Uganda's Little Hands Go Green, NEMA Tie Up World Environment Day Partnership

As the world prepares to celebrate the World Environment Day, Uganda's Little Hands Go Green and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) are teaming up to drive awareness, excitement and  sensitize Ugandans about conservation of the environment.

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year on 5 June to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. Uganda will however celebrate it a day later, on Monday 6th June, in Gulu district under the theme "Conserve Wildlife, Sustain Livelihoods."

World Environment Day activations will kick off on 3rd June with a appearances at Wobulenzi, Luwero, Bombo, Nakasongola, Mijera, Kafu, Kiryandongo, Bweyale and Kamdini Corner before visiting Hospitals, Markets, District Headquarters, NGO offices and people's homes on 4th June.

On 5th June activations will be taken to Watoto Church in Gulu ahead of visits to Kolo Abili Primary School, Gulu Baptist Primary School and Coch Ongaka Primary Schoo on 6th June, the day of the main celebrations.

As part of this partnership both organizations and other stakeholders will activate the entire northern corridor with activities ranging from tree planting to anti kavera sensitization and pass on environmental conservation messages. Joseph Masembe the CEO of Uganda's Little Hands Go Green said these activities will carried in all major town enroute to Gulu.

 

Uganda's Little Hands Go Green and National Environment Management Authority have in the recent past had similar partnership that have registered tremendous success. The two organizations recently organized the International Children's Climate Conference, green festivals and visits to schools where pupils have been taught how to care for the environment.

Ill will On Fossil Fuels Break Loose

Things begin falling apart as NASA announces 2016 is hottest year in recorded history. So the threat of climate change proves soaring enough to move countries to break the ice. Here begins a story of men and women standing erect through manmade pains facing the changing planet. Thousands of whom have emptied sorrows to the streets or coal quarries or oil terminals in May 2016 sampling a united will to get rid of dirty energy once and for all.

History may just be rewritten. But the half thrilling and half intimidating side of the truth will forever echo the curse of dirty energy lobby as among the most impossible dystopian illusion of this generation. When the globe finally cools, the battle is successful. When extinction approaches, will the oil industry have planet ‘B’?

Whether or not climate activism is the cup of tea here, the dark past of climate denial, by all standards have bred about 0.04% (400 parts per million) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, many times higher than 400,000 years ago.

Fossil fuel companies bigger than monsters have bankrolled anti-climate change philosophies; climate activists – as meek as lambs of God are being arrested…the list is endless, but the most recent illogical treatment is the arrests of nearly 60 advocates protesting Keystone pipeline in the US. So confirms the saying: “change is painful but inevitable.”

Equally, it might hurt world governments to give up oil wells for the public wellbeing. But the pains and wretchedness resulting from extreme weather conditions such as ill-health, including those caused by droughts, floods, food insecurity and inundation from rising seas is even much long bottled in communities around the world.

Even oil industry knew of 'serious' climate concerns more than 45 years ago. In fact, researchers warned American Petroleum Institute in 1968 how the release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels could eventually lead to ‘worldwide environmental changes.’

Despite this good faith, they chose to pay a deaf ear, that’s why things had to fall apart. Some did the opposite – trying to challenge climate change science – with illicit documentations. Further evidence unveils that American Petroleum Institute, the peak body for the oil industry in the US, knew about the dangers of climate change at least 20 years before the issue was brought into mainstream public discourse via the former Nasa scientist James Hansen.

The then influential world leaders like the US president Lyndon Johnson also received an early cautioning about climate change, with scientists explaining the mechanism of the greenhouse effect as early as 1965.

For how long could any such delicate matter be hidden? Not too long! With the final blow being the latest Nasa’s thermometers reading global average temperatures as ‘soaring at 1.28C’ as of March above the average from 1951-1980, while February was 1.34C higher, dangerous tipping points, an irreversible benchmark could be crossed.

Climate change is usually crosschecked over years and decades, but even scientists have been struck by the recent unprecedented temperatures. Furthermore, annual heat records have been also breaking records, with 2015 demolishing the record set in 2014 for the hottest year seen, in data stretching back to 1850.

Prof Michael Mann, a climate scientist who spends most of his time between shelves and laboratories of Penn State University also became agile-tonged about March data by saying: “Wow. I continue to be shocked by what we are seeing.” He said the world had now been hovering close to the threshold of “dangerous” warming for two months, something not seen before.”

“The [new data] is a reminder of how perilously close we now are to permanently crossing into dangerous territory,” Mann said. “It underscores the urgency of reducing global carbon emissions.”

As such terrifying facts unfold; the fossil fuel business seems dragging towards hell, with sharp losses resulting from steep price drops. Alternatively, exemplary investors like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is divesting its heavily invested holding in BP.

The weights “breaking” dangerous fossil fuels is the most courageous wave of actions challenging business as usual across the world. Motivated by an ever strengthening, ever stretching effort to achieve 100% renewable energy, breakfree campaign resounds the knell that spelled fossil fuels at the close of COP21.

In the UK, the campaign had the country’s largest open-cast coal mine shut over 12 hours. While in the Philippines, over 10,000 people marched in Batangas city demanding the cancellation of the proposed 600 – megawatt coal powered plant in Barangay Pinamucan.

All signals indicate greener earth and a brighter future will lean on the raptures of renewable energy miracles that must shatter the bondage of carbon dioxide emissions nuclear energy price competitions built from the cradles civilization to the present moment.

To harness the moment, activists and concerned citizens committed to addressing climate change—from international groups to local communities to individual citizens— are united to maintain grips to force energy providers, as well as local and national governments, to steer towards a renewable future through investing in wind and solar energy.

This enviable cause justifies the discharge of thousands of men and women showing the world a glimpse into wrecking resistance through solidarity hard for politicians foster. Each action was unique: from the coal fields of UK, to the oil wells of Nigeria, to defiant actions against new coal power plant in Indonesia and the Philippines -- and many places beyond but all echoes one sound: stop polluting our ecosystem! End fossil fuels. And now.

In order to address the present-day climate crisis, fossil fuel projects need to be shelved and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced now that renewable energy is more affordable and widespread than ever before. The only way to achieve this is by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerating the just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

 

By Boaz Opio

Environmental Writer, Kampala Uganda.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ +256784947523

PHOTOS: Kids Tackle Climate Change Challenge With Verve

Developing countries like Uganda are at a higher risk of being devastated by the negative impact of climate change. As a preventive measure environmental activists are undertaking initiatives to stop agents of climate change.

One of the agents of climate change is deforestation which is an act of cutting down trees. In a situation where trees have been cut, efforts to re-plant new and more tree is taking shape. Afforestation is being used to curb the devastation caused by the vegetation that was cut down by man.

In Uganda, Little Hands Go Green, an organization championing good environmental practices, is using children friendly initiatives to protect the environment. Over the weekend, the organization hosted over 500 children at a one day International Children’s Climate Change Conference 2016. The conference which was also celebrating International Earth Day took place at Rainbow International School.

The conference also celebrated World Earth Day

Children from different schools debated environment and water topics, presented poems, participated in tree planting exercises, made paintings in support of nature, danced and presented their ideas about mitigating climate change. Senior environmentalists were also at hand to answer questions from the pupils.

Pupils were taught how to plant and care for the trees

The annual conference, the third one in a row, was organized under the theme ‘When Water Slows, Trees Die’. It was supported by Midland Group of companies, National Forestry Authority (NFA), NBS Television, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Vivo Energy.

Uganda's Little Hands Go Green team at the conference

Joseph Masembe CEO of Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green said the only way the environment can be saved is through using the young generation because “they are our future and we must create love for nature in them in order for them to encourage and inspire others.”

Kotecha handed over a dummy cheque of Shs10m to buy tree seedlings that will distributed across the country.

Drashna Kotecha, Director of Rainbow said “we must make sure that environment is protected and preserved to have proper living. A conference like this grooms young generation on the importance of nature and that’s why we as Midland Group of Companies joined Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green and we shall support them as long as we can.”

 

 

 

Charcoal Burning Uganda’s Future

 

Tree fellers should use the timber for making their own coffins. Because, as they kill that 100 year old Mvule, the poor tree is busy supplying them with good air to live. Hacking down a living tree to produce charcoal, one is initiating endless cycles of murder no one can ever tell. First, life of a tragic carbon at a thousandth year of captivity in the trunk is being restored! The logger is innocently condemning the lives of uncountable species of living things.

Deforestation, and especially the destruction of rainforests, is a hugely significant contributor to climate change in Uganda. Scientists estimate that forest loss and other changes to the use of land account for around 23% of current man-made carbon dioxide emissions – which equates to roughly 17% of the 100-year warming impact of all current greenhouse-gas emissions.

The impact of the charcoal industry in Uganda’s once believed to be the most stunning of all Africa’s vegetation is despairing.

Surely, if one day, the spirit of one Sir Winston Churchill, who constantly referred to Uganda as the Pearl of Africa could tour back, we can’t know what the late would make of how rapidly the country has lost it’s beautiful ecosystem to, primarily energy.

Ninety-six percent of Ugandan households depend on wood fuel for cooking. According to a study conducted by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the rate of charcoal production and usage in Uganda between 1998 and 2008 increased by 76% mainly due to increased urbanization.

The study further noted that production of charcoal in Uganda was mainly based on cutting naturally growing trees using simple methods. The current rate of deforestation stands at 1.8%. This means the scarcity of firewood can only get worse unless ambitious interventions are put in place to reverse this trend.

Wood fuel is deeply rooted in both Uganda’s household and industrial energy mix that several attempts to cut the production of the fossil fuel often meets resistance.  In Gulu district, charcoal burners in January only played hide-and-seek with the local authorities trying to impose a mere month ban. 

More burning can’t help heal the already raped lands. But just how will the 85% of the population survive without a reliable alternative energy source? Will the small solar panels visible on few roof tops of villagers produce enough energy for cooking food?

According to some reports, Uganda loses close to 73,000 hectares of forest cover annually, which has critically catalyzed the impacts of global warming in the land-locked country: fields that no longer grow… erratic and harsh weather conditions such as hot days, all have their seeds in a falling tree.

Every year our atmosphere loses around 10 billion cubic metres of oxygen, replacing it with carbon dioxide that would absorbed by flora. Knowing this should help us appreciate the vital contributions made by trees.

During the course of its life, a single average 100 year old tree will have fixed the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) contained in 18 million cubic metres of air in the form of about 2,500 kilograms of pure carbon. Experts have calculated that a hectare of well-working forestry annually absorbs about 6.5 tons of carbon dioxide while releasing 3.5 to 5 tons of oxygen.

For all of human history until around the dawn of the age of fossil fuels, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere was stable at ~275 parts per million (ppm). As climate pundit Bill McKibben explains, “Parts per million is simply a way of measuring the concentration of different gases, and means the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the molecules in the atmosphere.”7 275 ppm CO2 is a useful, balanced amount which allows enough greenhouse-gasses to create a warm, livable climate but not so much as to make a dangerously hot one.

With limited renewable energy of poor nations, the demand for the fossil fuel have swelled and our carbon-emissions have soared exponentially. As a result, there is now a dangerously high amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

An average 100 year old tree is said to have availed 6,600 kilograms of oxygen for living creatures. A single tree such as a mature Mvule can produce enough oxygen for 10 people for a year. Cut down a Mvule and you condemn 10 people. Cut down a hundred and you condemn a village. Cut down a forest and you are committing genocide; aside from destroying wild-life habitats.

Cut down forests for fossil fuels and you are doing no service to humankind. You are a blight, not a blessing, on civilization; and the face of this Earth – you are burning the future!

 

BY: Boaz Opio

Environmentalist (Kampala Uganda)

 

Rainbow International School Swimathon Fundraises For Children's Climate Conference

 

Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green, a local organization that fights against Climate Change using children led initiatives, has sealed a working partnership with Rainbow International School in support of the upcoming International Children Climate Change Conference.

The conference which is in its third year will take place on Earth Day, 22 April, at Rainbow International School. To kick off their partnership, Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green and Rainbow organized the first ever charity swimming competition dubbed ‘Swimathon’ to raise money to buy fruit tree seedlings.

The two entities used the event that took place on Saturday to hold a press conference to launch the International Children Climate Change Conference. Rainbow International School also used the press conference to announce that they have joined the Go Green campaign. They also declared their unspecified sponsorship of the children’s climate change conference.

“We at Rainbow are all proud to say that today is the day when we officially go green.” A statement released by the school owned by Midland Group of companies read in part. “As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Midland Group and Rainbow have come out to strongly support environmental conservation efforts through tree planting.

We are thankful to all our students, parents and teachers that took part in the ‘Swimathon’ to raise funds that were handed over to Little Hands Go Green (Uganda) for the purchase of tree seedlings to plant all over Uganda. Let’s go Rainbow, let’s go Little Hands Go Green (Uganda), let’s go Uganda – make our country green!”  Drashna Kotecha the Director of Rainbow International School and Midland Group told journalists at the swimathon.

Joseph Masembe, the chief executive officer of Little Hands Go Green urged Ugandans to seek and create a patriotic culture of saving “our mother nature, our environment and ultimately our future” by creating a mass hysteria about tree planting by children both at school and at home.

“There is no one who is going to do it for us but ourselves. We have to tell our children it is their responsibility to protect the environment. Today we have involved them to get tree seedlings through this fun filled event of swimming. At the conference we will tell them why they should care about the environment and how they should do it.” Masembe explained.

Children To Celebrate Earth Day With Climate Conference

 

Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green will celebrate this year’s earth day, a day on which the world demonstrates its support for environmental protection, with an International Children's Climate Conference which will be held at Rainbow International School in Kampala on 22 April, 2016.

Preparation for the conference which will attract hundreds of children from different parts of Uganda are in advanced stages according to Joseph Masembe, the Chief Executive Officer Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green. The conference will discuss challenges affecting environment and solutions. There will also be an exhibition.

“We are ready to host our children at Rainbow International School. We are big and better this year. We expect presentations from high profile environmentalists and children from in and out of Uganda.  The International Children's Climate Conference has demonstrated that working with children to preserve the environment works,” Masembe explained in an interview.

This is the third International Children's Climate Conference. Last year’s conference was held at Sheraton Hotel Kampala. It attracted high profile personalities like Irish Ambassador to Uganda Dónal Cronin, Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Minister Rosemary Nankabirwa among other dignitaries.

The International Climate Change Conference for Children is being organized by Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green and My Kid is a Superstar in partnership with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), NBS Television, Midland Group, Rainbow International School and Lato Milk.

Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green has in the past years involved children in promoting conservation of climate through planting of fruit trees. Masembe says planting fruit trees hits two birds with one stone; promoting health through eating the nutritious fruits and conservation of the environment.

Issues of global warming and climate change are becoming more critical calling for dynamic approaches and colossal attention. Planting trees is one way that has been recommended. Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green discourages human habits that contribute to damaging the now fragile climate.

Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green discourages the habits like cutting down trees and littering the environment. “We are telling these youngsters to be responsible. We also involve them in finding solutions to issues that are causing climate change. The conference is interactive.” Masembe explains.

Urbanization Must Be Ecologically Sustainable – Experts

 

One of the characteristics of sustainable urban centers is that such settlements and development must be ecologically viable, Associate Professor Sabiiti Makara of Makerere University told a public dialogue at Victoria University in Kampala, Uganda on Thursday 7 April.

This means that urban planners and leaders must address ecosystem challenges when planning to develop urban centers like cities, municipals and towns. Sabiiti, a political science lecturer at Uganda’s biggest and leading university said that cities must be clean with no littering, green with open spaces and environmentally conscience.

Sabiiti was speaking at a Public Dialogue on Promoting Good Urban Governance organized by Victoria University in partnership with the Centre for Urban Studies and Research under the theme ‘Promoting Good Urban Governance in Uganda: Challenges and Opportunities’.

A panel of experts discussed challenges and solutions to ensure good governance in urban centers.  Sabiiti revealed that at 5.1 percent annually, Uganda is one of the countries experiencing the world’s fastest urbanization trends.

The professor added in order for good governance to prevail, urban centers like cities must be economically productive, socially just, politically vibrant, culturally diverse and have own development capacity. He warned by that lack of political order causes problems and stalls urban development.

In Uganda urban centers due to poor planning and lack of good governance surfers every time it rains because of poorly built drainage systems. Due to pollution of the environment by unregulated industrialization, many people are getting deadly diseases.

Often times environmental issues are raised when for example city projects including infrastructure developments are being undertaken. The drive to save swamps and wetlands in Kampala has been ongoing but with less success as rich people and government erect structures in swamps. This destroys the ecosystem.

Leaders blamed

In a similar manner, Dr Kiggundu Amin Tamale working with Center for Urban Studies and Research advised that urban center managers should perform because they are hired and paid to think for what is good for towns. “As city managers, you need to think for your people but they are failing.” Tamale noted.

David Kasimbazi, the programs coordinator at Center for Urban Studies and Research said there is a disconnection between policies and what is on ground. Kasimbazi’s opinion is also reflected by calls to bring law and policy reforms to improve service delivery in urban centers across the country.

Fr. Pascal Kabura from the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) explained that disagreements between political leaders and technical people hamper implementation of development projects.

“Take an example of Kampala Capital City, the fighting between Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and the Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi has cost us good service delivery for over four years. It is time we separate politics from City planning; development of towns and cities has been frustrated by politicians who claim to know it all,” Fr Kabura said.

Hima Cement Gets Environmental ISO Certification

 

Cement makers Hima Cement, is a subsidiary of Bamburi Cement Ltd. which is a member of the LafargeHolcim group, has received ISO certification for Environment Management System.

The Environment Management System ISO: 14001 is awarded to companies working towards prevention of pollution, eliminating, reducing and disposing of waste in a responsible manner and having integrated environmental monitoring procedures. 

“We remain committed to the integration of environmental and sustainability issues into our business activities,” says Jimmy Onen, Hima Cement’s Health and Safety and Environment Engineer. The cement manufacturer has been pursuing various projects to ensure the minimum possible harm to the environment as outlined in its environmental sustainability ambitions. 

For instance, the company has significantly reduced the use of Fossil fuel and now mostly uses natural clean fuels in its production operations thus reducing carbon emissions. Hima uses biomass fuels generated from coffee husks, rice husks, palm kernels, G-nuts husks and baggase which also supports Ugandan farmers. 

In 2013, Hima Cement completed installation of a new bag filter technology at its Kasese plant to stop dust Emissions. The company also continues with rehabilitation of all used up quarries to their former productive state.

Emirates Environmental Report Points To Reduced Aircraft Noise Emissions

 

The Emirates Group, comprising Emirates airline and dnata, has released its fifth annual environmental report for 2014-15 audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report presents environmental performance data across a range of activities including airline operations, dnata’s cargo and ground handling businesses and a wide range of commercial activities on the ground – from engineering to catering.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said Emirates and dnata continue to invest in business growth in tandem with customer demand and global opportunities. 

“As the scale of our operations expands, we are ever more conscious of our responsibility towards the environment and communities we serve.  We are aware that our efforts to reduce resource use will not only reduce our environmental impact, but will also help build our business resilience.

“When it comes to our environmental stewardship, the Emirates Group has core areas of focus where we believe we can make the biggest impact, but we also know that every little effort counts especially when amplified at global scale. Our annual environmental report is a report card, and also a commitment to continuously improve our environmental performance.”

Airline operations constitute the main environmental impact of the Emirates Group. In 2014-15, Emirates continued to add new aircraft to its fleet, retire older aircraft, and prioritise fuel-saving operational techniques.

Emirates’ flight operations specialists worked with agencies in countries as far afield as the USA, Austria, France, Malta, the Seychelles, Ethiopia, Kenya and Pakistan – as well as Dubai’s neighbouring emirate of Sharjah – to introduce or validate new performance-based navigation procedures, to help reduce fuel consumption and enhance operational safety.

Emirates added 24 new aircraft and retired 10 older aircraft in 2014-15, maintaining an average fleet age of 75 months, or about half the industry average of 140 months.

Key highlights this year include a continued reduction in aircraft noise emissions, a modest improvement in overall fleet fuel efficiency despite external operational challenges, and improvements in ground vehicle fuel efficiency.

All of Emirates’ aircraft* meet or exceed Chapter 4 limits - the most stringent ICAO noise Standards, and new A380 and Boeing 777 deliveries during the year helped to further improve the fleet’s margin below the Chapter 4 limits.

Emirates’ overall fuel efficiency in 2014-15 improved 1% to 0.3057 litres per tonnekilometre, 14% more efficient than the IATA fleet average fuel efficiency (IATA WATS 59th Edition). 

This was despite the impact of airspace closures caused by security concerns in many parts of the world, which led Emirates to fly longer routings to avoid these areas. The 80-day runway closure at Emirates’ hub in Dubai International Airport also meant that flights had to carry more contingency fuel than usual, thereby impacting fuel efficiency.

On the ground, dnata in Dubai took delivery of 30 new electric tractors to replace diesel-powered vehicles for use at Dubai International Airport. The tractors, manufactured by TUG Technologies Corporation and Charlatte America, produce no air-polluting emissions.

A change in the UAE government’s regulations also helped to bring down the amount of pollutants produced by ground vehicles. The Group’s ground transport fleet in the UAE began using low-sulphur diesel following the government’s announcement of mandatory new fuel specifications in 2014.

The fuel contains 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur, a considerable reduction from the previous specification of 500 ppm, and will greatly reduce levels of particulate emissions.

Central Bank Commends Buganda Land Reforms

 

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) has said Buganda Land Board has done right in setting up a land registry system that helps land owners acquire certificates of registration as official documentation and proof of ownership of their bibanja (land).

“I would like to commend the Buganda Land Board for initiating the process of establishing a land registration system, which will not only provide tenure security to the bibanja owners and enable them to pledge their land rights as security for a loan, but will also ease searches of land titles,” said Governor Emmanuel Tumusime-Mutebile.

The Governor’s message to officials of Buganda kingdom was delivered by Dr. Charles Abuka, the Director Financial Stability BoU, at a prayer breakfast where the Buganda Land Board was reviewing their Lease Access Financing Initiative.

The Governor also commended Buganda Land Board for the initiative which it took to assess the land holders’ financing needs in the acquisition of land titles and taking the necessary steps to address these needs by linking up with Centenary Bank and other stakeholders.

 The combined efforts of the Buganda Land Board, the land holders and Centenary Bank led to the formation of the Lease Access Financing Initiative in 2010 which now is under review.

“The outcomes of this tripartite arrangement can have positive and far-reaching effects on the security of land tenure; access to, and use of, financial services; private sector investment; and socio-economic growth and development, if it is managed well. The onus is on each of the stakeholders involved to make the Lease Access Financing Initiative a success.

Despite the progress achieved, the initiative faces some challenges like forged collateral which has hindered land holders’ access to financial services and their acquisition of land titles. In the process financial institutions have incurred losses when loans secured against poor quality collateral have not been repaid on time.

The process of establishing a land registration system will not only provide tenure security to the bibanja owners and enable them to pledge their land rights as security for a loan, but will also ease searches of land titles, Mutebile noted.

“In order to make the certificate of registration and the land title credible and to provide reliable documents that financial institutions can accept as collateral for loans, all necessary steps must be taken to minimize disputes, litigation, forgeries and other land grievances.

He advocated that public education about land registration should be undertaken to facilitate and support understanding of the system by using qualified and skilled survey and registry staff.

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