Friday, April 23, 2010

Our Earth Day Celebration at Mokolodi

Yesterday, the Embassy partnered with Mokolodi Nature Reserve to celebrate Earth Day. Batswana children traveled from all over Botswana’s BOCAIP centers to Mokolodi in order to attend a five-day workshop on environmental education. At the opening of the workshop, the children performed songs, poems, and plays to illustrate the importance of caring for Mother Earth. The key theme was to practice the three “R’s” – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! As Mokolodi Education Director John Aves said, “Children are the country’s future and that is why it is important for them to learn how to use the environment sustainably.” Indeed. Good job, kids!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pick 5 International! Earth Day 2010. Live it and share!

Improve your environment in celebration of Earth Day! Find events and ideas on EPA's Earth Day site, or create your own. Show the world your 'before and after' story on the Pick 5 Facebook fan page and pictures in the Pick 5 Flickr group. You CAN make a difference, so grab a friend, join with others to take action and celebrate from now through Earth Day weekend. Happy Earth Day everyone!

Pick 5 is an international environmental connection effort brought to you by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of State.

Photo caption: Take action to help the environment. Submit before and after photos at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton noted Earth Day is a time for all of us to make our world "as green as possible" today and in the years ahead. For the video version of her statement, please visit: .

Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release April 19, 2010


The 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

"Forty years ago, Earth Day began in the United States as a “teach-in” – a day to educate people about the environmental challenges facing our planet.... Today, we know more than ever about the challenges of preserving our environment – from clean water to climate change – and Earth Day has evolved into a call for sustainable solutions and local action all over the world.

The Obama administration has taken concrete steps toward achieving these goals. Under the President’s leadership, the United States has reengaged in international climate negotiations and we are more aggressively working to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. And at the State Department, we are elevating environmental issues in our diplomatic relationships and forging new partnerships to better engage on those global challenges.

Last year, the State Department challenged our more than 60,000 employees worldwide to lessen the environmental footprint of our diplomatic work, and this year we are launching the Greening Embassy Forum to share what we’ve learned.

Today, environmental awareness and activism are on the rise across the world – proof that Earth Day’s teachings have begun to change all of us, and change the environment we share. We have come a long way these last 40 years, but we have so much more to do. And we need your help to do it.

So Happy Earth Day. Let’s make our country and our world as green as possible in the years ahead."

Photo credit: "July 16th Drakensburg, Monk's Cawl," a winner from the EPA's 2009 Earth Day Photo Contest.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rural Wi-Fi Solar Powered Cyber Cafes to Zambia!

Computer Aid International is revolutionizing Internet connectivity for rural communities in Africa. By providing rural wi-fi cyber cafes powered by solar panels, rural communities in Africa can get connected to the rest of the world via the Internet!

According to Computer Aid International, this first cyber café is being sent to Macha in Zambia to provide the community with Internet access through Africa’s largest rural Wi-Fi network.

The cyber café houses a fully functional computer set up, comprising a thin client network of eleven monitors running off a standard Pentium 4 PC. Solar panels have been fitted to power the container, which will be located over 70km from the closet tarmac road.

“The reasoning behind this concept is that a number of partners were telling us about the problems in areas where there is no Internet connectivity or mains power,” Tony Roberts, CEO of Computer Aid International, explained to eWEEK Europe UK. “We had just done a research project on using renewable energy, and we found that the capital costs involved were quite expensive. Indeed, in one school we examined in Zambia, its solar panel provided only enough power to drive one PC and one printer.”

For more information on the project, please visit:

Friday, April 16, 2010

U.S. Commitment to Assisting Africa in Climate Change Adaptation

"The United States is resolute in its commitment to forge a truly global solution to climate change. Through the Copenhagen Accord and a range of international collaborations we are working with the poorest, most vulnerable nations to help them adapt to climate change and chart a future of sustainable growth and development," Franklin Moore, Dep. Asst. Administrator for USAID's Africa Bureau, during his testimony to Congress yesterday.

Excerpts of his speech can be found below...

Testimony of Franklin Moore

Deputy Assistant Administrator

USAID Bureau for Africa

Climate change is one of the premier challenges of our generation. No nation, large or small, rich or poor, is immune to its impact, and no nation can afford to sit idly by while its effects unfold. Around the world, climate change is another factor that will exacerbate existing development challenges such as poverty, hunger, disease, and conflict, and may begin to erode the progress we have made toward improving the lives of people in developing countries.

Despite a lack of extensive data in many countries, the effects of climate change have been clearly visible in Africa. Because of Africa's heavy dependence on natural resources and agriculture, and because of limited capacities in many African communities, the repercussions of climate change are particularly ominous. Fluctuations in rainfall and an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events-particularly floods-are projected to put many people at risk in urban areas, while in rural areas, weather events-particularly droughts and increasing temperatures-are projected to significantly hurt crop production.

To mitigate emissions caused by land degradation, deforestation, and desertification, USAID is working to change the economic circumstances that drive emissions, improve land management, conserve important carbon "sinks" in forests, promote reforestation and afforestation, and promote improved agricultural and agroforestry methods to increase carbon sequestration.

To mitigate emissions from energy use and generation, USAID is pursuing activities that encourage clean energy projects, energy efficiency, low-carbon energy development, and energy sector reforms, including capacity building and technical assistance in demand-side management techniques, supporting regional power pools, and the creation of infrastructure networks with a greater ability to distribute output from clean energy facilities. USAID has recently created the Africa Infrastructure Program to support the development of clean energy projects in Africa.
For the complete statement, please visit:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Water Security Means Food Security

It takes a liter of water to produce a calorie of food, or, at least several thousand liters of water for every person, every day. The water required to grow the food we eat is some 70 times greater than the water we need to drink, bathe and wash. Over the next 40 years the global demand for food is expected to double, and that implies that the amount of water used to achieve global food security would also have to double. Already today, a third of the world population is affected by water scarcity. Climate change is expected to worsen water problems by increasing the frequency and severity of floods and droughts.

Water scarcity in southern Africa is a growing concern. Population growth and demands for domestic, agricultural, and industrial consumption are increasing stress on finite water resources and the region's rich biodiversity. Seventy percent of the region's watersheds are shared between two or more countries. The U.S. is working hard to help southern Africa deal with water scarcity. USAID focuses on improving the management of shared river basins, starting with the Okavango River Basin. USAID is strengthening the Okavango River Basin Commission to help it manage the waterway and other natural resources in a fair and sustainable manner. This initiative is now expanding beyond the initial Okavango River Basin to include joint management of other cross-border natural resources in the region.

Managing water to achieve food security for all and a healthy environment will require massive efforts. Adapting to climate change will become a priority everywhere. In industrialized nations, the emphasis will be on curbing water pollution and reviving water ecosystems. In developing nations, food security for all requires a focus on opportunities for the poor, particularly initiatives that help people grow food and generate income while managing scarce water resources. Tackling food security in the 21st century is a global endeavor.

For more information, please visit the following USG websites: