Most often, benefits from development projects are quick, very visible and short-term, while those of environmental conservation are not. Thus for any environmental movement, it is important that people are not only informed about the importance and benefits of environmental conservation but also understand the linkages that nature and its conservation have with the various other dimensions of their lives; social, cultural, economic etc. One of the major considerations while planning a development project or while resolving conflicts such as this one, is to look at advantages and gains that would come to the masses as against benefits for a selected group of people or agencies. Analyzing each option scientifically is necessary not only to understand impacts of a project on the environment, but also one which helps in building a strong and accurate background for the cause.
Environmental educators have to be able to empower people to undertake environmental action. The bridging of this gap between environmental education and environmental action is the absolute solution to conservation. The next case presented here is a story of one Elijah, a resident of Mathira East in Nyeri County who’s determination to reduce wood fuel consumption, has changed his life and improved his relationship with his employer as well as conserving environment like many other members of his village. This demonstrates that each one of us can make a difference, and collectively, we can make a huge difference!
Co2balance Mathira East project area is characterized by Climatic conditions coupled with equatorial rainfall. The main physical features of this district are Mount Kenya (5,199m) to the east and the Aberdare ranges (3,999m) to the west. The land tenure systems have a tremendous influence on the economic activities in the district particularly agricultural development, which is the backbone of its economy. Much of the agricultural products are from small holders‘farms, which produce both food and cash crops especially in the higher potential areas of Mathira. The area is served by rivers running from Mt. Kenya to lower slopes of the mountain.
During educational visits in the area, Carbon Zero Kenya Limited team met Mr. Elijah Mwangi a beneficially of CZK stove, he is a farmer and works as a casual laborer in one of the nearby farms, a job he has done for a couple of years now. Due to the scarcity of employment opportunities in the area, it is a job he has endeared to sustain him and take care of his ailing father.
He shares with us how his life has been transformed since receiving the energy efficient stove from Carbon Zero Kenya Limited. Looking at his daily schedule it is immediately evident that Mr. Elijah is a very busy employee and time management is one of his strongest points in his trade. His employer expresses his satisfaction about Mr. Elijah’s productivity.
“He is a hard working employee I will never want to lose. Most of the work is done to late hours of the afternoon for maximum productivity” says his employer.
Mr. Elijah tells us the secret behind satisfying his employer. In his own words explains, ‘’before receiving the CZK stove, I used a traditional hearth. The stove consumed a lot of wood fuel prompting me to frequently ask my employer for permission to leave work early so as to have enough time for preparing firewood. This affected my productivity and threatened my only source of livelihood’’.
He continues to explain, “I stay with my father who has a long term illness and I am the only person who takes care of him including cooking for him. It is difficult to obtain firewood especially during rainy season. Wood fuel is expensive and I cannot afford to purchase it daily, but now I am grateful to have the CZK stove which consumes very little firewood hence enabling me to save time and part of my earnings.’’
Evidently, after receiving the energy efficient stove, Elijah’s life has been transformed. He doesn’t worry about getting home late. He obtains his fuel by pruning trees in his compound and supplementing it by purchasing. Earlier he would cut down trees as the wood shortage bites. Currently he is proud to see a new generation of trees around his compound. All he has to do is prune them regularly without having to cut down the whole tree! Elijah full of smiles indicates that now with the energy efficient stove from Carbon Zero he has enough time to concentrate on his work on the farm.
Below are photos of Elijah on the farm!
Compiled by; Purity Maina, Virginia Njeri and Moses Maina