Climate change and environmental degradation

We got back from our field trip by 6 – just time for a quick shower and then off to another dinner, sponsored by WWF at a rather smart hotel on the coast!

The visit was worth the discomfort of the journeys, to see the rural landscape, and to meet the people of the coastal villages which are within the Saadani National Park – designated only a few years ago. The villagers are struggling, with changes that are attributable partly to changing climate, such as wind patterns, but probably more due to environmental degradation, such as cutting of the mangrove trees for charcoal in past decades. Loss of mangroves has led both to coastal erosion, leading to loss of people’s houses, and reduced fish catches; mangroves are the breeding grounds for prawns and many species of fish. A further major problem, whose causes are a bit harder to understand, is why the well water is now saline, rendering it far from ideal for domestic uses, and it has to be boiled for drinking – using even more fuelwood. These people were looking to government to help them – with new boats to enable them to access deep sea fish, and other options for earning a living.

(Besides our field visit, we were lucky enough to have time for a swim, and a ‘game drive’ in our rather rickety bus, over tracks definitely more suited to 4WD vehicles than minibus. We saw giraffes, wildebeest, hartebeest, baboons and warthogs, definitely the icing on the day’s cake!)

Leave a reply