“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” GoSol’s mission is to influence and inspire minds, young and old, to comprehend the potential of using free solar thermal energy. Using purely the Lytefire technology instead of relying on charcoal and firewood which releases C02 emissions into the atmosphere. Our vision is to help local communities by creating ‘solarpreneurs’ (entrepreneurs that use Lytefire solar technology), jobs and businesses and to contribute their impact in the fight against poverty in a developing country, rising up against climate change.
The beginning of our next project starts here in Uganda, a country of breathtaking landscapes and bountiful, native wildlife. It is a place with ‘pinch yourself’ moments all around you and surreal views. Unfortunately due to the contributing factors of climate change such as deforestation, rapid population growth and non-sustainable agricultural expansion there is now the potential threat of the ongoing pipeline construction happening in Uganda through to Tanzania.
The expected pipeline route will begin from Hoimia, near lake Albert extending through to the port of Tanga, Tanzania. The pipeline will reach 1,443km in total running through Uganda at 296km, then 1,147km in Tanzania.
The controversial pipeline “is likely to lead to significant disturbance"
The impact of this crude oil pipeline will have a devastating shock to the people, the biodiversity and endangered wildlife, causing irreversible damage.
A WWF Uganda report in 2017 warned that the controversial pipeline “is likely to lead to significant disturbance, fragmentation and increased poaching within important biodiversity and natural habitats”. Not to mention the impact of the total carbon emissions that will be released as a result of the consumption of oil.
The pipeline will run its route through Murchison Falls National Park, Bugoma Forest (home to around 600 endangered chimpanzees) and Biharamulo game reserve. There has been a significant decline of biodiversity already within these areas due to clearing of trees, commercial poaching and oil drilling. Even in my lifetime I have witnessed the extinction of the bongo, giant eland, black rhino, white rhino and the oryx and declining populations of buffalos, elephants, hippopotamuses and lions in some National Parks. Knowing my future children and further generations in years to come will never be able to catch a glimpse of these incredible animals in their natural habitat due to our actions creates so much despair in my heart.
If such a disaster happened here so many lives would be at risk, more poverty and deteriorating jobs
The pipeline will also be constructed alongside Lake Victoria’s basin, as one of the world’s largest tropical fishing destinations this will negatively impact the locals especially the 200,000 employees that rely on this as their main source of income. When travelling I visited the outskirts of Lake Victoria and I observed so many locals depending solely on the Lake to bring back food for their families. If such a disaster happened here so many lives would be at risk, more poverty and deteriorating jobs.
According to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery “A leak could have catastrophic effects on local water resources, the environment and the communities living in the basin.” Lake Victoria supports the livelihoods of 4 million people, if such an event did occur can you even begin to imagine how local families would suffer terribly?
With the knowledge of these environmental issues in Uganda, I began my journey in Lake Mburo, within a safari camp surrounded by zebras, warthogs and many other incredible species! From there, I then travelled to Lake Bunyonyi, quite possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The serene stillness of the lake, the 6am wake up call of the birds just before the sun rises each morning and not forgetting the views of the mini islands and abundantly rich terraced farmland. This truly is a paradise on Earth! It is heartbreaking to learn that where I am right now in East Africa, may look and be a completely different environment in less than a decade.
90% of Uganda’s total energy requirements are supplied by biomass
Uganda is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited in Africa and I am learning about how they are facing many economic challenges such as reduction in forest cover from 24% of total land area (1990) to 9.5% (2017). Over reliance on firewood and charcoal as a primary energy source - 90% of Uganda’s total energy requirements are supplied by biomass. This is having a devastating impact on Uganda’s forests, contributing to 60% of forest loss annually.
If we shift our perspective and educate then maybe we can transform the future for younger generations to come
This is where the role of GoSol comes into effect. If we can change and direct the energy in a positive and empowering way, we can gradually change societies perspectives by living in balance and harmony with the environment around us. As a trainer my aim is to educate students on the benefits of using solar energy instead of using charcoal and firewood. Informing students on the overall accelerating rate of climate change and how we can prevent such disastrous events. If we can change the minds of people who have access to incredible solar thermal power then surely we can develop safer practices to ensure the resurrection of planet earth? If we shift our perspective and educate then maybe we can transform the future for younger generations to come.
(Montessori school, Tanzania, 2021)
We begin our training here in Uganda, Kamuli with Plan International’s SmartUp factory which supports over 3,500 young individuals learning new skills which give them the opportunities to find employment or create their own businesses. The unemployment rate here in Uganda is 80% for youths so it is an incredible project to be part of, training 15 students how to bake with solar energy with Lytefire technology!
Working in synergy with Plan International, the GoSol team is providing profound knowledge of how to start and run your very own solar bakery business.
Our team for this project includes Lorin, Judith, Jared, Callum, Augustine, Nigel and myself and what an extraordinary team they are to complete such a rewarding training programme for these young adults to benefit from!
Follow our training adventures on social media for the entire project until spring 2022!