My interest in policy issues led me to attend the last All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting on Agro-ecology before the summer parliamentary recess. These meetings are a way for the general public, NGOs and other members of civil society to interact with the legislature and ultimately help to shape policy.
On July 1st the Kenya government enacted the Biosafety Act of 2009 that allows Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)cultivation and consumption; as a result I started inquiring into the risks and advantages of GMOs. As I went through press releases and the personal accounts of people on the ground, I discovered that GMOs bring about a much larger challenge to Kenya: corporate “land grabbing” and the dependence of local populations to international corporations.
When GBM Project Officer Dionisio Ndegwa celebrated his birthday on July 16th, he didn't just receive presents or partake in normal birthday festivities. He helped a tree come to life.
For the past five years, Dionisio has planted a tree each year to commemorate his birthday. This past weekend Dionisio celebrated his with friends and colleagues at the GBM Lang'ata training center by planting a tree during a workshop on advocacy and communications.
July 11 - 15, 2011: This week, the Green Belt Movement has been participating at the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) International User Conference at San Diego, California in USA. It has been a great pleasure and honor to join an amazing group of people and organizations from more than 100 countries to share and exchanged ideas on how we are using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to better understand our world and solve environmental problems.
It may surprise some of our supporters that Kenyan armed forces have been working with the Green Belt Movement (GBM) since 2006 to fight environmental degradation, which is happening on a staggering scale. Many people associate the army with military action however the Kenya army has been planting trees with GBM since 2006.This innovative collaboration has now been formally congratulated with the presentation of the ‘Wangari Maathai Environmental Award’.
Supporters of the Green Belt Movement remind us every day of Professor Maathai’s hummingbird story. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a story about a little hummingbird in the middle of a raging forest fire - doing the best it can. The story teaches that even when problems seem overwhelming, we can all make an impact – no matter how large or small.
Next year it will be twenty years since the first ever Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro by the United Nations.
May 20, 2011:The Green Belt Movement, in collaboration with the Kenya Climate Change Working Group, organized and hosted a national stakeholders briefing and consultative meeting on Climate Change at the Silver Spring hotel in Nairobi on May 20th 2011. The meeting was attended by more than 35 participants, including the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai, 4 Members of Parliament in Kenya and the Assistant Clerk of the Kenya National Assembly. More than 20 civil society organizations in Kenya were represented in this important seminar.
Last week I made my way to the UK houses of Parliament, and not just to look at its grand exterior but to expand my knowledge of biofuels. Yes, biofuels. As somewhat of a newcomer to the subject, my previous knowledge was limited to the fact that biofuel is made out of plants, and sometimes out of recycled cooking oil. I also knew that GBM was not in favour of it but not the reasons why. I was interested to learn more about the topic from the panel discussion which Friends of the Earth, RSPB, and Action Aid had arranged. They had invited a range of different academics and expert speakers to discuss the impacts of biofuels on the environment and people around the world. In particular the discussion was focused on the EU’s new target, the so-called Renewable Energy Directive (RED- another RED different from the REDD GBM often reports on), which states that 10% of all land transport fuels should come from a renewable source. I was eager to find out, have we finally made one massive step into a more sustainable future?
It’s not every day that we get to dedicate the day to the Earth BUT it should be! Let’s make this Earth Day last. Pledge something green from walking or cycling to work to buying locally grown food to turning off your lights to PLANTING A TREE. Bottom line: let’s not only make changes this Earth Day but this WHOLE year.