Guest Post provided by Kiva
As the March for Science calls on our government this Earth Day to face the facts in its policy-making, a parallel movement to fight climate change is giving Americans a way to support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions around the world at www.Kiva.org/EarthDay
For many of us, who have long ago replaced our lightbulbs, put our thermostats on a timer, and perhaps even begun driving a hybrid or electric car, it can feel like there is little more we personally can do to fight climate change. While continuing to make marginal energy efficiency improvements in our own lives matters — after all, every little bit counts — a small investment in helping those in other parts of the world who are still forced to use the most polluting energy sources can provide more environmental bang for the buck.
Twenty percent of the world’s population — 1.3 billion people — continue to use unhealthy, polluting sources of energy such as kerosene, charcoal and diesel. Black carbon, for example, which is produced by kerosene cookstoves, may garner fewer headlines than C02, but it is the #2 culprit on the list of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. Yet even those who wish to make a change often can’t afford the upfront costs of a clean cookstove or switching to cleaner, renewable energy sources such as solar.
How You Can Help
Through Kiva, anyone with an Internet connection can make a green loan of as little as $25 to help families and small businesses install solar lighting systems, purchase clean cookstoves, distribute renewable energy products in rural areas, reduce household energy consumption and implement sustainable agricultural practices. Because Kiva microloans help replace the most damaging sources of greenhouse gas emissions, they have an outsized impact on climate.
One of the projects fundraising on Kiva right now will bring clean, solar energy to low-income households in Tanzania. You can help crowdfund the 0% interest $30,000 loan (https://www.kiva.org/lend/1279085) with as little as $25. This loan will help, Sikubora Limited distribute 100 more solar home systems, providing power to an additional 500 off-grid Tanzanians.
“When governments step back, Kiva’s lenders step up to fund grassroots solutions,” said Premal Shah, president and co-founder of Kiva, which has crowdsourced microloans for 2.5 million borrowers around the world. “When it comes to climate change, we all share the costs. The cost of doing something can be as little as $25. The cost of doing nothing is much higher.”
While the impact of replacing cookstoves and household lighting systems one by one may not sound big, the United Nations Environment Program estimates that replacing common lighting sources with energy-efficient, off-grid alternatives like rechargeable solar lamps will reduce carbon emissions by 74 million tons, annually.
Plus, because Kiva makes loans rather than donations, and 97 percent get paid back, lenders can reinvest their $25 to make a difference again and again, multiplying the impact of their investment.
To support a borrower on Kiva in honor of Earth Day visit www.Kiva.org/EarthDay
Kiva.org is the world’s first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. By lending at little as $25, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy and realize their potential. Loans as small as $25 are collected until the borrower’s full loan request is “crowdfunded.” Since 2005, Kiva and their growing global community of 1.6 million lenders have crowdfunded over $950 million in microloans to 2.5 million entrepreneurs in 86 countries, with a 97% repayment rate.
In this week leading up to Earth Day, Kiva is helping families get access to safe drinking water; afford solar lighting systems and clean-burning cookstoves; and implement sustainable agricultural practices. To learn more about how you can get the most environmental bang for your buck this Earth Day, visit www.Kiva.org/EarthDay