“We have the capacity to create a remarkably different economy: one that restores ecosystems and protects the environment while bringing forth innovation, prosperity, meaningful work and security.” – Paul Hawken
In 2015/16 when the heatwave hit, it took no prisoners for Lesotho also fell victim. We experienced firsthand the ripping claws of El Niño drought. It led to one of the driest seasons for the country, thereby impairing the agricultural sector. And during these desperate times, desperate measures had to be taken if poverty was to be alleviated.
The good news is, some farmers brought the fight to the El Niño phenomenon by resorting to the adoption of climate-smart agriculture. Leutsoa Khobotlo, founder of GreenLife Farm, is one such farmer who implemented the use of hybrid seeds and agricultural-productivity enhancing technology such as greenhouses. His farm remains a shining example of the ongoing fight against continuing threats associated with climate change.
Competition of sunlight concept which as opposed to plants being handicapped by the prospect of too much heat, advocates for it to be taken advantage of. The theory which bolsters this concept is that the productivity of crops depends on the ability of plant cover to intercept incident- radiation. This is the function of the leaf area available, the architecture of vegetative cover and conversion efficiency of the energy captured by the plant into biomass.
Several projects have also been instituted to minimise reliance on burning of fossil fuels and non-renewables. This includes amongst others, African Clean Energy (ACE) which Nvulane Nhlapo in How Sustainable Energy Positively Impacts our Community dares to unpack.
‘A vivid example is that of African Clean Energy (ACE). ACE focuses on enabling everybody in the world to have better and easier access to energy. It achieves this by manufacturing and distributing the ACE 1 ultra clean biomass energy system. By providing alternatives to usage of biomass fuels; the ACE 1 helps protect the environment from deforestation. Most importantly, the ACE 1 burns without smoke, thus eliminating the toxic carbon dioxide emissions that are released into the atmosphere and are detrimental to the environment’.
This clearly shows that Lesotho is to a certain degree resolved to, and is succeeding in mitigating climate change induced environmental hazards. With lesser trees being cut, the atmosphere and environment can safely embark on a recovery journey.
To further supplement this efforts, Lesotho’s own ‘Muela hydropower station is still up and running. This plant continues to implement its mandate by providing thousands of households with clean energy. Moreover, the government is constructing more water reservoirs which will help in meeting water and hydro electrification demands.
Nvulane further gives a highlight of the Renewable Energy Based Rural Electrification Project where UNDP partnered with the Government of Lesotho to provide affordable electricity to remote villages having no access to main electricity grid. The Global Environmental Fund (GEF), an alternative asset manager, subsidized a solar panel lights installation project which was a raving success with 65 off-the-grid villages in Lesotho benefiting thus to access electricity.
In closing, it is only fair to say Lesotho is starting to portray strides of determination towards curbing harmful effects of global warming. The above highlights are in and of themselves, smart investments economically and are environmentally responsible.