African farmers adapt to global warming

The multiple ways by which small farming communities in Kenya and Tanzania are adapting to the human-wildlife conflict thrown up by global warming, forms the crux of a British wildlife filmmaker's documentary shown here.

"A Climate of Change" by Jenny Sharman, one of the films being screened at the ongoing 7th CMS Vatavaran Environment and Wildlife Film Festival showcases how African communities experience the changing of climates, which are impacting negatively on their ability to sustain a livelihood from land.

"...It is now an era where behavioural change is necessary if we are to mitigate, and adapt to, the impacts of global warming," Jenny Sharman to PTI over an email interview.

"The film is a reflection of the change among small farming communities in Kenya and Tanzania, and how they have succeeded in improving their lives simply be caring more for the environment in which they live, and on which they depend," she said.

The 2012 movie was the finalist at the Montana Film Festival.

Born and brought up in Kenya, Jenny has made films on wildlife for BBC, National Geographic and Discovery Channel.

"As a consequence of my time in Africa, I have worked very closely with many African communities. I began to realise how desperate the situation was becoming in Africa regarding the loss of habitat from deforestation, farming and livestock herding that is causing over-grazing.

"As habitats have declined, so have all the animals which depend on them, and as we squeeze animals into smaller and smaller areas we are also increasing the problem of human-wildlife conflict. This is causing serious problems in Africa where wildlife is in serious decline," Jenny said.

The filmmaker points out that the burgeoning human population is making the situation "increasingly desperate" not only for wildlife and habitats such as forests but to humans themselves.

"As land availability declines, small farms get eroded and lose their soil fertility. This leads to declining yields for the farmer, and increases poverty. The eroded soils also wash into lakes causing problems of siltation.

"Water tables are also declining as there are no trees and we are over-using supplies for irrigation, domestic use, and industry. All in all, it is a very tragic situation," says Jenny.

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