Winner of nearly two dozen best in category film festival awards, Carbon for Water has inspired audiences and policymakers across the globe with the story of Vestergaard’s innovative solution for improving the health of millions of Kenyans and the environment in which they live.
At dawn, nine-year-old Anzelma walks for miles in search of firewood. Many in her village have died from drinking dirty water, and firewood is a valuable commodity, used to boil water to make it safe. Anzelma’s small body bends under the heavy loads of wood balanced on her head, but she won’t stop. She knows her long journeys into the forest are crucial for her family’s survival.
Unsafe water claims more lives than war. In Kenya, water insecurity is a life-threatening reality, and the population is expected to leap from 40 million to 60 million in the next twenty years. Most of the country still depends on wood and charcoal for household energy, and forest cover is dwindling. At the same time, the climate is changing: rainfall is decreasing, river levels are low and water contamination is on the rise. In the fierce competition for shrinking resources, the most vulnerable are women and girls, who are responsible for finding water and fuel for their families.
Vestergaard is attempting to change this by providing 900,000 water filters to the people of Kenya’s Western Province, for free. LifeStraw Carbon for Water is the largest household water treatment program in the developing world, and it’s being financed with carbon credits earned through the reduction in use of firewood. If successful, it will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2 million tons per year for a decade or more. But it requires changing the habits of 4.5 million people first.
For more information on the program please visit LifeStraw Carbon for Water.
Carbon for Water premiered at the 2011 Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival in Toronto, winning Best International Short Film. It has gone on to win over twenty other awards, including Best Environmental Short Film at the 2012 Indie Spirit Film Festival; Best Environmental Sustainability Film at the 2012 Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival; EarthVision Environmental Short Award at the 2012 Santa Cruz Film Festival; Shortlist for The Nature Conservancy Environment and Conservation Award at the 2012 Wildscreen Festival; and Highly Commended at the Development and Climate Days Film Festival at COP17 in Durban.