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Sep 13
2013

GreenMicrofinance Promotes Green Microfinance

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

GreenMicrofinance

We at GreenMicrofinance™ (GMf™) have been promoting environmentally sustainable microfinance since 2002. 


GMf is a pioneer advocate for the accommodation of sustainable environmental practices within the financial sector, which distinctly involves micro, small and medium enterprises.

Guiding Principles 
http://www.greenmicrofinance.org/Resource-Library/Guiding-Principles/Guiding-Principles
GreenMicrofinance Publications
http://www.greenmicrofinance.org/Activities/GMf-Publications/GMf-Publications

Zimbabwe: Microfinance Goes Green 

It is wonderful to read the Zimbabwe Association of Microfinance Institutions are hosting the Green Microfinance Conference 2013.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201309130727.html
Dec 13
2010

Direct Seeding Nitrogen-Fixing Trees...made easy and reliable for farmers

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel
Oct 08
2009

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Posted by: Betsy Teutsch

Betsy Teutsch

Boy who harnessed-3Dcover on white

William Kamkwamba, raised in a village in Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries. He dropped out of school at age 14 due to famine - his family was forced to choose between food or school for their son.  He poured through books at a local mini-library, and - inspired by a picture of a windmill - set to work fabricating one from salvaged objects.  A new book chronicles his story.  Now 22, he is featured on none other than Jon Stewart - check him out!

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arD374MFk4w 400x300]

Sep 25
2009

Application of Solar Pumps

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Solar Pumps operate anywhere there is Sun ray. It will not run when there is rain but there is no need of pumping water when it rains. 

OFF GRID refers to a power system that generates electricity such as power from a Solar PV array. The electricity produced is stored in Batteries for later use and the energy system isn't connected to the utility Power Grid. In the Developing World, where there is abundant sunlight and a large rural population without the proper infrastructure to develop an electrical grid, PV is very attractive option because of its modular features, its ability to generate electricity at the actual point of use, its low maintenance requirements and its non-polluting technologies. PV is also important to rural health clinics in developing countries. These clinics require electricity for lighting, vaccine refrigeration and water pumping and purification. PV has proven to be a reliable system for these isolated clinics. Even If you live in urban areas where grid is serving only a part of your requirement or facing power disruption and power outage then it is a good option to install OFF GRID solar power system to fulfill your power requirement when needed.

Imaj Enterprise

 

 

Sep 02
2009

World's Poor are the Most Vulnerable Victims of Global Warming

Posted by: Betsy Teutsch

Betsy Teutsch

Some headlines just fail to surprise, like the recent one announcing that "low income workers are often cheated out of their wages."  Unfortunately, the fact that global warming's greatest impacts are on the world's poor is not really news; we at GMf are well aware of this terrible truth.  But this recent article in mainstream USA Today sums the situation up well:

   Global warming will fall heaviest on the desperately poor, finds a study of agricultural economics.

Released this week in Environmental Research Letters, the study led by Syud Ahmed of The World Bank in Washington, D.C., looked at the economic impacts of increases in atmospheric temperatures and climate variability, droughts, floods and storms, projected for the last three decades of this century across 16 developing nations. They based the estimate on the economic effects of similar weather in those places from 1970 to 2000.

"We find that extremes under present climate volatility increase poverty across our developing country sample -- particularly in Bangladesh, Mexico, Indonesia, and Africa -- with urban wage earners the most vulnerable group," write the authors. "We also find that global warming exacerbates poverty vulnerability in many nations."

Farmers in poor nations actually see their wages increase under global warming, says study co-author Noah Diffenbaugh of Purdue University, as the price of grain goes higher in nations experiencing more drought, but city dwellers, who spend much of their income on food, do worse.

The study fed projections of climate effects in two future scenarios produced by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report into its economic forecasts. One was a hot, "business as usual", scenario, with industrial emissions of greenhouse gases continuing unabated into the future. The other was a "low emissions" model with limited emissions of greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere. Poverty was worse in the high-emissions model, Diffenbaugh says.

"IPCC identified the poor, the elderly, and the very young as the most vulnerable categories of people on the planet ... regardless of location, as Katrina and the European (2003) heat wave taught us," says economics professor Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University, an author of the IPCC report. "Nonetheless, the most vulnerable are more likely to live in developing countries where they face multiple stresses.  For many, climate change itself is a source of multiple stress because it is manifest in so many different ways."

However, climate scientist David Battisti of the University of Washington in Seattle is critical of the study, explaining by email that "the climate models do a poor job at simulating rainfall in many places...As well, the climate models do an extremely poor job at estimating natural variability and extreme events in temperature and precipitation. In particular, they overestimate the variability in summertime temperature and extreme events. Without correcting for these biases -- which are ubiquitous in the climate models -- it is very likely that the extreme event information input into the impact models is grossly exaggerated," Battisti says.

But Diffenbaugh notes that the poor in developing countries, who live on less that a dollar a day, have been vulnerable historically to climate swings, as seen in the study's look at numbers from the 20th century. "These folks are already vulnerable to climate, so climate 'change' seems unlikely to make things better for them."

By Dan Vergano

Aug 26
2009

Energy Meeting Women's Needs!

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel


Why Women's Rights Are the Cause of our Time
New York Times Magazine
August 23, 2009

WHY DO MICROFINANCE organizations usually focus their assistance on women? And why does everyone benefit when women enter the work force and bring home regular pay checks? One reason involves the dirty little secret of global poverty: some of the most wretched suffering is caused not just by low incomes but also by unwise spending by the poor — especially by men. Surprisingly frequently, we’ve come across a mother mourning a child who has just died of malaria for want of a $5 mosquito bed net; the mother says that the family couldn’t afford a bed net and she means it, but then we find the father at a nearby bar. He goes three evenings a week to the bar, spending $5 each week.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Reflection on the NY Times Article....

WHY IS MICROFINANCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT important to women today?  How can micro-finance be used for Energy Meeting Women's Needs?   

Apr 18
2009

"On Thin Ice" ...climate change and glaciers!

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Namaste!   My four children have all graduated from Woodstock School located in the Himalyan mountains in northern India during the time we lived in rural Nepal.  Over a span of 7 years various family members trekked and enjoyed these majestic mountains.

It was with great interest I watched "On Thin Ice", this one-hour PBS special on NOW.  It is an alarming  report on glaciers.  

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/516/index.html

Seventy-five percent of the world's fresh water is stored in glaciers, but scientists predict climate change will cause some of the world's largest glaciers to completely melt by 2030. What effect will this have on our daily lives?

Environmentalist Conrad Anker, one of the world's leading high altitude climbers, warns, "We can't take climate change and put it on the back burner. If we don't address climate change, we won't be around as humans."

Apr 08
2009

CGAP Report on Microfinance and Climate Change

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Congratulations GGAP on a MUST READ!

...for the April 2 Report on Greening Microfinance: Clients and the Climate of Change

With environmental challenges-from drought to flooding-disproportionately affecting poor people's livelihoods, microfinance institutions have a strong incentive to mitigate the risks of climate change while helping their clients adapt to that change, argues Paul Rippey, the author of the latest report from CGAP on microfinance and climate change.

...to Paul Rippey, on the well-written article,  Microfinance and Climate Change: Threats and Opportunities.   Great work, Paul!

"Within microfinance, the word ‘sustainable' has tended to be used in a very narrow way, mainly referring to institutions that are financially viable," says Rippey. "But just as many MFIs have added social performance to their bottom line, they should also consider how their actions-and those of their clients-can help combat climate change."

Thank you, CGAP, for making mention of GMf in the Report and as an Additional Resource on your Feature page.  

Jul 29
2008

Panel: Microfinance, Their Clients, and Clean Energy

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Today was a breakthrough!  Since 2002, GreenMicrofinance has been participating and leading panels on microfinance and the environment at various Microcredit Summit gatherings- Bangladesh 2004; Chile 2005, Halifax 2006, and today in Bali. 

During today's session on Microfinance, Their Clients, and Clean Energy: Making a Positive Impact on the Environment there was a definite shift in interest and ‘energy' around the topic.  THE LIGHTS ARE ON!

Craig Wilson from The Foundation for Development Cooperation based in Australia and my colleague, Kathleen Robbins from GreenMicrofinance, provided a macro overview of moving forward with clean energy and the microfinance.   

We then shifted to the local perspective.  Paul Thomas, Founder and Exective Director,  Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF), India, and Chitta Ranjan Chaki, Deputy General Manager, Grameen Shakti, Bangladesh, both provided very comprehensive overviews of their clean energy initiatives.  

ESAF in partnership with GreenMicrofinance is developing a clean energy lending program; they recently completed a market survey of 1,200 clients in four States in which they work.  A couple of highlights from the survey include:

  • Majority of these people use firewood for cooking purposes; even if they do have LPG connections they prefer to use firewood stoves (comparatively cheaper source)
  • Waste generated in each household could be processed to produce renewable clean energy.

One I can't help but be impressed with the work of Grameen Shakti, which incorporated in 1996, and which provides energy services in remote rural areas of Bangladesh. GS sells, installs, and maintains solar photovoltaic systems, and has biogas, solar thermal, and wind programs.  

The session was very well attended with about 45 participants from government, NGOs, energy service providers, national banks, advocacy groups, and microfinance institutions.  We invited the group to post on this blog some of their thoughts and questions to further the dialogue on this panel theme.   

From my own perspective, I think we need to clearly identify our vision within the microfinance sector, continue to develop innovative solutions, and promote champions (like Paul Thomas and Chitta Chaki), who will reenergize communities to work together to conserve our natural environment and to promote environmental justice.  

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