The Global Powershift in June 2013 was an eye-opener for me. In 2014 I joined with other colleagues from Kenya to host the Kenya Power Shift which brought together participants sharing their stories and aspirations. It was exciting to meet the 120 youth constituencies at the National Power Shift in Limuru Kenya. We came up with some action points that each individual was going to undertake in their communities, from holding their local governments accountable in climate programming to individual actions that can be undertaken by community members on climate justice.

Kenya Power Shift’s content ranged from the science and policy behind climate change to discussions of how to mobilize the public. Participants delved into how to address the complexities of the issues involved including adaptation, resilience, weather extremes, agriculture, new technologies, and renewables.

A recurring theme was the need to localize environmental issues and make them relevant to the public. Music and creative activism were an integral part of the week. Aspiring musicians energized and warmed participants between sessions. Longtime climate change activists spoke with depth about ties between community, environment, opportunity, and action. Kenya Power Shift participants sought to reinvigorate and grow the environmental movement in Kenya. 

Under the auspices of the Green Teams Initiative that I founded, I have been organizing various actions. In October 2016, 10 participants from Nairobi – Kenya and 10 participants from Stockholm – Sweden committed to living sustainably for 7 days in their respective daily life in cities. With the support from the most engaged persons from the Smart Living Challenge network and the Green Team Initiative, this was done in a way that met the relevant challenges and at the same time in an inspiring way combining technology, innovative drive and competence to encourage the development of urban lifestyles in which they saved money and improved their quality of life through sustainable solutions. The seven day challenge involved three categories;

MOVE SMARTER: This category is about smart movement of goods and/ or people both within and to and from the city. This involves new types of vehicles, collective solutions or more efficient use of existing modes of transport. Or solutions that add extra value to the present journeys and thus make them smarter and better both for the individual and the city as a whole. The participants in this category chose cycling, walking, jogging, use of public transport, carpooling, and improving fuel efficiency of ones vehicle through environment friendly fuel treatment.

LIVE SMARTER: There is a huge need for sustainable housing urban development. These are designs for housing that meets the demand for both a high quality of life and reduced environmental impact. The participants will explore solutions for smarter homes and housing. This involves smarter construction and renovation through use of new technology and materials. The participants in this category chose ideas that facilitate green energy production, consumption reduction, or solutions for interior design/decoration and recycling. 

EAT SMARTER: The participants in this category were challenged to come up with shorter means to get their food from field to their tables. They focused on things like innovative solutions for smart food and smarter food production, and solutions to reduce food wastage. Some of the ideas that participants involved themselves in were urban gardening, shorter food distribution methods, green eco-cycle solutions, or low-resource cooking technologies. They also inspired a conversation on smart packaging materials, or services that help consumers to choose smart food.

The challenge evolved into the Sustainability challenge in 2017, where over 100 participants took part and inspired the same actions to take place on over 18 cities globally. 

Other actions that have taken place are community policy discussions on climate change in Kenya with community leaders engaging county governments on climate change policy priorities where they have been demanding for participatory policy formulation and implementation. 

In 2021 we launched the Greening Climate Actions Programme that seeks to indigenize the climate discourse at community level. This is due to the fact that while a lot has happened, the climate change discourse remains an elitist discourse between Policy Makers, Scientists and Activists. We would like to change this to ensure that no one is left behind. The communities that are mostly affected and their members must be part of the discourse, in defining the policies that will address climate change, the actions that need to be undertaken and responsibility taken by the nations that have led to massive loss and damage at community level.

While we all need climate action by all, we still eternally demand the developed nations take responsibility for the damage they have caused at the receiving end are the poor countries and communities that bear the brunt of climate change. Climate Justice is a MUST. 

Through Green Teams Initiative we are doing our part and continue to seek for more partnerships to support our work. We forever remain indebted to the Global Power Shift in inspiring us to take on the discourse and some of the partnerships we created have enabled us to go on for this long. Much more is needed to be done for us to keep fossils underground, reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and demand for Justice for the countries that are mostly affected from the actions by the developed nations.


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