With the startling effects of climate change all around us in rural Tanzania, we have begun to think about how we can help protect our immediate environment, ecosystem and wildlife, around Uchira, and the children and families we support here.
Closer to home than our surrounding environment, our childrens home and animal rescue shelter is an off the grid facility. Our power is from the sun, our cooking is from the sun, and we set up rainwater catchment which is used to grow fruit and vegetables on the land. In time we hope to install a bio gas tank, to allow us to cook using the gas produced from the rescue animals waist.
Tree Planting & Solar Cooking
In Uchira people eat the same meals each day, which are variations of 2 staple foods, Maize and Beans... Both of these foods require cooking to become edible, which is where problems begin!
To cook, we all know we need heat. In the west that can come from gas or electricity. Here it could come from a gas bottle, but no one can afford that, and likewise with electricity even those who can afford electricity, can't afford an electric oven or hob! and of course there are the frequent power cuts to contend with also....
This leaves people 2 choices, charcoal, or wood. Sadly both of which require the felling of trees, and with it destruction of the environment for their use.
We all know the importance of tree's for our environment. Here in Uchira in just the last 6 years, a main river that used to be deep enough for children to swim in; has dried up due to climate changes.... resulting in the death of many fruit tree's and with it the animal population that were relying on them, such as baboons.
To tackle this problem, we needed 2 things...
A way to cook without wood or charcoal, that is cheap, easy and affordable to everyone...
More tree's to grow, to make up for the current damage done by the felling of trees...
Cooking With The Sun
Solar cookers can be made from waste materials and can cook foods purely with the sun's rays alone. The science behind them is quite simple.
The materials that can make these cookers are plentiful, all of our designs use waste products, such as plastic bottles, old car tires and even just mud from the ground.
Tree planting is something imperative to the planet's environmental recovery at present. More trees are being felled than ever before in history. The biggest contributor is beef production for the western markets, which is the leading cause of deforestation on the planet. Dietary changes take time for populations, but it is time the planet may not have.
So whilst we wait for society to change their dietary habits, to more sustainable and environmentally friendly ones, we need to start addressing the issue as best we can.
As a collective, we all know that planting more trees is a good thing for the whole of the planet and its environmental issues.
Here in Uchira the immediate effect on the children we work with is also beneficial beyond reckoning. Planting trees here has the following benefits for both Tanzania and the planet as a whole...
Recovery of the habitat and home for East Africa's dwindling wildlife populations.
Improvements to the ecosystem, and soils. Resulting in higher yields on existing farmed land, resulting in a reduced need to clear forest area's for agriculture.
Additional protection and reduction, against our current global issue with high greenhouse gas emissions.
Increased yields mean less nutritional issues and hungry children. (Less sickness, means less need for medical care, which in turn reduces emissions further.
Here in Uchira we start tree's off from seed and teach the community how to do so with it.
We already do tree planting competitions with the local schools also... The children who plant and care for their tree's the best, quite simply win a prize. What this does though is allowing the next generation to plant trees as a base habit of farming and survival here. With over 95% of the population relying on farming... having the next generation educated and used to planting trees will have a hugely positive impact on the environment!
You can help us plant a tree here if you wish. Planting one tree from seed, costs us 50p... So every £1 donated to the environmental work plants 2 tree's, and with it produces all of the benefits to humanity and our home, mentioned on this page!
Share a little love with earth, plant tree, or help us to protect existing ones by helping a family with the minimal cost of building a solar cooker... :)
Make A Donation To Our Environmental Projects
If you wish to make a donation, please leave a note when you donate, to say the funds are intended for the environmental works.
As always, thank you for all and any support, in any form...