MADELINE COTTINGHAM

Field Notes From A Warming Land


On the slopes of Tanzania’s remote Pare Mountains, climate change is no longer a subtle threat. It can be seen in the arid croplands, the polluted rivers and the worried faces of four local men who have grown tired of watching the land wilt before their eyes. Seraphine, Kateri, Orest and Gerry are the founders of the Kilimanjaro Hope Organization (KIHO). KIHO was established to help rural villagers cope with their changing environment.

The Pare, a tribal people nestled high in the mountains, battle against global warming everyday. Crop failure forced their centuries old agricultural society to modernize and enter the black market through illegal gold mining, a process that has polluted their rivers and eroded their land.

KIHO has established nine tree nurseries, sustainable irrigation practices and water catchment systems all in hopes to alleviate the region’s need for water. The members of KIHO’s work, marked by foresight and an ability to translate global forces into local ramifications, has carried them to the front lines of climate change. Not only does KIHO’s story deserve to be told, it demands the world’s attention, for the issues they address will in time be confronted by
all.

2011