In July I attended a public debate in London on the potential for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) to make international forestry more just. The debate brought together a wide variety of stakeholders in REDD in order to assess its possibilities and its frailties. The panel leading the discussion included John Vidal from the Guardian and representatives from DFID, ODI, and FERN among others. What became increasingly clear during the debate is that although the international community appeared to be pushing on with REDD, it remains a highly contested and confused idea.
On a dusty, dry patch of land in south-east Kenya a lone Maasai man admires thriving fruit and vegetables on a plot of land. Mangoes, papayas and spinach flourish under the searing heat of the African sun. It is a rare sight here in Ng'atataek on the Tanzanian border, an arid region where rainfall is scarce and the little water available is usually reserved for the livestock.
The European Union (EU) has formally recognised that illegal logging is a pervasive threat to biodiversity and is taking legal action to prevent it!
The Green Belt Movement (GBM) is celebrating a milestone legal case for environmental protection in Kenya.
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.