What you probably wont think about is tea. Yet a staggering 400,000 tonnes a year or 10% of all the world’s tea is produced there, making Kenya the world’s largest exporter. Here in Britain alone we drink 165 million cups of tea a day so the chances are that your cuppa will have been grown on a tea plantation over 2000 metres above sea level in central Kenya.
I’ve just returned from a week long press trip to Kenya looking at the work of the Rainforest Alliance in certifying tea both from large estates and small holders for companies like PG Tips, Liptons and Yorkshire Tea. Just over a third of the tea we buy in shops and supermarkets comes under their scheme- look out for their green frog logo on packets. READ MORE
I’ve just started a 10 month contract to show how climate change is affecting some of the world’s poorest people. I’m working for Practical Action, a development charity who tackle poverty by the innovative use of technology. Practical Action works in 13 countries around the world from Bangladesh to Zimbabwe and was founded by the radical economist E.F. Schumacher. His most famous work, Small is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered, was on the required reading list of books when I did my environmental studies degree. As that was 20 years ago (showing my age again) one of the tasks I’ve set myself is to reread his book to see if it offers any solutions to a banking crisis and global recession which has pushed many more poor people into poverty. READ MORE
Bumping into another naturalist in the dead of night can be a scary experience. Last night I was wandering around a deserted Sherwood forest on my own looking for nightjars. Im here on holiday and staying at the nearby Nottingham Centre Parcs. It was just after 10pm and I was beginning to worry I was lost when I came across a couple on the path. To be honest all sorts of things go through your head from the film the Blair Witch Project to, erm, nocturnal naturists looking for fun.
Today it will be 100 days since Dr Mohamed Waheed was sworn in as the new President of the Maldives following what his predecessor, Mohamed Nasheed, claims was a coup. With increasing international calls for early elections but Waheed adamant they cannot happen until July 2013, the troubled islands young democracy now hangs precariously in the balance.
For anyone who has never been to the Maldives, it is difficult to understand how bitter and personal the rivalries there are, even by political standards. At just over one and half kilometres wide, the capital Male is one of the most densely populated places in the world. It is home to a third of the islands 350,000 Sunni Muslims and most of the MPs have a home there. Consequently it’s like living in a political goldfish bowl.
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