Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Creating A Climate For Change

Open Society Journalism Fellow Jeffrey Barbee journeyed through Southern Africa to discover locally driven projects that are helping people adapt to Climate Change.

This 30 minute documentary delivers a highly visual and exciting report on these adaptations utilizing scientific data, interviews with project leaders, local farmers and researchers from around region.

Scientific data from South Africa's Center for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR) underpins dramatic scenery and personal testimony in this visual tour of Southern Africa most beautiful and fragile landscapes.

Apart from expanding our understanding of Climate Change, this film illustrates in large strokes that adaptation in one the worst affected areas is possible and that the world can sometimes look to Africa for answers to some of the biggest challenges we face.

The Desert Research Foundation of Namibia is one of the oldest research stations in the region based at the foot of an ancient desert ecosystem where African scientists are studying and developing grassroot adaptations to Climate Change.

In the Baviaanskloof of South Africa the government, civil groups and local communities have joined forces to replant vast areas of the shrub Spekboom. This restores the water in the area, and also generates financial benefits through the carbon market creating a sustainable cycle of renewal that ultimately finances itself, creates jobs, and secures scarce water resources for future generations.

In the North of Zambia the benefits of conservation farming have come at a time when the rainfall has become more erratic. The country, through a public private partnership with the Conservation Farming Unit, has 300,000 farmers working in conservation agriculture. This system helps farmers adapt to climate change, increasing food security dramatically and supporting the livelihoods of more than a million people.

On a regional level, the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) focuses on the health of two large watersheds that straddle five countries' borders. It provides a striking example of a multi-national conservation approach that cascades the problem of water security in a time of climate change up to a regional level where international agreements like this ambitious project are vital for sharing and securing resources for everyone's benefit.

This film illustrates that there is hope here in Africa and helps create a climate for change in the way we see ourselves -from consumers, to caretakers of nature.

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