Let the sun shine

Feature story - August 20, 2009
Barack Obama's grandmother now has solar panels on the roof of her home in Kenya, compliments of Greenpeace.

Mama Sarah Obama flicks on the lights after a Solar power system was installed at her home in Kogelo Village, Kenya.

Greenpeace Solar Generation Activists and local youth organisers installed the panels on "Mama Sara's" home, and also put panels on the Senator Barack Obama School in Kogelo.

The solar installations are part of a 20 day renewable energy workshop hosted by Solar Generation with 25 participants from the Kibera Community Youth Programme and community members of Nyang'oma Kogelo.

The program helps young Kenyans learn how solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity, about their installation and maintenance and the fabrication of self-assembling solar lamps and their marketing potential.

Here is what Mama Sarah had to say about the new solar panels on her house: "I am very pleased that my home has been improved thanks to solar energy and I'll make sure my grandson hears about it. Solar power is clean, reliable and affordable, unlike paraffin that is widely used in the area. Also, we now have qualified youth in the village who can help with the upkeep of the systems."

Climate impacts reach Kenya

Kenya, like many other countries in Africa, is on the climate impacts frontline. It has seen a drastic reduction in rainfall in recent years. Drought is amplifying problems in agriculture caused by poor land use and desertification, making Kenya's large scale hydro power unreliable.

Faced with these challenges, investing in solar energy technologies is a win-win strategy. It strengthens the economy and protects the environment, while ensuring a reliable and clean energy supply. The solar industry is ready and able to deliver the needed capacity. There is no technical impediment to doing this, just a political barrier to overcome as we rebuild the global energy sector.

Yes you can too

There are just 108 days left till the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen. The climate deal negotiated in December must ensure developed countries take the necessary steps to cut emissions, tackle climate change as well as ensure that developing countries can continue to grow their economies in a sustainable way.

We are calling for developed world governments to provide US 140 billion a year to tackle the climate crisis, to fund both mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries.

Take Action!

Tell President Obama of the US, Hu of China, Brown of the UK, Merkel of Germany, Sarkozy of France, and Lula of Brazil that they must clear their calendars and take personal responsibility for their government’s response to climate change and to attend the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen this December.

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