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Climate change project helps thousands in Kenyan tea industry



Britons drink an estimated 165 million cups of tea every day, creating a huge market and one we cannot afford to see reduced due to climate change.  A project in Kenya is seeking to address the challenges farmers and the wider industry face.

Many tea–producing countries are facing challenges as changes in weather patterns, increasing droughts and variable rainfall lead to vulnerable tea production.

A report by Forum for the Future earlier this year found there are many challenges faced by the tea industry regarding sustainability and cooperation is needed to help face these difficulties.

Kenya is the world’s third largest tea producer, behind India and China. However, research has found climate change is expected to reduce the land suitable for tea production in the area by 40% by 2050.

The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) is a not–for–profit organisation that works towards creating an environmentally sustainable tea industry. Since 2011 they have been looking at weather data and could already see changes in weather patterns attributed to climate change.

“We did climate change modeling maps for Kenya showing how tea growing was likely to change and found impacts were likely to be much more severe in Kenya,” Sarah Roberts, executive director of ETP explained.

To help farmers in Kenya combat the effects of climate change ETP and German Development agency GIZ ran an award-winning project from 2010 to 2013. This project helped with techniques such as installing energy efficient stoves and composting waste from kitchens to improve crops and helped more than 100,000 Kenyan smallholder farmers.

The project developed detailed training manuals on how to adapt to climate change and The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) are now including it in their Farmer Field Schools project. Over half a million farmers will receive this training over the next few years.

The KTDA is the largest smallholder cooperative in Kenya and introduced the Farmer Field Schools initiative six years ago with support of Unilever and IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative – to help improve efficiency and conditions in tea production. So far 48,000 farmers have been through the programme and have seen a 36% increase in yields due to increased efficiency.

Joost Oorthuizen, chief executive of IDH, said, “It is amazing to see how the tea industry is making serious efforts and investments to address difficult issues such as wages and smallholder inclusion.”

Photo: Ethical Tea Partnership

Further reading:

Climate change threatens India tea production

Tea industry collaborates to improve sustainability

Climate change could reduce crop yields as soon as 2030

Leaked IPCC report warns of social and economic impact of climate change

IPCC climate report: global temperatures likely to exceed 2C this century


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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