Wild About Africa

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I don’t believe My Carbon Footprint –

Based on @rafikikenyas post about his big fat carbon footprint I thought I’d do mine and prove that I’m naturally much less of an earth destroyer.Rafiki Kenya discovered that his footprint is 11 tonnes per year – THREE TIMES BIGGER THAN THE WORLD AVERAGE AND BIGGER THAN THE AVERAGE FOR INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS which is TOTALLY SHOCKING!!!

Rafiki Kenya's fat footprint

GUILTY EARTHDESTROYER RafikiKenya has this to say

Yes, my carbon footprint is bigger than the average footprint for people in Kenya, bigger than the average worldwide carbon footprint, and even bigger than the average for the industrial nations. Since we are not talking about the size of my manhood here (Tsk only a guy would say this) – which wouldn’t be a cause for alarm – but about the size of my carbon footprint, something needs to be done about it here and now.”

I used the same carbon footprint calculator powered by Carbon Footprint as RafikiKenya used. The results are even more shocking! Knowing that I’m a good tree hugger I did the same carbon exam and found that despite the fact that I am a vegetarian, I only do essential driving (ok it is a landrover – Damn Kenyan potholes) and I only buy local vegetables, I hardly go out, I don’t buy the latest gadgetry I’m just as bad as Rafiki Kenya ..if not worse because I didn’t know how to enter household gas and electricity equivalent!

My results were not much better than his

  • Your footprint is 21.03 tonnes, which equates to 10.51 tonnes per year
  • The average footprint for people in Kenya is 0.31 tonnes
  • The average for the industrial nations is about 11 tonnes
  • The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 tonnes
  • The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 tonnes

I HOPE THAT THIS IS ALL DAMN LIES, ALL OF IT! Because if its not then the world is really messed up – if we in Africa have to reduce our impact by 80% on an individual basis I just can’t see how we’d function.

Africans in nations like Kenya have an individual footprint of .31 tons – that’s one 7th of the global average and one fortieth of the industrial average. Yet we are facing devastating impacts of climate change already with a drought that has killed 80% of our livestock, low rainfall and failed crops, forest cover loss that has dried up streams and stolen our power generation.    Climate change is causing conflicts and hundreds die annually as a result not to mention the thousands who are dying of starvation. And resolving starvation by planting more food is a sure way to make things worse – land use change is the greatest driver of climate change. We’re screwed.

This graph is from WildlifeDirects Baraza blog and should help you understand why I’m so pessimistic – carbon emissions must decline to pre 1990 if we are to save the planet as we know it. That means the average American reduces his or her impact by at least half. Well if my emissions in Nairobi are as big as the average Americans and I don’t even heat my house then I really wonder what they can cut out – meat, driving, buying stuff …really? That would drive the country into an economic recession … hey isn’t that what we’re bailing ourselves out of right now with a few cool trillion dollars?

According to a report on BBC today, industrialized nations promised Africa US$ 400 million per year to cope with climate change …and payments were supposed to start in 2001. That means that there should have been 400 x 9 or 360000000  or put it this way 3.6 trillion dollars sent to AFrica. Well, to date only US$ 260m (not even 10% of the promise)  has been placed in a bank and the rest cannot be accounted for.

It’s in todays headlines:

Africa seeks climate change cash

Climate change help for the poor has not materialised

So, whatever promises are made in Copenhagen, get drunk but don’t bother cheering  – divide promises by about 12 and you’ll find we’re on the trajectory to frying the planet. Lets face it Africa is already frying.

Carbon payments and offsetting MY ASS

What can we do as Kenyans? Well Rafiki Kenya is undertaking  a great solution patented by @kahenya – it’s called swear for trees and it might help to relieve your tension but will do nought for climate change.

I have a better idea – the climate change calculator puts a huge amount of emphasis on what we buy and how we travel so I should change my car for a motorbike, stop international travel (my one flight to China costs the atmosphere 5.16 tons – equivalent to 15,000 km of driving in my car! A flight to NYC from Nairobi costs 2.7 tons. Equivalent to using a motorbike all year long. Damn.

I thought that being a vegetarian would count for something but that calculator seems to be faulty…

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Conservation | 5 Comments

White Ribbon Day Today – End Violence Against Women

Yesterday I made commitments to 7  actions that I think will help raise awareness about Violence Against Women.

My first commitment  was to reach 100 people through my networks. Well at least 70 people read my blog yesterday alone and several people commented on my tweets and Facebook and took my Gender Violence poll so I’m happy with progress on that target.

I also committed to getting 5 friends to write about Gender Violence.

Yesterday alone two people responded and I’d like to share the highlights of these blogs


Linda Raftree of Plan International, writes a blog called Wait …Wait which is all about “people I meet through that work and things I wonder about related to both”. She aimst o incorporate social media and new technology into youth development programs in Africa  so that youth have more of a voice and so that new media/new technology.  Her goal  is to improve the conditions in the communities.

Gender Violence Africa

“In the community over the past 3 weeks, I saw and heard about the challenges girls face to achieve an education, avoid unwanted advances, including from teachers, and avoid early pregnancies.  Most of the time there is no space for these issues to be discussed openly among both boys and girls, and with adults.  Plan’s two campaigns, Learn without Fear and Because I am a Girl, seem extremely relevant to the context”.

Gender violence in Mozambique

I love this image of girl power in Mozambique. Makes me smile. Follow Linda’s amazing stories on twitter @meowtree


17 year old boy takes action on Violence Against Women

The second blog on gender violence was written than none other than my 17 year old son who really surprises me from time to time.

Writing as rovingrastaman Joshuas posts can be totally unpredictable. He has recently been debating what gifts to buy his little sister for her birthday and seems to spends an unusually long amount of time thinking about it (for a boy) and seems to be willing to spend an extortionate amount of money on her.

Solve the problem Violence against Women by raising boys to be good men

I am proud that at 17 Josh is thinking about the issues, and writing about them – in his blog he says

“It is unacceptable that people are being treated like this and we need to protest and work towards change. Violence against anyone is a crime”. Follow Josh on Twitter @keggaz

I conclude that key to stopping violence against women is to raise good men – it’s a task us women should take upon ourselves.


Recognizing Good Men

Finally I also made a commitment to recognize good men so today I’ll be sending shout outs on Twitter  to the following amazing men to recognize for their views and influence. You are all men who others should look up to.



@kahenya (I know you pretend to be a macho heartless womanizer – but deep down ur a total softie)


















My list is incomplete without my own best friend @petergreste who at times seems too perfect that he may in fact be an alien.  He detests the thought that I might think him sickly sweet but I can assure you that he’s not, I don’t have a sweet tooth. His work in war torn Eastern Congo filming victims of sexual violence for BBC revealed  a rare courage – to witness, to feel and empathize, and to still be professional about bringing this important story to the world. If  men understood the impact of lasting damage of violence against women – on themselves, on brain wastage, on the economy and on their own happiness, we would be closer to ending violence against women.

To get a white ribbon on your Twitter avatar just go here

Do you have a White Ribbon story about Gender Violence to tell? Send it to me and I’ll post it right here.

November 25, 2009 Posted by | gender violence, Relationships, spouse abuse, Women | , , , , , | 2 Comments