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Janet Machuka

Clean Energy healed my mother

Janet Machuka was very active in the Clean Energy Now campaign in Kenya.

The Clean Energy Now campaign calls on leaders to provide clean, renewable and decentralised energy solutions to Kenya. Here Janet talks about the impact of burning fossil fuels on her life.

I was born in a village where we could only afford to go to the forests and fetch firewood as little kids. We never knew what electricity was. Paraffin was our source of light as we lit our grass-thatched houses with the little lamps. The sun was only used for drying our maize. We never knew it could be used to produce electricity, so we continued our habits of cutting down trees to light and warm our houses.

Dark smoke from the fuels left us constantly visiting the hospital as my mama is asthmatic and the smoke from the firewood and coal impacted her health every time she cooked.

In primary school we learnt about renewable and non-renewable sources of energy. Back then, those lessons were just for the classroom. We continued to live our day to day lives whilst our health continued to be impacted by the fossil fuels in our village.

But as we grew older, we took those lessons more seriously and made a conscious decision to invest in the necessary changes to our everyday lives. Now, my mama uses energy from a solar panel to light our homes at night, and prepares our meals in a cleaner environment thanks to our gas cooker.

Clean Energy Now

Earlier this year I joined my fellow Kenyans in a cycling campaign calling on our leaders to give us “Clean Energy Now”. The campaign encouraged all to support the use of green energy that reduces a number of risks both to human beings, animals and vegetation in the world.

Solar, wind, and biogas together with hydroelectric energy should be embraced by each and every one of us – but this will require money. Money that could come from the biggest high street banks in the UK.

The Big Shift

Ask your bank to help combat climate change.

There is no longer time for any ignorance about climate change. Fossil fuels continue to put our health and livelihoods at risk, but it’s time for us to save and protect the planet that we are left with.

You and I have a task to demand the Big Shift to cleaner energy and act as the advocates for change in our areas. There are plenty of safer energy options available from the sun and wind, so we should encourage investment in such forms of renewable energy.

It is up to you and me to put our words into actions. Let us pull our efforts together to build a human friendly environment.