24.2 Climate investments as a tool for community development

Markus Paulsson , TEM at Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Reine Karlsson , TEM at Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Full Papers
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  • Climate investments as a tool for community development

    Markus Paulsson, markus.paulsson@tem.lu.se, +46 46 165855 and

    Reine Karlsson, TEM at Lund University

    Densely populated areas in the third world, like Lusaka in Zambia, has experienced immense urban migration that is manifest in the unplanned settlements known as peri-urban areas or compounds. In addition to the questionable human living conditions, the life styles under such circumstances tend to result in ineffective and inefficient use of energy and resources, and serious environmental impacts. The use of charcoal and the collection wood tend to result in deforestation and the ineffective ways or burning the fuel results in considerable air pollution and a very high global warming effect, in relation to the quantity of energy that is being made useful, e.g. for cooking.

    One of the most challenging issues currently being faced is the availability of basic social services like access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and solid waste collection. The water supply, sanitation and solid waste management infrastructure is currently unable to sustain the increasing population in many parts of the evolving megacities. The national and local governments usually do not have the means to supply the necessary services. In many cases the influx of inhabitants is greater than the development of the services, leading to a lack of basic services. In many overcrowded settlements there is an acute shortage of clean water and reliable energy supply and a long-term risk for escalating environmental degradation, including litter, pollution, contamination and human health problems.

    The climate change and even more the total global development require that we change our way of living into a more renewal oriented and sustainable way of living and thinking. Change must come in many forms, in society, at a personal level and also changes in technology. This paper explores how the introduction of new technology can be used as an effective tool to augment infrastructural and societal development processes in local communities. The global warming is a symptom of ineffectiveness and inefficiency. It is caused by mismanagement of resources and energy flows. The mismanagement is most obvious in poorly developed settlements.

    Improvements of motivation and improvements in a wider systems perspective can be included in the cost benefit assessments of technical investments, as a mean to promote a more effectual development process. Collaboration with carbon trade and socially responsible organizations can help to provide an extra thrust for socially and environmentally favourable investments.

    The material presented describes an action research case study as a part of an UNICEF development project in Lusaka, Zambia and also relates to experiences from small-scale bio-energy developments, on the Swedish countryside.

    Community development and empowerment of the local people is recognised as an important development mechanism to improve the situations in poor urban areas. To lift the inhabitants from being “victims” of the circumstances they need to be involved in the community as a way to raise the standard of living, since the government cannot help the whole population. The way to empower the people is to give them control of the neighbourhood as a mean to motivate them to care and to take responsibility for the community.

    The Lusaka project includes development of a competence centre aiming to build local knowledge and motivation. The paper analyses how the dialogue about the new bioenergy technology can be used as a way to create changes in the local everyday life. The new technology gives opportunity and knowledge on alternative ways of how to handle solid waste at an individual level. It also enables improvements of water quality, health status and employment in the local community. It is also a considerable environmental improvement when the waste-based bio-energy replaces the widely used burning of charcoal for cooking. The smoke from charcoal is not only harmful to health, but also has a global warming effect. By not using charcoal as fuel many hectares of productive forests can be saved which improves the local environment and decreases the global warming. A fairly small investment in bio-energy production can facilitate a deeply needed municipality development process.