Wild About Africa

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Shocking – even poor Kenyans have a huge carbon footprint!


To find a way of reducing my carbon footprint I thought I’d emulate someone with a very simple lifestyle. So I asked my neighbours maid who lives in a one bedroomed house with her husband and child. These are her energy sources and carbon footprint calculations. Rhoda doesn’t have a car- she uses a bus, her house is not connected to the grid so she uses paraffin lamps for lighting and for her cooking. She also uses firewood and charcoal for cooking and heat.

A poor persons carbon footprint is still HUGE

So you see, even a relatively poor person has a carbon footprint of 4.5 tons which is 500 kg of CO2 more than the global average and more than twice the global target! THIS IS SHOCKING! Thank God she doesn’t have a cow!

Compared to me, Rhoda uses an enormous number of plastic bags but that only amounts to 237 kg of carbon dioxide. It’s the charcoal that contributes to the bulk of her carbon footprint accounting for 80% of it.

Now I am even more despondent about the Copenhagen meeting this month and it’s ability to forge an agreement with nations that will actually establish realistic mechanisms for reaching climate change targets….. it’s clear that in order to reach the global target even poor people will have to change their habits.

That’s about 95% of the Kenyan population. How do you ask poor people not to aspire to owning  a car, or to stop using cheap fuel like charcoal?

We need some out of the box thinkers @kahenya @roomthinker @bankelele @rafikikenya @robertalai @eastlandah @petergrete @keggaz @iamkenei send ur thoughts here

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December 1, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Has she tried insulating her house? If not, she could place a layer of newspapers on her walls and cover it up with plywood, this’ll reduce the amount of charcoal needed to warm up the house, plus there’s this really great oven using similar technology, a basket insulated with newspaper layers, keeps the food hot for long periods so she’ll only have to cook once, my mother has it and loves it, will post pics of it later. So as per now, the future of the world seems to be pegged on newspapers! Ironic isn’t it? Paper comes from trees! Oh, almost forgot, tell her to eat as much beef as she possibly can, I’ll go on a shoe buying streak (scared of gout), We need to get rid of ‘em cows!

    Comment by iamkenei | December 1, 2009 | Reply


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