ENJ Volume 1, 2021 (August)

Home|ENRC|Environmental Network Journal|ENJ Volume 1, 2021 (August)
Article No. 1

Small-Scale Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood Development: A Water-Energy-Food Security (WEF) Nexus Approach


Water, energy, and food security are interdependent and crucial to supporting human welfare and livelihoods. The lack of clean and affordable energy is a major underpinning factor to energy, water, and food insecurity for the rural poor, further undermining access to basic services and opportunities. Latin America has some of the world’s best renewable energy conditions. Still, 17 million people lack energy access due to living in rural off-grid locations in hard-to-reach areas, which further increase their water and food insecurity, and associated impoverishment. Therefore, this article aims to analyse small-scale rural renewable energy project’s potential in rural areas through the Water-Energy-Food security (WEF) nexus. The Wayuu people, an indigenous tribe in La Guajira, Colombia, have shown a favourable attitude to renewable energy deployment in past research projects and will therefore be used as an example of rural communities that would benefit from small-scale rural renewable energy. This article argues that small-scale rural renewable energy projects can create energy security, which subsequently will lead to water and food security in La Guajira, with the potential to improve the livelihoods of poor rural communities, especially in areas with vast wind and solar potential.

Article No. 2

Impacts of Climate Change on Men and Women in Kapchorwa and Manafwa Districts, Eastern Uganda


This paper investigates the impacts of climate change on men and women in the Mt. Elgon districts of Kapchorwa and Manafwa. Rapid rural appraisal and household survey methods were used to elicit information on patterns of climate change shocks, perception of vulnerability, impacts and adaptation strategies. The results indicated that while the impacts of climate change may be similar between men and women in general contexts, vulnerability to climate change is contextual and varies between men and women. Men and women’s perceptions of the impacts are also different and the adaptation strategies adopted by households in respect to the changes in climate are gendered and unsustainable. It is therefore recommended that climate adaptation policies and programmes aimed at promoting climate-smart adaptation interventions need to be tailored in recognition of the vulnerability perceptions and the differential gender roles, if men and women’s resilience to climate shocks is to be enhanced.

Article No. 3

Backyard Urban Agriculture in Qatar: Challenges & Recommendations

Shikha Patel; Theodora Karanisa; Mona Abdel Khalek

The last decade witnessed a return to traditional ways of farming that were, for decades, braced by technological advancement. Along with many countries around the world, Qatar manifests an interest in urban farming, encouraged by a strong political will to achieve food security. The plans set and implemented by the Qatari government, on both micro and macro levels, raised awareness around urban farming and inspired many urban households. In this study, a survey of 70 households practising backyard farming was performed to explore their particular challenges. A thorough literature review winds up with national scale challenges, raising issues common to urban farming in hot-arid regions. The research design follows a mixed qualitative method, which includes a literature review and semi-structured interviews. The synthesized data, shaped by an understanding of the national scale challenges and drawn from the interviews and surveys’ conclusions, is categorized into 4 themes: environmental, economic, regulative and social. The results showed that many macro-level challenges cascade down to the household/micro level. Under the environmental category, key findings include climatic challenges, non-viable organic farming problems, soil scarcity, and pollution. Economic challenges include the low return on investment in rent and labour, soil, fertilizers, and water costs. The public policy appeared to lag in areas of urban-farming subsidy, land-use policy, and food safety. Recommendations to abate challenges include national strategies to mitigate water and soil scarcity, land use policy upgrades, public health policies, suitable selections of agricultural systems, and farmers’ support.

Article No. 4

Development of Biomass Equations for Estimation of the Contribution of Five Dominant Shrub Species to Carbon Storage of Ngitilis in Pandagichiza Village, Shinyanga Rural District, Tanzania


This study was carried out to develop aboveground biomass estimation equations for five dominant shrub species of Combretum longispicatum, Anisotes dumosus, Abrus schimperi, Opilia amantacea, and Harrissonia abyssinica and estimating their contribution to the total carbon storage of four selected private ngitilis in Pandagichiza Village, Shinyanga Rural District. A destructive sampling approach was adopted whereby 40 individual shrubs for each species were harvested for the purpose of developing aboveground biomass models. Regression analysis was used to examine the relationships between the biomass and three field measurements of equivalent diameter at root collar (edrc), crown diameter (D) and top height (H) for both species-specific models and for a general shrubs biomass model. Results show that shrub aboveground biomass can be estimated using equivalent diameter at root collar (edrc) alone. The best fit models were found to have coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.90, 0.85, 0.92, 0.88, 0.94 and 0.84 for C. longispicatum, O. amantacea, A. dumosus, A. schimperi, H. abyssinica and general model respectively. The candidate models were validated using independent data and found to have acceptable bias of <10%, which is acceptable.  They can therefore be used to estimate aboveground biomass of the studied shrubs in the studied area. On the other hand, this study observed that there is a significant contribution of shrub species to aboveground biomass ranging from 4 to 18%. It is therefore recommended to include the shrub species in biomass studies for the ngitilis. Further research however, needs to be conducted to develop more species-specific shrub biomass models in the ngitilis of Shinyanga Rural District as well as in other areas.

Article No. 5

Solar Energy Within the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus: A Systematic Review


Since the Water-Energy-Food Security (WEF) nexus was officially established during the Bonn 2011 Conference, nexus research has grown rapidly. As a result, and due to its interdisciplinary nature, an array of academic literature now engages in the WEF nexus, often in seemingly separate disciplines. Solar energy is one of the most popular renewable energy sources; however, its role within the WEF nexus has only recently gained traction. Through a systematic review, this article examines the current state of knowledge regarding solar energy’s role within the WEF nexus, how solar energy impacts water, energy, and food (in)security, and its potential synergies and trade-offs within the WEF nexus. Accordingly, all the relevant English-language peer-reviewed publications from 2011 and onwards that focus on solar energy’s role within the WEF nexus are reviewed, followed by qualitative conventional content analysis. Four main themes emerge from the review and analysis process: general solar energy deployment, agrivoltaics, aquavoltaics and solar energy greenhouse desalination systems. This article shows that, although the current state of knowledge about solar energy’s role within the WEF nexus is sparse, solar energy creates great synergies regarding improving water, energy, and food security and has an overall positive impact within the WEF nexus. However, threats to local water sources remain a challenge since increased access to unregulated solar energy in areas without or with little previous access to energy can create water overuse, often due to extensive irrigation of food crops. On the other hand, agrivoltaics and aquavoltaics create strong synergies, and both offer water-efficient means of producing energy and food. However, aquavoltaics often undermine food production, while agrivoltaics impact on food production varies depending on what crops are grown and their location. Solar energy greenhouse desalination systems offer a way of creating self-sufficient food production but have only been examined on a small-scale level. All main research areas require more research to identify the full scope of solar energy’s role within the WEF nexus.

Language »