Kenya's forests are in urgent need of a boost. After years of exploitation, indigenous trees now cover less than two per cent of the country, and this deforestation contributes to soil problems, flooding and habitat loss. When farmers do plant trees, they tend to be fast growing non-indigenous exotics like eucalyptus - bad news for Kenya's biodiversity. In the Rift Valley, Russell Beard meets a couple who are on a mission to set the country's forests on the road to recovery. Kenya Mutiso and his wife Helen encourage local landowners to plant indigenous, slow-growing trees alongside fast-growing exotics. This way they have a source of charcoal and timber, but the Kenyan species are left to reach grow and mature. These will provide a steady, renewable income as standing trees, supplying the farmers with non-timber forest products for cosmetic, culinary and medicinal purposes.
Australia is the world's driest inhabited continent, and in the past decade farmers have struggled with severe drought and unpredictable weather. A small company in South Australia has become the world's first commercial greenhouse to use seawater and solar energy to heat, cool, power and irrigate - an innovation that could help address the world's water crisis and transform farming. And the results are impressive - the crop yield is 15 to 30 times higher per hectare than conventional field production. Juliette Pearce visits Sundrop Farms.
A city surrounded by mountains and polluted by heavy car traffic, Los Angeles has been known for decades as the "Smog Capital of the United States". Back in 1970 when 15-year-old Andy Lipkis heard about the air pollution that was threatening the mountain forests near his hometown, he decided something had to be done about it. He rallied a group of like-minded supporters and set out to transform an area used as parking lot into a green space, by planting smog-tolerant trees on it. From these humble beginnings, Lipkis went on to found an NGO, TreePeople, and has since spearheaded numerous tree planting campaigns to help repair and restore urban environments. What began as one individual's mission to save his local forest has grown into one of North America's largest environmental organisations. As the founder of TreePeople, Andy Lipkis is one of earthrise's Local Heroes.
The energy and passion that Norwegians show for the greening of their cities is both remarkable and widespread. Unlike other countries where environmental concerns can sometimes be a niche activity, this is a way of thinking that has support across many sectors of society, from politicians of all persuasions to ordinary families. Sinead O'Shea travels to Norway's capital, Oslo, to meet people who are shifting their current lifestyle patterns to embrace a greener way of life.
Source: Al Jazeera