What Design Can Do in Nairobi to Provide Clean Energy to All
WHAT DESIGN CAN DO, Nairobi- Fossil fuels are the biggest cause of climate change and are still our primary source of energy. Cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and contribute to more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. That’s why What Design Can Do is focussing its second Climate Action Challenge on urban energy issues. Together with IKEA Foundation and many local partners they are inviting designers and creative entrepreneurs to rethink how we produce, distribute and use energy in our cities.
Everyone in the world should have access to enough energy to live a comfortable life, with access to clean water, nutritious food, shelter, healthcare, education and economic opportunities. Many in the world have this, but at the cost of the climate. We need to end our reliance on fossil fuels, while also ending energy poverty by providing access to reliable and affordable energy to everyone.
Kenya’s agriculture sector emitted 62.8% of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2013. Meanwhile, rapid urbanisation is stretching Kenya’s food and agriculture systems to their limits, and Nairobi in particular is struggling to provide sustainable food and nutrition security for its residents.
With a population set to reach 14 million by 2050, there will be many more mouths to feed. But the journey from farm to fork is currently not as smooth or green as it could be. From food production and distribution to refrigeration and preparation, designers can play a significant role in making sure future Nairobians are fed in a way that is good for both the human body and the planet.
Kenya is a very small carbon emitter in global rankings and the country is leading the way in proving that African countries do not need to rely on fossil fuels as they plan their future development out of poverty. That being said, Kenya’s agriculture sector is the country’s biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, leaving lots to be improved.
Nairobi and its surrounding peri-urban region struggle most with post-harvest food losses. This is mostly as a result of poor storage or packaging, mode of transport, processing practices, lack of or poor access to markets and poor coordination among the actors in the supply chains. Nairobi is the most populous city in East Africa and is home to one of the worlds largest urban slums. This means a lot of mouths to feed, and this number will only increase.
While urban farms are not an unusual sight in Nairobi, further innovations in space-intensive farming would foster a bustling urban market and boost local food yields. In turn, this could save energy expended on food transportation and distribution while encouraging local supply and demand for healthy and sustainable food across income levels.
Many food choices and preparation habits, such as charcoal jikos (cookstoves), are unhealthy for both the human body and the environment. Helping to change entrenched habits and values around food choices and preparation, could help people adopt types of food and practices that are better for the body, planet and the pocket (or M-Pesa account!).
The deadline for What Design Can Do Nairobi submissions is 15th November 2018, and more information can be found here.