Today, we can see the effects of climate change everywhere on the news. Australia is the main example of what is happening since it is burning fast and losing thousands of animals in the greatest fire Australia has ever seen. And this is only one side of the stories developing all around the world.
Africa, for instance, has been enduring the consequences of global warming for years, and it has been paid a lot less attention even though these changes in climate are harsh, violent and affect a lot more people since they are in a much more vulnerable state.
Deforestation is only one problem gravely destroying a source of employment in Africa. First of all, even when around 15 million trees are cut down every year; around Africa, deforestation rates surpassed the annual average by 0.8 percent. According to CNN, forests in West and East Africa are watching a complete decline and this is a very difficult situation as the inhabitants of rural Africa still depend on wood from the trees for their cooking, exponentiating the loss of the forests.
With the number of trees getting cut down, wildlife and water cycles are being altered. This is concerning, because many communities make their living from creating businesses such as tourist attractions, lodges for hunting, breeding and meat production. Lodges in Africa are a big market for hunters, since they used to house hundreds of species of wild animals, including endangered ones like the antelope, elephant and rhino.
These facilities, in addition of helping local people make a living, they sought to take care of the animals and created a space for controlled hunting. Now, they have been losing almost half of the species they looked after because of drought and the continuous rise in temperatures. In South Africa alone temperatures are rising at twice the global rate, according to the International Panel on Climate Change, and in most of South Africa the level of water in reservoirs is dwindling.
For Burger Schoeman, manager at Northern Cape game farm Thuru Lodge, the withered vegetation and parched ground are a serious concern for the sector.
Once home to around 4,500 wild animals – including 35 different species, from antelope to rhino – the lodge has lost around 1,000 animals due to drought. Carcasses are piling up in abandoned mines on the edge of the property.” (The independent, 2019)
The continuing decrease in wildlife numbers affects tourism as the animals are in worse condition and they become less appealing for hunting each year. Moreover, the market for meat that comes from wild life is declining, since everyone is suffering from the same drought, including farmers and entrepreneurs.
When two ecosystems as important as forests and wildlife are vulnerable, many other things begin to alter, such as rainfall in a region already scarce of the vital resource. Africa has suffered from drastic water shortage since 2014 and in lower levels years before that, making its inhabitants desperate to find the vital resource, and even more struggle to keep a sustainable business.
On the upside, technology is a big ally to African businesspeople, as there is more and more research and development to implement artificial intelligence (AI) in hope of helping farmers improve the performance of their crop yields.
This tech was designed by a batch of students at a new AI programming school in Senegal, one of the first in West Africa. They plan on bringing that technology to a start-up which advises farmers on how to maximize resources like water and soil.
With AI, the plan is to analyse all the collected data, such as, soil PH, moisture and temperature levels, to know exactly when and where farmers should water or fertilize the land and help them understand the new way their crops are adjusting to climate change. There is also another AI project in Kenya that recommends the right moment to plant to avoid food shortage, and Agrix Tech, a start-up born in Cameroon, has launched an app that helps determine plagues through photographs taken on site and AI used to identify and suggest treatment for the problem.
African farmers lose an estimated 49% of expected total crop yield per annum due to pests, the highest in the world. Cameroonian start-up Agrix Tech is on a mission to combat this: https://t.co/kcAUDYB1pj#StartUpSpotlight #AfricaRising #AgriTech pic.twitter.com/3eYkEH6glZ
— Afrinection (@afrinection) August 9, 2019
“West African countries are among those hardest-hit by climate change, according to scientists, with populations that depend largely on agriculture losing their livelihoods due to worsening floods and droughts” (Africa News)
On the other hand, “My Roots in Africa” raised to be part of the solution to the deforestation crisis. The start-up came up with a campaign to bring Africa to the world. This idea plans to make it possible for anyone in the planet to have a tree in Africa named after them, planted or gifted. “My Roots in Africa is…Uber for trees, connecting local communities impacted by pollution or deforestation, with global citizens looking to plant their roots in Africa,” said Kamil Olufowobi, The Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) Founder and CEO.
The effects of climate change are all around us and with many of the most at risk countries inside Africa.
Join the fight against climate change by planting a new tree so you can literally say "I have roots in Africa."
Click link in bio to reserve yours. pic.twitter.com/jlFd5RpI6z
— My Roots In Africa (@MyRootsInAfrica) January 9, 2020
There is still a long way to go in the war against climate change, especially in underdeveloped countries, which tend to suffer more from the consequences and are remote from resources otherwise available to wealthy nations. Mostly, access to natural resources like clean water, energy, rich land, is a human right, and as such, should be looked after by everyone in the world, not just people who can’t afford to pay for them.
A first step has already been taken with the approach of technology to solve the most pressing issues. The next steps involve taking responsibility and action as individuals, companies, governments and decision makers. Because in the end, the problems caused by pollution, global warming, and the actors in climate change, do not discriminate by geography, language or skin colour.