When the mangroves started to die, Magongo Lawrence Manje knew something
For generations, his 12,000-person community in the coastal Kilifi
district in Kenya depended upon Mtwapa Creek's marine ecosystem for its
livelihood, but climate change has increased droughts in their region and
altered life as they know it.
With less rain, mangroves died, leaving coastlines bare, and without the
mangroves to prevent erosion and maintain salinity, fish and other marine
life couldn't breed. And as the plants, trees, and fish disappeared,
farmers and fishermen had nothing to sell at market.
Magongo, who is the outreach coordinator for the Kwetu Training Center,
describes how this chain reaction has affected people's everyday lives:
"People employed in livestock and crop-growing ... lose their jobs and
bread basket. Fishermen are no longer getting enough catch to sustain
their families, which results [in] poor nutrition. At the same time,
students cannot go to school due to lack of fees and hunger."
All this, because the mangroves disappeared. Because of climate change.
Amid these sobering facts, however, Magongo's community has hope. Funded
in part by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Kwetu
Training Center is teaching the community environmental conservation
techniques and helping them reclaim their livelihoods through sustainable
methods. Their solutions include:
* Establishing replacement mangrove nurseries and protecting the few
remaining mangrove forests.
* Introducing fish and prawn farming to generate income. Community youth
play a major role by constructing fish and prawn ponds to increase
* Implementing beekeeping, organic farming, solar drying and other
eco-friendly activities that bring in revenue and improve the community's
standard of living.
Magongo and his team at Kwetu are a terrific example of people taking
individual action to adapt to climate change.
But as Magongo said to us, everyone must educate their communities on
climate change and its direct effects. Otherwise, the forests and marine
life they depend on will become a thing of the past.
Do you have a story like Magongo's? What are YOU losing because of climate
change? Share your story and help spread the word -- just like Magongo is
doing in his community.
Thanks for joining our cause,
The UN Foundation Climate and Energy Team
(Reid, Ryan, Jana, Kurt, and John)
Communities Against Climate Change
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