Although African nations do not have nearly as many factories, cars and farms as more industrially developed nations like the US and China, climate change impacts Africa potentially more than any other continent on Earth. In fact, according to the Conservation Institute, Africa's Sahara Desert has expanded by more than 250,000 square miles in the last half century. As global temperatures increase, habitable land, resources, and food production could all be restricted while overall health will be heavily affected.
Africa’s role in the fight against climate change could help save the planet while creating a whole slew of jobs for African citizens. Furthermore, battling climate change would provide the added benefit of increasing Africa’s sustainability and energy independence by creating an industry on which workers and towns could thrive. This could have an enormous impact on the infrastructure of Africa and its developing nations.
African nations can play an instrumental role in the increasing use of renewable energy because they are starting with somewhat of a ‘blank slate.’ A shocking statistic in the 2015 Africa Progress Report states that “600 million people still do not have access to modern energy” and at today’s current rate of improvement, every resident of Africa will not have working power until 2080.
The movement to spread electricity to all the people of Africa is a challenge that should be tackled strategically. The legislation and measures put in place should be environmentally friendly and sustainable, like natural gas, hydro power, solar power, wind power, and geothermal power. By creating jobs and providing a higher standard of living, joining the battle against climate change would do much more than reduce the harmful effects of pollution in the environment.
It is much more difficult for a nation like the US to change all of its habits and infrastructure over to newer, more environmentally friendly technologies. At a meeting on climate change in Paris, African nations recently agreed to share insight, ideas, and potential steps forward. With incentives, goals, and milestones like those shared at the Paris meeting, Africa has an opportunity to start off on the right foot.
By Kelly McDermott
You Can Help! Millions of people in Africa depend on Kerosene lanterns for light, which are dangerous and expensive to keep lit. Eventually the luxury of electricity will spread across all of Africa, but until that day a single solar lantern really can make a difference in the lives of several people. Donating towards solar lanterns is a great way to help and these lanterns are more environmentally friendly than kerosene lanterns.
Image Source (No known copyright restrictions): https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasacommons/15659655525/in/photolist-pRMQ1M-puJadd-pH5zv7-odMcE5-fmqmcX-ousr7J-owukqr-ots6gd-ouzRm7-8trfuC-oyeGpM-oeRfAu-ouzW17-ouBz9B-i1ZtdS-oeQsRd-ov9oyg-oQgUqG-oeZtf3-ousriL-ouzQZL-owgX5s-od7HzU-oc7DAC-od8WvP-oQjXw4-i2deAB-ouBCLB-oePWs7-odERkr-i1YTDN-odsFSn-ownpxB-othSs4-owdvct-odERQ4-owucXk-od9a6E-ouWn2w-oeZhVA-g1Hnar-soKkW1-tLfUgN-ouWuKh-qZsTTb-ouBAQn-i6DB64-oeV1Xa-oukdyr-rgUijM