Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Exhibition Online

Ancient Baobabs Tower above an island deep in the Jakotsha Trust Conservation Area in the Okavango Delta.  This Baobab below is dying as the ecosystem that supported it for at least a thousand years changes.

Elephants like this family herd  on the Maramba River in Zambia are already ranging across borders.  These elephants trundled down to the river from the Zimbabwe side, drank their fill and moved on into Zambia as the sun set.

The Omaruru River in flood in Namibia.  This year Namibia experienced more than twice its normal rainfall in many areas of the country.  This image was taken from a road that almost never floods. More variability in climate can be expected as Southern Africa warms.

A Zebra ranges across the Torra Conservancy in Namibia at sunset.  The conservancy is one of the best run in the country, and allows local communities to benefit from tourists, helping finance the protection of of this ecosystem, as well as lions, elephants, giraffe, rhino, and even this one lone Zebra.

Another path winds into the distance at the Tora Conservancy in Namibia.  This year the grass grew over the rocky soil, and turned this desert landscape into a garden.  If Humanity to is to survive the coming changes, then we will have to embark on another path, one that sees us as custodians of our environment.

A true-to-color thunderstorm rolls into the Damaraland area of Namibia, lit by the setting sun.  As southern Africa’s climate warms, violent thunderstorms, searing droughts and more variable weather is predicted.

A typical high-veld thunderstorm rolls across the grasslands of the Cradle of Humankind, near Johannesburg South Africa.  New discoveries here highlight the evolution of our species here in Africa.  Today, Africans are part of a global solution that will hopefully see our species continue to thrive in the face of climate change.

The power of nature reigns after a downpour over the springtime landscape at Golden Gate National Park on the border between Lesotho and South Africa.

The Namib Desert Above Gobabeb Trai

Oom Pieter Bees, 76 from the Topnaar Community in Namibia’s Namib Desert.  “The Climate here has changed, when I was younger we used to have many more wet years”.

Piet Kruger, a Baviaanskloof Farmer who has sold his sheep and is replanting his farm with Spekboom bushes. In his gravelly voice looking out over his farm before a big storm system rolls in, he  says: “If I can farm buffalo, or elephants, or just the wild bushveld I will be happy, but I don’t think we will ever farm again here like we used to.  We have to change”.

Many people work planting spekboom in the western part of the Baviaanskloof.  At Zevenfontien (Seven Fountains) Community Farm in the western Bavianskloof Mountains community elder Jacob Deinaar Van Mathews talks to Hans vin Voegue in Jacob’s house on the farm.  Hundreds of people live on the farm and some of them find work restoring the landscape by planting spekboom.

Topnaar Communities in the Namib Desert are getting assistance from the Gobabeb Training and Research Center in how to evaluate their livestock, so they can make more informed decisions.  Only through education can small communities adapt to climate change.

In the north of Zambia near the town of Mpika the ladies of the Mupumbishi Women’s Club help each other sort out their seed grain for their next bean crop.  Beans and other legumes like peanuts are one of the main elements of Conservation Farming.  There are more than 300,000 Conservation farmers in the country.

Near Mchinji in Malawi small farmers are working in conservation farming methods as a way to adapt to Climate Change.  Eight year old Brian Phiri holds up a bowl full of peanuts.  Conservation farming has changed his life, since now his family has enough money to send him to school.

Max Thokabotshabelo, a community guide from the Okavango Delta in Botswana, poles his Makoro canoe through the papyrus as night falls.  In the distance a hippo grunts, and the swish of the grass past the Makoro blends with the rising sound of night insects.  “Nature is the best for relieving stress” says Max.

Johanna Swartz runs a team of Spekboom planters in the Baviaanskloof on contract for the Gamtoos Irrigation Board, with help from the NGO Living Lands.
“There is a great change in my life, because all the things I needed and can’t buy before, I can buy them now. I don’t struggle with money any more.  Now there are opportunities I would grab, too, things that I love”.

This is an online version of the exhibition  Creating A Climate For Change, which is currently touring South Africa. It was made possible through a grant from the Open Society of Southern Africa and the Open Society Foundation For South Africa.

No comments:

Post a Comment