Misbah Barak: Raising Environmental Ambassadors in Uganda
In Barack’s home, much like 90% of the rest of rural Uganda, much of the light for reading and writing comes from the sun. But when the sun isn’t shining, the light must often come from dim, smoky lamps that can have long-term health effects like respiratory illness or eye damage. Were it not for those dim lamps, you would have to burn wood such as charcoal and firewood, which, for many Ugandans, is the only source of energy for their most urgent heating and cooking needs.
The idea of using that precious energy for schoolwork, even for a diligent student like Barack, is almost unthinkable.
Sadly, continuing to rely on this firewood, even for light and heat, is becoming increasingly unsustainable to meet the most pressing needs of Ugandans facing the harsh realities of the climate crisis.
The need for new energy.
Globally, wood burning such as charcoal and firewood is taking off approx gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, and these emissions are a major contributor to the climate-induced floods and droughts already plaguing Uganda.
According to the World Bank recently ReportClimate-induced floods, droughts, deforestation and landslides have affected approximately 41% of the total land area in Uganda, already resulting in the loss of approximately 122,000 hectares of habitable and cultivated land.
What is left is often not used for farming, but for the unsustainable harvesting of more firewood that contributes to the climate crisis in the first place. With 80% of Ugandans dependent on agriculture and fishing for their livelihood, smallholder farmers and households are urgently feeling the pressures of the causes and effects of climate change.
Although Uganda is responsible for Less than 1% of historical global emissions since 1750The country bears the brunt of the world’s need for new ways of thinking and new sources of energy.
CARE Uganda has started a solar energy initiative to help address the global and local challenges of the climate crisis. With funding from Innovation Norway and Novo Nordisk, Kerr has set up solar-powered kitchens at community centers in the country’s southwest region, as well as at Kinakyeitaka Elementary School, where Barak and his peers are studying new ways to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. .
“Coffee fanatic. Gamer. Award-winning zombie lover. Student. Hardcore internet advocate. Twitter guru. Subtly charming bacon nerd. Thinker.”