The upcoming COP21 in Paris is an important one for Africa as the continent who suffers the most from climate change, and for the world who wants to replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is expected that issues such as climate financing, information-sharing climate-smart agriculture and technology transfer will dominate the talks.
An unidentified object hovers over Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium during 2014's Jamuhuri Day celebrations. In a country that has had it's fair share of terror attacks, this sighting is met not so much with wonder as anxiety. The Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces immediately sets out to find who is behind it. It turns out to be a Kenyan media house capturing some aerial shots of the proceedings in advance of the President's arrival. Orders follow that the device be landed immediately. It is brought safely to the ground. What was the cause for all the fuss? A drone. Referred to in other quarters as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs). A vehicle that could drive Kenyan agriculture into the future.
While development of better innovations and technologies hold a promise to lowering the cost of and thus acceptance of alternative renewable power in the society, various international government-led initiatives can help accelerate and popularize adoption of these alternatives, through policy changes, funding and pulling various partnerships.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Attributed to King Nebuchadnezzar II and described by writers of the time as a pensile paradise. Resembling large green mountains constructed of mud bricks; these gardens were the pride of the ancient Babylonians. Legend has it that the King created the gardens for his queen who missed the green hills and valleys of her homeland. Who would have thought that this gesture of affection would set the trend for modern agriculture today? Vertical farming, the act of growing food in high-rise buildings, could change the way we produce food in the future.
There is some oddness, a sense of remoteness that comes up when technology and Africa are used in the same sentence. It is like thinking of a rainforest at the heart of the Sahara or Kalahari Desert. However, at the heart of Nairobi, Kenya, a team of software developers, engineers, and technologists are rewriting the story of Africa from remoteness and oddness to possibilities. BRCK is a device seeking to solve problems of electricity, internet connections, problems that are eminent in both rural and urban areas in Africa.
Huge dams have been touted as effective in providing drinking and irrigation water, all cheaply and sustainably. Recent studies reveal otherwise as most of these projects in sub-Sahara turn out to be more costly than planned. A recent study has quantified claims that large dams also lead to more malaria being spread in the sub-Saharan, thus adding more weight to concerns on whether these projects should be pursued actively in favor of the alternatives.
One of the largest impedement towards implementation of renewable energy in reducing emissions is their high cost. Reduction of costs of utility-scale renewable energy projects is important towards increasing the deployment and acceptability of solar and wind power projects. Renewable energy auctions, technology innovation and feed-in-tariffs are some of the methods suggested for the future and which have tried before to reduce installation and final consumer costs.
One evening, as Calvince Okello -the creator of M-shamba - was watching the news at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where he studied biomechanical and processing engineering, a particular feature left him at his wits end. The Eastern part of Kenya was suffering from severe famine while the Western part had registered a bumper harvest with maize even rotting on farms. This stark contrast of pockets plenty amidst areas of serious lack was enough to push Calvince to think of a solution. He attended a lecture the following day that would set M-shamba in motion.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) is the new buzz word for member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The member states are preparing for the 21st conference of parties meeting in Paris, France later this year. INDCs are proposed post-2020 climate actions that countries publicly declare to implement, in order to assist in limiting the earth’s temperature rise to 2 degrees centigrade. Kenya has once again proven to be a leader by becoming the fourth African state to publicly declare its INDCs.
GravityLight is an innovative off-grid light designed to eliminate dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps, used by over 1.3 billion people who don’t have access to electricity. The product is unique and has created a new category of lighting, which doesn’t have any batteries nor need the sun - all you need is a weight!