Dar es Salaam Cyclists Join “350” Global Day of Action on Climate Change

I left home as I do most mornings at about 07.30 on my bicycle. The bicycle, a Chinese made Pheonix, has become the work horse of many villages, towns and cities in Tanzania and across east Africa. Even in the city of Dar es Salaam with a population of over 4 million people bread, eggs and other goods are delivered by bicycle to our local shop in the suburb of Msasani. This very climate friendly supply chain contributes no doubt contributes to the very low 0.1 tons of carbon emitted per person per year by Tanzania (USA is over 20tons per person per year and most of Europe over 10 tons).  

Today instead of heading to the Oxfam office I set off for the centre of Dar es Salaam to join a cycle ride on the global day of climate action focused on the number 350. 350 parts per million is considered the safe level of carbon in the atmosphere if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. I arrived after about half an hour to find several hundred cyclists already gathered at the park near the Uhuru (Freedom) monument. Media were also present including East Africa TV who had a TV crew at the event and a presenter who joined the ride.

The event organized by UWABA was calling for safe cycling and a climate deal to ensure a safe planet.  Mejaah, One of the organizers, explained that “cycling is the transport of the future in this world where we cannot afford more carbon in the air.”

The large contingent of people with disabilities led the ride out of the park onto the main roads of Dar es Salaam using their hand driven tricycles. Hundreds of bicycles followed in a slow procession that went around the city for about two hours before returning to the park for speeches and handing out some raffle prizes of bicycles and cycling helmets.

Torrential rain that started half way through the ride and the Presidential motorcade did not deter the group, the motorcade having to slow down to get past the cheerful cyclists.

The cyclists continue to do their bit for climate change by promoting cycling in the city of Dar es Salaam and adding their voice to the national and international call for action on Climate Change. 

I got home to find no electricity, common problem with hydro electric production down due to low water levels in dams, perhaps a consequence of climate changes, and a general lack of investment in energy infrastructure. Tanzania certainly is not contributing much to carbon emissions and needs more energy to meet development targets, lets home it can be clean energy. For now I am just glad my laptop battery has lasted long enough to type this.

You can take action on climate change now.

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