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Global Talks, Urgent Local Issues

My trip to Durban started on a shuttle bus from Arusha to Nairobi...wrong direction, I know, but lower emissions than the flight AND you take a 0 off the price tag!

The savannah is a lush green because we have had healthy rains this season. But a chat with a Maasai at the Kenyan boarder reminded me of the urgency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change discussions...and the relevance of the topic to the people here who depend on the rains for their lives and livelihoods. He lost over 20% of his cows in the last 3 years to drought.

Andrea Athanas at an exhibit at the climate change conference.

So here I sit...trying to connect these global talks to such urgent local...individual...issues. And in a sense it strikes me that they are intrinsically linked. The decisions we each make every day ultimately link us to that Maasai man in Namanga. Let us have compassion for his plight and find bold and brave agreement to limit climate change and find ways to adapt to its impacts that put us all on a healthier path to development. 

Danny McGahey at another exhibit at the conference.

AWF partners South Africa Parks, SANBI, and the Department of Environmental Affairs South Africa are linking biodiversity to a green economy. They estimate that over 1 million jobs in the country are from economic activities supported by biodiversity. Some of those jobs are in wetland rehabilitation, and over 800 wetlands have now been restored. In the discussions today, Ecosystem Based Adaptation featured as a topic of debate. Can nature provide the kind of infrastructure we need to adapt to climate change impacts? How can we restore natural systems like the savannahs of Kenya and Tanzania or the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo so that they are resilient to the changes brought about by rising temperatures and more variable rain patterns…and provide for the livelihoods of the people who depend upon them. See how we are working on these issues on the ground with communities on our African Heartlands pages. 

Danny McGahey at the Good News Stand.

Andrea Athanas
About the Author

Andrea Athanas is a Program Design Manager with the African Wildlife Foundation. She has experience building business practices for biodiversity conservation and advising companies such as Shell, Nestle Nespresso, and Rio Tinto on managing their environmental footprints. Her current portfolio focuses on bringing wildlife conservation into the transformation of African economies focusing on agriculture and energy and building partnerships in Europe for AWF.

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AWF Blogs bring you to the critical landscapes we work in, where conservation benefits both wildlife and people alike. The blogs are written by our staff - men and women who have dedicated their lives to Africa's wildlife, people and wild lands.