On September 21st of this year, Nicaragua signed the Paris Climate Agreement. Originally, Nicaragua had abstained out of principle: poor countries like Nicaragua were being asked to shoulder the burden of lowering carbon emissions (Nicaragua produces 0.03% of global carbon emissions, while countries like the U.S. produce twenty times as much). Also, Nicaraguan negotiators felt that the measures to slow the rising global temperatures didn’t go far enough.
However, in reaction to U.S. President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Nicaragua decided to sign in order to show solidarity with other countries. This leaves only two countries, the U.S. and Syria, who have not signed the Agreement.
Since 2005, Nicaragua has been working diligently to take advantage of its natural resources to reduce its carbon footprint. Nicaragua currently uses geothermal plants, hydroelectric dams, solar panels, and wind turbines to produce energy. As of last year, nearly 50% of Nicaragua’s energy was being produced by alternative energy sources. The goal is to reach 90% by 2020. In the future Nicaragua may be exporting electricity to other Central American countries.
There are still some roadblocks, however. Transportation (and therefore, trade) is still very much dependent on gas and diesel. Also, cattle ranching and mining is ravaging Bosawas, Nicaragua’s largest natural reserve, also known as “the lung of Central America.” Add to that the fact that most Nicaraguans cook over fire, and you have a serious deforestation problem.
Here at SCSRN we are doing our part to help Nicaragua reach its goals to protect the environment. Over the past three years, we have collaborated with United Solar Initiative to install solar panels in rural schools in communities where there is no electricity. These schools use the systems to light classrooms for adult classes in the evenings and to charge cell phones. This year, we’ve partnered with Fundación Denis Gonzalez López and Ecoenergias to install 40 improved wood stoves in the homes of rural families. These stoves burn efficiently in order to greatly reduce the amount of wood needed to cook, as well as reducing the families’ exposure to smoke and high temperatures. Participating families are also working to re-forest around their homes in order to produce the firewood that is needed for cooking, eliminating the need for continued deforestation.
We’re proud to be a part of local efforts to reduce deforestation and promote environmental conservation. Here in San Ramón, all you have to do is look around to realize how precious our natural resources are, and how precarious their existence. Hopefully, this awareness will become global before it’s too late.