REXBURG, Idaho — At first thought, the issue of climate change has nothing to do with problems facing global poverty. It doesn’t cause people to live in less than adequate shelter or to live on less than $1.25 a day. But in reality, finding ways to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases can help create not only a low-carbon future, it can also better economies and raise the level of living standards.
In a 22 minute documentary narrated by U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Ian Somerhalder, “Climate Heroes: Stories of Change” explores the various innovative ways those in developing countries are helping to save the planet while bettering their living environments and creating “stories about hope,” not just for themselves, but for the world.
These innovative solutions to helping in climate change around the world are termed “Lighthouse Activities.” Various Lighthouse Activities, which are showcased by the U.N., are in progress to not only help the planet, but to “[inspire]entrepreneurship, [and to create]ripples that spread across communities and economies.”
A Lighthouse Activity can be seen in Bangalore, India where a group, Pollinate Energy is taking solar lighting to the slums where electricity is not available. It is estimated that 390 million people in India don’t have access to electricity. However, through the efforts of this group the people of India have been provided with clean energy technologies, like solar lanterns to light up their homes and spirits.
The U.N. Momentum for Change has found women have a profound effect on change. “… Women stand at the front lines in the battle against climate change: as providers of water, food, and energy or as leaders in businesses, communities and politics. Women are in a unique position to recognize some of the opportunities that climate change provides,” CNN reports.
The Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative is proving effective for creating 30 jobs- mainly for women- and reducing carbon emissions. While it cuts out the use of buses and cars, simply using bamboo to create the bikes saves five kilograms of carbon emissions compared to steel-framed bicycles.
In addition, the Initiative teaches women how to harvest bamboo as well as offers five to six months worth of training to produce the bikes, empowering them toward success and stability. A worker of the Initiative said, “Investing in a woman is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do because most women are community leaders and are really making an impact for change in their communities.”
Though living in a developing country is difficult and less than ideal, people are finding ways to ease their burden and improve their lives as well as the lives surrounding them, knowing though that they have been given challenging circumstances. In the words of Ian Somerhalder, “With challenge comes opportunity.”
– Kori Withers