One of Africa’s biggest cities could run out of water by September

July 25, 2017 by  
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Kenya’s capital city, Nairboi , is dangerously low on water . The city, home to around 3.4 million people, has been rationing water since January 1, but it may not be enough. 60 percent of residents already don’t have reliable water – and the city could run dry by September. Nairobi’s water issues stem back in part to two low rainy seasons. The October to December 2016 rains amounted to only 10.5 inches of water, compared with the 27.5 inches or so expected. The March to May 2017 rains were late, arriving at last in May, but only poured down around 17.3 inches when around 39 inches were expected. Related: 70% of Bolivian residents lack sufficient water amid worst drought in 25 years “Nairobi used to be a swamp but is no longer behaving like one. Our underground rivers have dried up,” engineer Lucy Njambi Macharia of the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company said. The city’s water company now distributes just around 105,668,821 gallons of water a day – when the city needs around 92,460,218 gallons more than that. Experts aren’t without ideas on how to solve the problem. Rainwater harvesting on buildings, “deliberate efforts to cause groundwater recharge,” and pumping treated wastewater back into the ground are among potential solutions. But experts say the most crucial solution is to care for the land. Soil and water conservation from farmers are pieces of the puzzle – and the city could provide incentives so farmers work against erosion . There are already organizations tackling the dilemma. Nairobi Water Fund’s water fund manager Fred Kihara told The Guardian, “Working with 15,000 farmers, we’ve increased water to Nairobi by 27,000 cubic meters a day. Most is terracing, sediment trapping, 200,000 trees a season. The deal is you can keep the soil on your land with this good quality Napier grass that we supply you.” Deputy director general of the World Agroforestry Center Ravi Prabhu seems hopeful. He told The Guardian, “There is growing political will, and investments have started to flow. What is required is social capital from watershed to water user, and this situation could be turned around.” Meanwhile, the Vatican today shut down 100 historic water foundations in solidarity with Rome, according to The Guardian , which also faces crippling water shortages. Rationing in Italy’s capital has left many residents without water for up to eight hours a day. It’s a growing trend that affects all of us – we must be proactive. Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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One of Africa’s biggest cities could run out of water by September

Oldest living manatee in captivity, Snooty, dies at age 69

July 25, 2017 by  
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Grab your tissues, folks. A 1,300-pound manatee named Snooty recently passed away after celebrating his 69th birthday. In the wild, manatees are fortunate to live into their teens, which is partly why the elder marine mammal was beloved by so many. According to the South Florida Museum, Snooty’s death was accidental and that the circumstances are being investigated. Snooty was born in captivity in 1948 — before laws were passed to protect marine wildlife . Every year, a party was thrown to celebrate the manatee’s birthday. This year, thousands of people traveled from all over to visit the celebrity mammal. Regarding Snooty’s untimely death, the museum said in a press release, “Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. Early indications are that an access panel door that is normally bolted shut had somehow been knocked loose and that Snooty was able to swim in. Snooty’s habitat undergoes a daily visual inspection and there were no indications the previous day that there was anything amiss. The Aquarium will remain closed while Museum staff continues its investigation and staff who worked with him have an opportunity to grieve.” In 2015, the manatee was certified as the world’s oldest captive manatee by the Guinness World Records . Just a handful of years prior, he gained notoriety when his life history made him one of the most renowned stewards for endangered species and the environment. Following the manatee’s death, the museum posted on their Facebook page, saying: “We know that our community and Snooty fans around the world share our grief.” (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); The South Florida Museum is deeply saddened to share the news that our beloved Snooty has died. Snooty’s death was a… Posted by South Florida Museum on  Sunday, July 23, 2017 Via BayNews9 Images via Sarasota Herald Tribune , Wikimedia Commons

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Oldest living manatee in captivity, Snooty, dies at age 69

New Traveler XL Limited tiny house can comfortably sleep up to 10 people at once

July 25, 2017 by  
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This tiny home on wheels features a surprisingly spacious interior that can sleep up to 10 people. The new Escape Traveler XL Limited comes with two bedrooms, 344 cleverly-designed square feet, and it can go completely off the grid with solar panels, battery storage and composting toilets. The Traveler XL Limited features the modern, clean design of the original, but offers much more space and a wide array of functions and amenities. Based on a triple-axle trailer, the Traveler XL Limited measures 30 feet (9.1 meters)-long and has a total floorspace of 344 square feet (32 square meters). Related: Georgia couple convert old Blue Bird school bus into a cozy home on wheels It features larger windows and optional extras like a sofa bed, a pop-up TV, and Blu-ray player. The kitchenette includes a range cooker and sink, which the bathroom includes a 5-foot-long tub and shower, toilet, and cabinet, with an optional washer/dryer. The new Traveler XL Limited can accommodate up to ten people, assuming a few of those are kids. The design also offers off-grid options with the standard solar package packing a 500 W solar panel array, linked to an upgradable 200 Ah battery storage. A standard RV hookup is also available, as are composting and non-composting toilets. The Traveler XL Limited starts at US$78,500. + Escape Traveler Via New Atlas

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New Traveler XL Limited tiny house can comfortably sleep up to 10 people at once

7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa

June 14, 2017 by  
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Gallivanting across Africa in search of majestic and fascinating wild animals is at the top of many people’s bucket lists, and thankfully, there are more ways than ever to safari with an eco-friendly and socially conscious mindset. We found seven safari lodges that were created with heavy consideration for conservation and community: the only heavy footprint left is that of a gentle, gigantic elephant as he passes by. Chem Chem Safari Lodge This Tanzanian lodge , located within the Burunge Wildlife Management Area, prides itself on a “slow safari” ethos, with options including wilderness picnics, walking safaris with a private guide, and lessons in identifying wildlife tracks, as well as meetings with the lodge’s anti-poaching team . The tent-style suites and main house toe the line between rustic and glamorous and were crafted to bring to mind vintage safari lodges. A pool, spa , gourmet restaurant, and viewing tower make returning after a day of flamingo watching and safari-going a little easier. Greystoke Mahale Operated by Nomad Tanzania , one of East Africa’s original safari companies, Greystoke Mahale will make visitors feel as if they have ventured to a magical place where beaches, forests, and mountains exist in harmony. The native chimps are the main attraction here, but with the beach of Lake Tanganyika at your feet and Mahale Mountains behind you, it’s an ideal location for exploring waterfalls, swimming, and having kayaking adventures. Image © Exploring Tourism Zimbabwe Pamushana Lodge Pamushana Lodge , part of the conservation-focused Singita resorts family, has won multiple Leading Safari Lodge awards, and this Zimbabwe retreat gives back in a major way. As the ecotourism arm for a 130,000-acre reserve, Singita manages the lodge on behalf of an environmental trust: all proceeds from the lodge benefit conservation and community partnership efforts. The local culture is honored in small ways, such as the beaded and adorned throw pillows , as well are more dramatic ways, including the preservation of a diversity of habitats from grasslands to broad-leaf forests. Related|Solar-powered safari lodge is a gorgeous green retreat in Botswana Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Not that you could ever get tired of seeing the usual suspects (giraffes, elephants, rhinos, lions, etc.) in real life, but the Grootbos Nature Reserve in South Africa offers alternate experiences including a marine safari to see the marine Big 5, a botanical 4 x 4 tour, or shark cage diving. The land is home to 791 plant species , including 100 endangered plant species, and milkwood forests that are over 1000 years old. Duba Plains Part of the Great Plains Conservation Camps, Duba Plains opened in March 2017, but it is already gaining a following for both its conservation and environmental stewardship as well as its proximity to plentiful wildlife (lions and buffalo are common sights). The rooms at the camp, located in Botswana ’s Okavango Delta, were built on recycled railway sleeper decking to provide prime and varied animal viewing access. Campi Ya Kanzi The only safari lodge on a 283,000 Maasai -owned reserve, Camp Ya Kanzi (aka Camp of the Hidden Treasure) shouldn’t remain hidden to you or your fellow safari adventurers: the expansive view of Kilimanjaro is reason enough to plan your visit. Stay in a tented cottage or tented suites or rent an entire private villa with a swimming pool supplied by rainwater . Image © SteppesTravel UK Camp Nomade Camp Nomade , located in Zakouma National Park in Chad , is exclusive in more ways than one: it’s only available from mid-December to mid-April each year when the park dries up, and can only host a maximum of eight visitors per week. With 360-degree views and the feeling of being plopped down in the middle of all the safari action, lucky visitors can look for buffalo, elephants , lions, leopards, baboons, and more. Lead image via Camp Nomade

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7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa

Solar-powered Farm From a Box is a compact farm kit that feeds 150 people

December 28, 2016 by  
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Two acres of land is enough to farm a sustainable food supply for as many as 150 people, and now a San Francisco startup is making it even easier to get that farm growing. Farm From a Box is a shipping container kit that holds all the essentials for setting up a two-acre farm (except the land, of course). Founders Brandi DeCarli and Scott Thompson got the idea after working on a youth center in Kenya where shipping containers were being used to substitute where infrastructure lacked. That project didn’t address food insecurity , though, which led DeCarli and Thompson to found their own venture specifically for that purpose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlcijvWRJGU Farm From a Box is a kit designed to make it easier for all types of organizations to start growing sustainable food . Nonprofit humanitarian agencies, schools, community groups, and even individuals can buy a $50,000 kit, which comes with a complete water system including a solar-powered pump and drip irrigation system. Together, those features help conserve water by using it more efficiently, delivering water directly to the roots of growing plants. All of the kit’s components are solar-powered, so the kit also includes 3 kW of solar energy capacity which is enough to power the water pump as well as WiFi connectivity that makes it possible to monitor the farm conditions remotely. Because the built-in solar power technology generates more than enough energy to power the farm’s equipment, the farm is suitable to run completely off the grid. Related: Top 10 cities in the US for urban farming All the prospective farmer needs to have is viable land, of course, and seeds. Luckily, the Farm From a Box team realizes that farming is largely about skill and science, so the kit also includes three stages of training materials on sustainable farming, farm technology and maintenance, as well as the business of farming. In a recent interview with Smithsonian Magazine, DiCarli explained that the farm kit was designed to “act as a template” and that it’s possible to “plug in” components that specifically fit the farm’s local climate and the farmers’ needs. Those options include internal cold storage, to help preserve crops between harvest and consumption or sale, and a water purification system, if needed. So far, Farm From a Box has deployed one prototype at Shone Farm in Sonoma County, California. A project of Santa Rosa Junior College, the farm is part of a larger outdoor laboratory in which students learn how to cultivate crops in drought conditions, and then the harvest is used to supply the farm’s own community-supported agriculture (CSA) program as well as the college’s culinary arts program. DiCarli said the Shone Farm prototype turned out to be “more efficient than we had even planned,” with “really high” production and energy output. Farm From a Box has a number of other potential sites lined up already, in Ethiopia, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan, as well as additional test farms in California and a veteran-partnered site in Virginia. Via Smithsonian Magazine Images via Farm From a Box

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Solar-powered Farm From a Box is a compact farm kit that feeds 150 people

New SafariSeat wheelchairs made from bicycle parts help East Africans roam rough terrain

October 20, 2016 by  
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One in 200 people in East Africa need wheelchairs , but don’t yet have them. SafariSeat has developed an all-terrain, open source wheelchair that could allow those people to live their lives with more independence. Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter , SafariSeat hopes to use money collected to build more wheelchairs and create a manual with the open source designs. SafariSeat wheelchairs are inexpensive and can be made with bicycle parts. They’re designed to be built and repaired in developing countries . A mechanism that imitates car suspension keeps all four wheels on the ground so users can navigate difficult terrain easily. The wheelchair is designed to minimize pressure sores, and rolls via pump levers that a rider can use. Related: Google.org awards $20 million to groups developing tech for people with disabilities Designer Janna Deeble was raised in Kenya , and met a Samburu man named Letu as a child. Polio left Letu disabled and dependent on other people. But the difficulty of Letu’s condition really hit home when Deeble himself was wheelchair-bound after an accident in design school. Deeble went back to Kenya to create SafariSeat, working with a team and with local workshops. The SafariSeat wheelchair has granted Letu independence, and now he’s able to teach his son the Samburu way of life. Deeble and his team want to create a pictograph manual that a person can use no matter what language they speak. Their goal is for local workshops to build the wheelchairs, creating jobs and allowing locals to repair the wheelchairs. They note on their Kickstarter page that while wheelchair donations can help people for a time, when the chairs break there’s often no way to repair them. SafariSeats are designed to be made with locally accessible parts and repaired in basic workshops. SafariSeat is the first project of social enterprise Uji, and they are crowdfunding on Kickstarter so more people can access the innovative wheelchair. With just under a month to go, they’ve raised over $24,000. Their goal is $36,889. You can back the campaign here . + SafariSeat + SafariSeat Kickstarter Campaign Images courtesy of SafariSeat

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New SafariSeat wheelchairs made from bicycle parts help East Africans roam rough terrain

Rare, one-horned rhinos death terminates two-year zero-poaching streak in Nepal

September 8, 2016 by  
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A rare, one-horned rhinoceros died this week after being shot by poachers in Nepal . The death restarts the clock on the country’s two-year streak of successfully preventing rhino poaching deaths, prompting officials to consider increasing security outside the boundaries of national parks. On Tuesday, an adult male rhino reportedly succumb to his injuries after weeks of medical care at the Chitwan National Park . The endangered animal was found shot in a forest in southern Nepal in August and had started to show signs of improvement, yet the hope that he would recover from his injuries was shattered this week. Related: First baby rhino born in 25 years under community care in Kenya In May, Nepal had celebrated two years free of poaching-related rhino deaths in May of this year. The World Wildlife Fund reports there are 645 one-horned rhinos living in the country today, thanks to a coordinated national effort to patrol national parks, using software to locate poaching hot spots, and improving raid procedures. The penalty for rhino poaching in Nepal is a maximum prison term of 15 years and a fine of 100,000 rupees ($1,000 USD). Via Phys.org Images via Wikimedia , Pixabay

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Rare, one-horned rhinos death terminates two-year zero-poaching streak in Nepal

M-KOPA hooks up Kenya’s off-grid residents with solar-powered TVs

August 3, 2016 by  
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In areas of the world lacking reliable grid power, access to information can also be spotty. Now, residents of Kenya can keep tabs on world news and entertainment with solar-powered digital flat screen TVs from M-KOPA Solar . The company launched a payment program earlier this year to help its customers do something they never dreamed of: own a TV. After two years of payments, they can own the flat screen as well as the solar power system that runs it, so they can enjoy hours of TV-watching without a monthly bill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZjN62oFwsU M-KOPA is a pay-as-you-go solar provider based in Kenya. Based on survey results from the Kenya Audience Research Foundation 2015, the company realized that many of its customers don’t have access to TV on a daily basis. Sixty-nine percent of Kenya ’s adult population either don’t have electricity or cannot afford a TV set. A solar-powered flat screen is the perfect solution to help close the gap. Customers can make payments from their mobile phones and, after two years, they own the solar power system and the TV, so they can continue watching news and programming without further costs. Related: More than half of Kenya’s electricity will come from solar power by 2016 In order to broaden the reach of the program, M-KOPA leaned on its existing relationship with mobile provider Safaricom, which began in 2010. M-KOPA’s residential solar power systems, along with the solar-powered TVs, will be sold through Safaricom retail stores. This arrangement makes it possible to connect millions of people to sustainable solar power in areas underserved by (or not connected to) the grid, in addition to putting TVs in the homes of people who likely never thought they could afford one. “Owning a TV is life-changing for our off-grid customers,” M-KOPA CEO Jesse Moore said in a statement . “Many of them have traditionally had to pay to watch in a café or bar, or missed out on news and current events because they could not afford to be connected to information. We are now going beyond the grid to offer TV to homes all over Kenya. It’s great for the family to be able to watch together in the comfort and safety of their home.” Via Disrupt Africa Images via M-KOPA Solar

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M-KOPA hooks up Kenya’s off-grid residents with solar-powered TVs

Kenyan drivers finally escape an epic 3-day traffic jam

November 23, 2015 by  
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Next time you’re crawling down the freeway at 7 miles an hour, just be glad you’re not trying to get to Nairobi in Kenya. Drivers along the highway from Mombasa to Nairobi were caught in a 30-mile tailback that lasted three full days. The highway was undergoing repairs after heavy rains, causing traffic headed toward Nairobi to come to a complete standstill near the town of Taru. Read the rest of Kenyan drivers finally escape an epic 3-day traffic jam

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Kenyan drivers finally escape an epic 3-day traffic jam

Mollusc is a tent that opens and closes like the hood of a stroller

November 9, 2015 by  
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Mollusc is a completely new kind of tent that opens and shuts like the worlds biggest pram hood. If the weather is good, draw back the entire canopy and bask in the sun, then if the rain comes in pull the roof back over, clip it down and be ready for any storm. With the Mollusc you can turn an interior space into an exterior space (and vice versa) in 3 seconds. So now you can watch those shooting stars from your sleeping bag then close the tent when the show is over, or catch that dawn from within your tent with a cup of coffee in your hand and your head on the pillow. The Standard Mollusc is 3 meters high and 6 meters in diameter and the Nano Mollusc is 1.6 meters high and 3 meters in diameter. To compensate for the climatic and environmental footprint of making it, 100 trees are planted in Kenya for every tent made. + Mollusc Tents The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Mollusc is a tent that opens and closes like the hood of a stroller

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