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Nile Day Emphasises Continued Water Scarcity Experienced Throughout Nile Basin

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February 22nd is the annual day to celebrate the Nile River, an essential force of life for millions. In this celebration, 350.org is calling for the preservation and protection of the Nile in order to protect the lives of over 200 million people living in the basin that are increasingly threatened by desertification and other natural disasters aggravated by climate change.

350Africa and Arab world will be hosting art exhibitions, cultural entertainment, educational talks and live concerts across national and regional commemorations of the Nile Day. Local communities already feeling the impacts of droughts caused by climate change, which is no longer a threat but a clear and present danger, will participate in these activities and join the movement to save and protect the Nile River.

In Egypt, 350 Egypt and Benha Puppetry Troupe have collaborated on an evening of short performances that capture a snapshot of the lives of those who experience the effects of climate change in Egypt’s Nile Delta. In forms as varied as monologue, shadow puppetry and improvisational music, these pieces use live performance to encourage dialogue for social change.

“Nile day celebrations are important to the region given our challenges of water scarcity, drought and severe climate impacts’’, said Sarah Rifaat, 350.org Arab World Field Coordinator. Many of the poorest Africans, women and children are already facing more drought, floods and extreme weather that threaten their livelihoods and push food prices up. “Climate change will hit Africa hardest so this fight is about climate justice,” added Rifaat.

The Nile River is the longest in the world, at 6,650 km long and encompassing an area of 3,349,000 square kilometers. Its basin is shared by ten countries: Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania.

Currently, the Nile is unable to cope with shared water demands. Effects of climate change such as unpredictable river flow and precipitation are adding to human-induced land degradation, deforestation, water pollution and the construction of competing hydropower dams in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. All these challenges combined are aggravating the water crisis throughout the region.

Recent droughts in Ethiopia left more than 10 million people desperate for water and food. Prolonged and severe droughts in January 2016 saw 640,000 Ugandans in Karamoja face food shortages as a direct result of water shortages. Egypt, dependent mainly on the Nile for water supply, could be without water by 2025.

All the basin countries are susceptible to famine, droughts and prolonged El Niño effects. “The drought and recurrent food crisis experienced in the Horn of Africa, make water a very precious and scarce resource, and remind us of our common responsibility to protect the Nile River, which has provided life to people in the Nile basin for thousands of years,” added Landry Ninteretse, 350Africa.org mobiliser.

In celebrating the Nile Day, the region should focus on reversing the impacts of climate change. Governments along the Nile River basin must include climate change adaptation policies into national development plans and base the future of their economies on clean, renewable energy. Such measures can contribute to the global efforts to stop the climate crisis from worsening and lift millions of people in the region out of poverty.

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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