The World (and BCP) Look Toward the Paris Climate Agreement

The BCP Office in Mfuwe with the installed solar panels

The BCP Office in Mfuwe with the installed solar panels

Climate change is a critical issue affecting our world today. On April 22nd 2016, ”Earth Day”, a global event dedicated to environmental protection, was also historic, as global leaders from 175 governments met at the UN headquarters in New York, to begin signing the Paris Climate Agreement.  This event marks the first step towards binding countries to the promises they made to cut greenhouse gas emissions just 4 months earlier at the Paris COP21. “The era of consumption without consequences is over,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies. And we must support developing countries in making this transition.”

 

The Paris Climate Deal’s main objective is to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Any rise past 1.5°C marks the point of no return and will have drastic effects on the world’s climate. The Paris deal intends to achieve long-term global goals for net zero emissions and countries have promised to try to bring global emissions down from peak levels.  Experts say that with these pledges we can reach net zero emissions by 2050.

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry applauded the power of the agreement to “unleash the private sector” and send a signal to global markets that renewable energy and infrastructure are smart investments. Later, when officially signing the agreement, Kerry brought his granddaughter with him to the stage — a representational move no doubt meant to remind everyone that climate change is not only a reality for us today but a necessity for tomorrow.

 

Climate change is already having a significant impact on the world.  A recent report was released that stated that one of the Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef, has experienced unprecedented coral bleaching that affects 93% of the reef, and caused by the rising water temperatures.  In Zambia we are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent memory.  The Kariba Dam, which produces power for most of the country, is at its lowest in years, and has led to rolling blackouts affecting the entire country.  Additionally, rural farmers, whose livelihood depends on the seasons, have experienced difficulty in growing stable crops to feed their families.

 

The documentation retiring BCP's Forests Carbon Offsets from circulation

The documentation retiring BCP’s Forests Carbon Offsets from circulation

Against the backdrop of the New York Climate Agreement signing, BCP wanted to share that as a Company we are 100% carbon neutral, as we feel it`s essential to be leading by example, and walking the walk.  We’re excited about the fact that all our electricity use is now from renewable sources. Zambia’s electricity grid is primarily hydropower, and four of our five offices are now equipped with solar arrays as back up systems.  Our fifth office in Nyimba is soon to be solar equipped.  An additional step to reduce our carbon footprint is that we are disposing of older vehicles and have procured a fleet of newer, more efficient vehicles.  For BCP’s unavoidable emissions we are carbon neutral from the voluntary retirement of forest carbon offsets from the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project which we implement.   These offsets were retired permanently from circulation with assistance from project partner, BioCarbon Group.  As an African Company, we hope more American and European companies will join our example of investing in renewables, more efficient vehicles and forest carbon offsets for unavoidable emissions.

 

For more information on how you can purchase Forest Carbon Offsets through our Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project visit the Stand For Trees website, or contact our Sales, Marketing, and Communications Manager, Andrea McWilliam at amcwilliam@biocarbonpartners.com.

This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

 

Students Celebrate Special Environmental Education Day with Music, Dance, and Leaning!

About two hours outside of Lusaka, and down a muddy dirt road filled with holes and bumps, lie two schools, Namanongo and Ndubulua. At these rural schools most days are quiet, but on March 30th, the atmosphere was buzzing with a sense of excitement, as students and teachers prepared to participate in a Special Environmental Education Day (SEED).

 

Department of National Parks and Wildlife Services representive talks to sixth graders at Ndubulula School about different types wildlife and their role in the ecosystem

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Services representative talks to Grade Six students at Ndubulula School about different types wildlife and their role in the ecosystem

In the project area for the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP) – Zambia’s first verified REDD+ project – BCP is supporting the Environmental Education Program in four schools, including Ndubulula and Namanongo, as well as two other community schools in Mweeshang’ombe and Chilimba. The Environmental Education Program is implemented with funding from USAID under the Community Forests Program (CFP), and is one of the many livelihood activities taking place in the local communities around LZRP in the Rufunsa District.

 

The Environmental Education Program is a year-long program targeted for Grade Six students, following a curriculum that provides weekly classes, as well as interactive activities and events, such as quarterly SEED days, where students, teachers and schools can showcase their learning. The Environmental Education Program curriculum is based on the Lolesha Luangwa Conservation Education Programme implemented by the Frankfurt Zoological Society as part of the North Luangwa Conservation Project.

 

SEEDs are intended to give participating students, teachers, and schools the opportunity to showcase their environmental learning and celebrate environmental education through exciting, hands-on activities involving the wider community and partners. For this particular SEED event in March, representatives from BCP, the Forestry Department, and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Services attended, and gave presentations that added their perspectives about the importance of forests, wildlife, and their work with BCP.

 

At Ndubulula School, the sixth grade students who are part of the Environmental Education Program appeared nervous but excited with the arrival of the visitors. They sat at their desks in smart blue uniforms and giggled anxiously. The classroom was filled with posters that depicted the water cycle and listed reasons why forests are important. Younger students crowded outside the windows of the classroom and peeked in excitedly to see the program. The sixth graders, initially hesitant and shy, came alive after introductions and broke into a song welcoming BCP and their partners. Three students gave a presentation on people’s roles in protecting the forest. They listed several different reasons why forests are important, including being part of the water cycle, food sources from the fruit growing on trees, and helping to keep the land fertile. After the presentations from the Government partners, students asked lots of good questions, and then the class broke out into traditional song and dance.

The representative from the Forestry Department talks to students at Namanongo School about the importance of forests

 

After winding up at Ndubulula School, the BCP team spent the rest of the afternoon at Namanongo School. Here, the entire school, grades one through seven, gathered for the SEED program! The students and teachers collected desks and chairs and sat under a large tree in the schoolyard. After introductions and presentations made by the Forestry Department and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Services, the sixth graders underwent a short quiz on what they had learned, so far, from the Environmental Education Program. They were asked several questions including three causes of deforestation, what a reptile is, and what conservation agriculture is. This was followed by a skit about poachers hunting animals in the national park and then being tracked and apprehended by scouts from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Services. The program ended with students singing and performing traditional dancing.

 

Mrs. Blessings Mwabi, one of the Environmental Education Program teachers at Ndubulula, says that students at the start of the program asked; “Why, should we conserve the forests?” But over time she described that: “The program offers a lot of explanations and sensitizations about the forests, and here it is very much destroyed, but now they [the students] know the importance of saving the forests. I’m able to really see how the pupils as learners are interested in their land, their forests, and conserving it.” She further explained that sometimes it’s difficult for communities to understand the importance of forests when they sell charcoal to make money, but these students now have the knowledge to go home and talk to their parents about conservation and forest protection.

 

The next SEED program is scheduled to take place in late June or early July.

Sixth graders at Namanongo school open the SEED program with a song and dance about BCP

Grade Six studnets at Ndubulula school open the SEED program with a song and dance about BCP

Sixth graders at Namanongo school drew pictures about what they learned in the Environmental Education Program.  These pictures were displayed during the SEED program

Grade Six students at Namanongo school drew pictures about what they learned in the Environmental Education Program. These pictures were displayed during the SEED program.

Students at Namanongo School ending the SEED program with a traditional dance called Nyau

Students at Namanongo School ended the SEED program with a traditional dance called Nyau

This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.