SEASON 2 EPISODE 1
An old man who by himself carries one load on the head and another in his hand, must have played away his youth - African proverb
News reader highlighting the summary from the Africa leader’s summit. Before and after satellite photographs have revealed the speed of environmental destruction across the continent - glaciers, lakes and forests have disappeared from Africa at an alarming rate. The loss of ice on Mount Kilimanjaro, the vanishing waters of Lake Chad, tree loss and land degradation caused by refugees in the Sudan, the virtual disappearance of Lake Ngami in Botswana, the loss of Cameroon's rainforest to rubber and palm plantations… the evidence is harrowing.
TEXT BOX 1
Somewhere in Africa. June 14, 2015
How does environmental destruction impact Africa’s social development?
Picture of rain forest destruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where, 40 million people depend on the forest. As the world's 2nd largest rainforest, the Congo rainforest is home to some of Africa's most amazing wildlife including chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants. But how can we preaching to people not to do harm to their environment when their very survival is at stake?
Picture of Environment Minister watching slide after slide of the effects of environment degradation – drought, famine, loss of wildlife/biodiversity, water, agricultural destruction, conflict etc..
Minister: “We must take action now! We need a plan that strikes a balance between economic development in Africa and environmental protection.”
Scene showing Minister and his entourage on a site visit to Lake Nakuru. Because of the, is the massive destruction of the Mau Forest Complex one of the 5 main water towers of Kenya, Lake Nakuru has receded dramatically and is now almost extinct. The famous Flamingo birds are no longer at the Lake. Tourism in Nakuru has dropped by 75% in the past 5 years.
PERMANENT SECRETARY (PS)
PS: “Minister, the Urgent Evoke network implemented a solution that is restoring Lake Malawi. Can we get them to assist us with this challenge?”
Good idea PS. I will send an EVOKE right away from my phone.
We see the message sent from Ministers phone. MESSAGE TEXT: This is an EVOKE from Kenya. Urgently require action to save the Mau Forest Complex and Kenya’s Future.
TEXT BOX 1
Lamu Island, Kenya
The message is received by ALCHEMY who is, coincidentally, on holiday in the sleepy island of Lamu where donkeys are still used for transport and where there is no motorized traffic. Lying on a hammock next to the Indian Ocean, ALCHEMY opens his iPadX and loads images of Lake Nakuru in 2005 (which is pink with flamingos) and today 2015 where the lake is hardly visible!
The map of Kenya comes up with a location of all UE Agents in the country. A picture of Lead Agent SHAKWEI flashes on screen. On mouseover, the word “ACTIVATE” comes up and ALCHEMY clicks on it.
TEXT BOX: On a farm in Machakos, Kenya.
SHAKWEI is inside a greenhouse that she started in 2010 during Season 1 of UE. She is taking round a group of small farmers from a different district, teaching them about starting a greenhouse, water harvesting, drip irrigation, crop yield, soil conservation, value addition in agriculture, etc..
Since 2010 when I started the first greenhouse, I used the initial proceeds to start all the rest of the greenhouses you see here. I now supply the farmers market with fresh produce. I use the plastic cover to harvest water which is dammed and used for drip irrigation … her phone beeps indicating an incoming message.
INSET PANEL B
SHAKWEI reads the text message from ALCHEMY.
A look of alarm crosses her face as she received the BEFORE and AFTER pictures of Lake Nakuru. She thinks that it is a shame that her children may never get to see the beautiful pink flamingos that she took for granted growing up!
SHAKWEI excuses herself from the group and the Greenhouse Assistant takes over the tour, used to SHAKWEI leaving at the drop of a hat.
SHAKWEI makes a quick call to Alchemy, surprised when a local number appears on the screen. “How can I be of assistance” she asks when the phone is picked.
As you can see from the pictures there is an urgent problem at the Mau Forest Compex which has already destroyed Lake Nakuru and if we do not do something about it, will destroy much of Kenya. I’m sending you in.
This situation has been in the local press. They say that aside from drying lakes, tourism activities in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem will suffer. The Mau also provides non-timber forest products such as medicinal plants, wild honey and wild fruits, many of which are consumed locally. Local communities also use the forest as dry season pasture. (Show pictures of destroyed forests, dry river beds and dying wildlife and livestock in the Mara.)
So what is being done about this?
There does not seem to be a workable solution. Populations living in poverty and squalor to destroy the environment where they live while the fat cats protect the large corporations that continue to encroach on forest land.
There is no quick fix to this problem – you need to come up with a new approach!
Mau complex has suffered close to 30 percent forest loss in 40 years between 1973 and 2005. Pictures depicting Mau in various years between 1973 and 2013.
SHAKWEI deep in thought: “A legion of life-threatening conditions drive poorer, struggling segments of our society to destroy environments where they live, that surround them. Is there really a solution to this problem?”
Calling up the map of Kenya with locations of UE Agents, she ACTIVATES all Agents remembering the Kiswahili saying Kidole kimoja hakivunji chawa (One finger cannot kill a louse)
SHAKWEI in vehicle headed to Mau. On the phone to ALCHEMY: “On the way to Mau across the great rift valley on her way to Mau Forest. She wants to speak to people living in the Mau to see if they have a solution to their problem” . Luckily a few UE Agents form part of this group.
INSET PANEL D
Shot of SHAKWEI at village baraza (village meeting) in the Mau.
Different people sharing their views on the problems at the Mau. A few believe that there is no real problem and it is just a ploy of the big wigs to evict them from their ancestral land.
SHAKWEI on the phone with ALCHEMY.
So, is there a solution?
There has to be! We are having another baraza tomorrow. I will let you know what is decided
PANELS B & C: At Baraza
SHAKWEI shares pictures showing the forests degradation over the past 40 years, linking this to deforestation, land degradation, loss of biodiversity, decreased water catchments capacity, soil degradation and decreasing water flows in rivers which result in declining harvests, employment and income, and reduced food security and nutrition, hence bringing more people below the poverty line.
We cannot leave for forest as it is our only source of livelihood. But something must be done today to save our children, to save Kenya.
LAMU, BY THE BEACH
ALCHEMY puts in a call to MINISTER. “Minister, the challenge of the Mau requires a unique approach. We need to work together to build local capacities for the management and conservation of forest resources, establishment reforestation efforts, combined with educational and income generation activities; promote community awareness-raising on forest preservation through tree planting events and environmental education among forest users.”
You can count on my support.
My team is on the ground, we will be in touch
To Be Continued …