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President Obama’s grandma becomes part of the Solar Generation

by Mike Gaworecki

August 20, 2009

Today in Kogelo, Kenya, local activists worked with Greenpeace’s Solar Generation to install solar panels on the Senator Barack Obama School as well as the house of Mama Sara, President Obama’s grandmother.

"I am very pleased that my home has been improved thanks to solar energy and I’ll make sure my grandson hears about it," Mama Sara said. Let’s hope President Obama not only hears about it, but is so moved by the benefits that solar energy has in store for his grandmother’s community that he takes the action necessary to kickstart a global energy revolution!

Created with flickr slideshow.

The solar installations are part of a renewable energy workshop hosted by Solar Generation. The Kibera Community Youth Programme and members of Nyang’oma Kogelo participated.

Like many other countries in Africa, Kenya is on the front lines of climate change impacts. A drastic reduction in rainfall in recent years has brought on a drought that has worsened the country’s preexisting agricultural problems caused by poor land use and desertification. The drought has also made Kenya’s large-scale hydro power generators unreliable.

All of which makes solar energy an especially good investment for Kenyans. Solar installations strengthen the economy and protect the environment while ensuring a reliable and clean supply of energy for a part of the world where paraffin oil – which, when burned, releases toxins and carcinogens – is still in widespread use.

The solar industry is ready and able to deliver the needed capacity. There is no technical impediment to powering Kenya with clean, green solar power, just political barriers.

Industrialized countries are largely responsible for the climate crisis, and it’s time we took responsibility for that. The developed world should be helping developing countries like Kenya leapfrog the dirty fossil fuels of the past while giving them access to the clean energies of the future with which to continue their economic development. Greenpeace is calling for rich countries to contribute $140 billion annually to support climate adaptation, mitigation, and forest protection in the developing world.

With just 15 weeks left to go until the decisive UN climate talks in Copenhagen, we are urging world leaders to emulate the innovative young people of Kibera and Kogelo and translate their climate rhetoric into action in Copenhagen.

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