On Friday, April 25th, join Francis ole Sakuda and Daniel Salau of the Simba Maasai Outreach Organization (SIMOO) in Kenya as they discuss the realities of climate change for indigenous communities in Kenya and elsewhere. They’ll also share details of how they’re using solar power to bring fossil-fuel free energy, and new opportunities, to rural communities off the grid. Co-sponsored as part of Earth Day 2008 by Brighter Green, the Sierra Club NYC Group and Tribal Link Foundation.
When: Friday, April 25,, 2008, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Judson Hall Church, Washington Square Soutt (at West 4th Street – Entrance on Thompson St.)
Like many rural areas of the global South (or “developing world”), the effects of climate change are being felt in Maasai communities in Kenya. Droughts that used to be rare are becoming increasingly common. Rainfall patterns, once predictable, are now erratic. The changing climate is putting at risk the long-term viability of the herding livelihoods of the Maasai and other pastoralist societies.
According to the September 2006 Scientific American, Kenya is the global leader in the number of solar power systems installed per capita. SIMOO is also exploring the use of wind power. Green energy means lower greenhouse gas emissions and more trees left standing to combat desertification, reduce soil erosion, and offset CO2 in the atmosphere.
Solar and wind energy could provide heat for cooking and refrigeration to store vegetables and fruits. In health centers, it would enable storage of essential medicines and vaccines. Cell phones and laptops could be powered to facilitate the marketing of crafts and other locally produced goods as well as cross-cultural exchanges via the Web. New livelihood opportunities could be created for women, whose income, studies show, translates into direct benefits for children’s education and health, and household food security. This could lead to a new model of rural development, where young people do not feel forced by lack of opportunity to leave their homes for urban slums.
Global warming will not affect all of the planet’s people equally: it is those in southern countries with the fewest natural and financial resources who will find it hardest to adapt to climate shocks. It is also these people and nations that have contributed the least to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In 2004, Kenya’s per capita emissions of CO2 totaled .31 metric tons compared to 20.4 metric tons in the U.S.
Francis ole Sakuda is the director and one of the founders of the Simba Maasai Outreach Organization (SIMOO) in Kenya. Daniel Salau Rogei is the program/financial officer for SIMOO. Both are local and international leaders in the areas of indigenous rights, livelihoods, community development, and environmental and cultural conservation. They are in NYC as part of a global delegation to the United Nations’ Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.