2010 'flex-cars' (running on a mix of petrol and ethanol) reached a record of 10 million vehicles built by Brazilian automakers since 2003. Despite concerns raised by environmentalists and humanitarian organizations, at present the advantages of ethanol produced from sugar cane seem to outnumber the drawbacks. Bio-ethanol is a renewable energy source, its emissions are cleaner than fossil fuel emissions and it contributes to mitigate global warming. This is achieved by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% to100%, thanks to an overall balance between the CO2 absorbed by the growing crops and the carbon emissions produced by the vehicles running on ethanol.

But the ‘sweet’ news isn’t over yet. Besides literally setting millions of Brazilians in motion, sugar cane is now producing electricity. After being crushed, sugar cane cellulosic residue (known as bagasse) is partly processed into second generation bio-fuels and is partly burned at power cane mills. The energy surplus from bagasse burning is channeled to the Brazilian national grid and about 3% of the country’s electricity now comes from the sweet crop, complementing production from the hydro-electric plants that provide much of Brazil’s power during the dry season. Thanks to abundant rainfall, the 2010-11 harvest is expected to break all sugar cane harvest records in the centre-south region of Brazil, the biggest sugar cane growing area in the world. With 570.19 million tons of sugar cane on the horizon, ready to be crushed, Brazil’s contributions to mitigating global warming have never looked sweeter.

 Brazil. São Paulo. Usina São Manoel. 12 October 2010.

Sugar cane fields burning prior to hand harvesting is generally performed at night, to reduce the polluting effects of smoke clouds on workers and communities living on the outskirts of the cane fields. 

Fields burning not only is a particularly polluting practice and an environmental incoherence for an industry that claims to produce a green alternative to fossil fuels, but it is also counter-productive in terms of ethanol yields. The extra plant matter could be processed to obtain 2nd generation bio-fuels (cellulosic ethanol) or be burned in cogeneration power plants that make sugar cane mills energy self-sufficient.
 Brazil. Pernambuco. Usina Salgado. 17 October 2010.

Burning sugar cane fields prior to hand harvesting is generally performed at night, to reduce the polluting effects of smoke clouds on workers and communities living on the outskirts of the cane fields. 
Sugar cane in Brazil is harvested in two different periods: from April to December in South-Central Brazil, and from September to March in the Northeast.

Forest Planting in Congo

by Alixandra Fazzina

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“Deforestation produces about one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions- more than all the cars, planes, and trains in the world”

 Life on earth depends on forests. Trees influence day-to-day weather and help keep the climate stable by storing massive amounts of carbon. As they are cut they release carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Protecting the world’s remaining tropical forests is a key part of the solution to tackling the climate crisis.

The Congo Basin rainforest is the second largest on earth and plays a vital role in regulating the global climate. The Democratic Republic of Congo alone is the fourth largest forest carbon reservoir of any country in the world but its trees are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Decades of conflict, mass displacement and enduring poverty have put even more pressure on the forests in this resource rich country.

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In Eastern Congo, the people are already witnessing the effects of deforestation as weather patterns change and rivers begin to dry up. Climate change in this region is not something abstract; when trees are cut, the rains no longer come, altering crop cycles and depleting supplies of water. Over the past decade there has been a cry, “Tupande Miti!” Plant trees!

With over 97% of the population of Eastern Congo reliant on charcoal for fuel and timber for construction, creating plantations of fast growing trees can help protect existing rainforests, reducing the environmental impact of war. Tree planting programmes initiated by international NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature are sensitising communities to sustainable forestry practices. {Looking to cut the consumption of wood for fuel, new affordable, eco makala (eco charcoal) stoves halve consumption of charcoal while recycled briquettes alleviate the dependence on trees.}

At grassroots level, agricultural associations and non-governmental groups such as the Pole Pole Foundation have been working with communities as part of a worldwide scheme to plant one billion trees a year in partnership with UNEP. To compliment to the planting of new trees, they provide educational and alternative livelihoods programmes, ensuring the survival of the forests for years to come.

On one of the frontlines of climate change, the people of Eastern Congo have turned to geo engineering. Planting trees is their solution. It has the potential to change the world.

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