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4 Inspiring Climate Action Projects to Brighten up Your Day

Madre de Dios river. Photo: Shutterstock
Madre de Dios river. Photo: Shutterstock

While the search is on for this year’s UN ‘Lighthouse Activities’ – the world’s best and brightest climate projects – we take a look back at some of the game-changing projects that made it on to the 2015 list.

Each year Momentum for Change, an initiative led by the UN’s climate change office, showcases some of the best and brightest climate action projects from around the world.

The projects – the UN calls them Lighthouse Activities – are beacons highlighting the amazing work that’s taking place across the globe to help build a low carbon, climate resilient society.

Here are four projects from the developing world that won in 2015.

1. Deforestation-Free Chocolate From Peru

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Photo: UNFCCC

This gives a whole new meaning to guilt-free chocolate!

The Deforestation-free Cocoa project empowers farmers in Peru to produce sustainable cocoa while protecting the biologically diverse Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaha-Sonene National Park.

It works as a ‘payment for performance’ model where farmers are giving funding on the condition that:

  • they will not deforest any more
  • they will restore 4,000 hectares of land
  • a share of revenues from cocoa sales will go to the investors

The project also works with farmers to help them gain Fairtrade and Organic certifications which ensures fair labour and organic practices.

2. Empowering Ugandan Farmers to Adapt to Climate Change

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Photo: UNFCCC

In Uganda, agriculture employs 80 per cent of the labour force and is primarily rain-fed, making it vulnerable to drought.

The effects of higher temperatures and severe climatic changes can have severe consequences for farmers yet they receive little or no relevant information to help them cope with drought and other climatic stresses.

This project uses ICT tools to collect, analyse and send out weather data, crop and livestock market information and advice on agriculture to farmers in Uganda, who are among the most affected by the challenges of climate change.

The project has been designed in such a way that it is generic and customisable enough to be easily replicated in other countries.

3. Building Smart Solar Homes in Rwanda and Tanzania

Photo: UNFCCC
Photo: UNFCCC

Small diesel generators are the primary supplier of electricity in rural areas of Rwanda and Tanzania. Over 70 per cent of people living off-grid have to travel 2 kilometres or more just to charge their phones and spend between 10 and 25 per cent of their household income on kerosene for lamps.

This rent-to-own service allows customers to install solar systems in their home without the barrier of huge upfront costs. The customers can pay the system off in 36 monthly instalments.

The system can typically run 4-5 LED lights, a TV, a radio, and a mobile phone charging device for up to 10 phones.

Other options include irons, fridges, fans and there’s even an option for small business solutions like a village cinema or hairdressers.

4. Recycling Electronic Waste Found in Indian Landfills

e-waste
Photo: UNFCCC

India is one of the world’s largest producers of e-waste, throwing out almost 1.7 million tonnes of e-waste in 2014 alone. Almost 95 per cent of this waste is either burned or ends up in landfills.

With rapid development these numbers are set to multiply – as will the number of people handling it who no get no formal recognition, equal rights, secure and safe livelihoods and dignity.

This green waste project trains waste pickers in India to collect electronic waste such as computers and phones for safe recycling or disposal. Recycling these electronic products from landfills reduces methane emissions and also empowers the waste pickers to be more resilient to poverty by providing them with jobs and protecting them from harmful toxins and heavy metals.

More Projects

You can see the full list of Momentum for Change’s game-changing climate action projects on the UN website.

Are you part of a project that’s taking on climate change? Then you can apply to be a Lighthouse Activity for 2016!

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