This blog is part of a series where Donna Shalala, President of the Clinton Foundation, shares updates on Clinton Foundation programs. View the previous entries here.
With Earth Day approaching, I’m dedicating this edition of my blog to sharing environmental solutions that our initiatives are helping to advance. Explore this photo essay to see how we’re helping communities and people across the world build stronger, more resilient futures. Plus, read to the end and find out how you can take simple, everyday actions that have a big impact on our environment.
Improving Livelihoods Through Tree Planting
Environmental changes threaten the livelihoods of farmers, many of whom rely on subsistence agriculture to grow enough food to feed themselves and their families. Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project mitigates the harmful effects of climate change while making tree planting profitable for farmers through the sale of carbon credits. To date, Trees of Hope has helped more than 2,300 smallholder farmers plant more than 2.6 million trees, sequestering over 200,000 tons of CO2. In March, 875 farmers received more than $100,000 in payment from the sale of carbon certificates, enabling them to earn an income from planting trees. Of the 875 farmers, 376 were paid for the first time and formally opened bank accounts with First Malawi Bank.
Restoring Forests in Kenya and Ethiopia
Deforestation and forest degradation contribute approximately 15 percent of human-caused carbon emissions. The Clinton Climate Initiative's (CCI) Forestry Program works with local communities in Kenya and Ethiopia to restore degraded land, which increases food security, improves livelihoods, and reduces carbon emissions. To date, CCI and its partners have helped plant more than 600,000 trees in these countries. CCI has also supported the respective governments to identify and map priority landscape restoration options that will inform the implementation of the various restoration efforts.
Using Data to Combat Climate Change
The linkage between climate change and development is well understood. However, there are few systems for coordinating the information required to link these together to support informed decision making. To help address this challenge, CCI created a wall-to-wall system – the System for Land-based Emissions Estimation in Kenya (SLEEK) – to make information about climate, soil, crops, forests, and weather patterns easily accessible. Over 1.8 million climate records have been digitized to date, increasing Kenya’s capacity to make informed decisions on climate change and land use.
Forging a Pathway to Clean Energy
Small island nations contribute the least to climate change, yet are feeling the greatest impact of its consequences. CCI helps small island nations become global leaders in climate change action and, in 2015, launched an expanded effort to increase renewable energy generation, adopt energy efficient practices, and promote sustainable economic management for their oceans and increasing resiliency to climate change for coastal communities.
Partnering to Improve Energy Efficiency in Haiti
In 2013, the Clinton Foundation Haiti Program partnered with NRG Energy Inc. to install an advanced solar panel power system at Hospital Bernard Mevs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The facility serves 10,000 patients annually and is one of the only trauma, critical care, and rehabilitation hospitals in Haiti. In addition to significantly offsetting the need for diesel-fueled electricity and reducing pollution, the solar system provides the “always on” power needed to protect sensitive medical equipment from regular power surges or outages that can be damaging. Most importantly, the hospital saves $60,000 monthly by offsetting diesel-fueled generation with solar power.
Installing Solar Systems in Rural Mexico
Expanding the electric grid across Mexico’s diverse landscape faces a multitude of geographic and financial limitations. In response, the social enterprise ILUMÉXICO is bringing its autonomous solar lighting and electrification systems to off-the-grid rural communities. Each user-friendly system consists of a solar panel, battery, and proprietary electronic controller. When paired with tailored microloan assistance to buy the equipment, ILUMÉXICO customers yield long-term financial savings while securing better health and environmental outcomes. Last year, ILUMÉXICO and its partners across sectors made a CGI Commitment to Action to install 1,500 solar systems for households and communities, and 22 for schools, in five rural impoverished areas of Mexico by mid-2016.