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Fellow Spotlight: Lydia Omuko


Lydia Omuko is a 2015 Climate CoLab Fellow in the Other Developing Countries’ Climate Action Plan contest. This contest is one of our newly released regional climate action plans, where members can combine proposals from other Climate CoLab contests to form a coherent set of actions that can be taken in each region (India, China, The United States, Europe, Other Developed Countries, and Other Developing Countries), and then work with modeling experts to estimate the plan’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions. We were lucky enough to talk to Lydia about her exciting role as a fellow for one of the new contests! 

Q: How did you hear about Climate CoLab and what inspired you to get involved as a Fellow?

Lydia is a fellow for the Other Developing Countries’ Climate Action Plan contest for 2015.

I read about CoLab from climate-l, a daily mailing list on climate change issues. I was immediately excited when I saw the project’s description because of the possible potential of the solutions proposed. I was also attracted by the fact that the programme raised awareness about climate change at the global level.

Q: What’s your background?

I am born and raised in Kenya. I am a lawyer, and a member of Kenyan bar association practicing constitutional law. I hold a Bachelor of Law Degree from Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (known as the Advocates Training Programme) from the Kenya School of Law. I am passionate about climate change issues, which led me to pursue a LLM in Climate Change Law and Policy at the University of Strathclyde in the UK. I’ve also decided to include climate change law and policy into my legal practice.

Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges of climate change and what solutions do you find most important?

The greatest challenge to climate change is lack of political will to address it. Countries and leaders are more concerned with the politics surrounding climate change rather than taking action or making political decisions. If you follow the negotiations at the international level, it is quite frustrating that every country is involved in power politics. For example, the U.S. saying it will not make a commitment unless China and India do so, while China says it won’t take action unless the U.S. provides financial support. Such politics leave us at a stalemate, without viable solutions. On the domestic level, climate change has not been in the political agenda for a long time, especially for developing countries.

Let’s start addressing climate change at the local level and build capacity. It need to be addressed at this level, so people realize how much it effects their everyday lives. An informed society may push their governments into taking action, and be inspired to act as an individual. If we wait for politicians to address climate change, we’ll be doomed.

Q: What climate change-related quote, graph, image or fact do you find most compelling?

My favorite quote is from Prince Ea’s (also known as Richard Williams) poem “Sorry” when he says:

“We must look at the root and not at the branches of government and not at politicians run by corporations. We are the root, we are the foundation, this generation, it is up to us to take care of the planet, it is our home. …We must globally warm our hearts and change the climate of our souls.”

Enter your proposal in one of the regional climate action plan contests for the opportunity to win cash prizes and present at MIT this fall!