Elisha Thompson from the group DONET, in Dodoma, received training and equipment in early 2009. He went on to investigate street children and their fight for survival at the bottom of the social chain amid drug and sexual abuse.. The result was a moving film called ‘Dream’. EIA connected Elisha Thompson with Haki Elimu and he was subsequently funded by the organisation to produce two TV spots urging the Government to inject TZS 60 billion into improving education and build 22,000 new homes for teachers. These were shown on TV daily, helping to build public support.Elisha received funds from EIA to document forest destruction by charcoal manufacturers, and has produced several TV spots campaigning on maternal health.Several of his films screened at the Uninhibited Muse Festival in the USA, and he is now mentoring new project participants in field investigations.
PINGOS Forum, in Arusha, received training and equipment from EIA in early 2009 and went on to produce a film highlighteing the government eviction of Maasai tribesmen to protect the operations of an influential Emirati hunting company, the OBC. The film features testimony of the associated brutalities and the burning of homes, revealing how the government is failing its people in favour of lucrative deals.A screeing at the Swedish Embassy prompted the Ambassador to launch a fact-finding mission into the evictions. The film was also shared among delegates at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in Gambia, garnering international support. Maasai communities have in turn been empowered to demonstrate and give testimony in court.In addition, PINGOS received a small grant from EIA to investigate and document the impacts of raw effluence from an oil distillery on local communities. Following a media campaign, the company was pressured to construct a treatment plant. PINGOs is now helping to open a legal case against the distillery.
Maajabu conducted a field investigation in an area in Loliondo, which the central government wanted to gazette as a National Forest Reserve. The government planned to expel Maasai communities in the area, accusing them of illegally logging and destroying the forest. Maajabu’s investigation showed outsiders were responsible for the destruction.In April 2010, Maajabu showed their film ‘Our Beloved Forests’ to the Tanzanian Director of Forests,. He agreed to accompany Maajabu to Loliondo and subsequently declared the area a ‘Village Forest Reserve’ to be managed by the Maasai communities.
TGNP, a gender-based organisation, used visuals and the media to lobby for a female Speaker in Parliament. In 2011, for the first time ever, the ruling party nominated a woman as Parliamentary Speaker.
The project has also led to the creation of a strong national network. Individuals trained by EIA have begun working cooperatively; for example, in response to the proposed construction of the Serengeti Highway, NGOs have come together to produce a campaign film calling for an alternative route less disruptive to wildlife migration. The government recently announced it would support this option instead of the original route.
When Richard Ruggiero first saw the gold mine from the air, he was reminded of one of Dante’s circles of hell. It In the midst of Gabon’s Minkebe National Park—a huge protected area the size of Belgium—there was “a gaping hole in the forest more than half a mile wide and long.” On the ground, the mine was a “noisy, crowded, polluted, lawless confusion”—a hub of 6,000 miners, prostitution, drugs, and arms trafficking. And amid the chaos, Ruggiero and colleagues found caches of ivory, high-caliber weapons, and huge, grey carcasses. That’s when they knew that the forest elephants of Minkebe were in trouble.
Contrary to popular belief, Africa isn’t home to just one species of elephant—but two. The savannah or bush elephant is the familiar one that tourists see on safaris, and that turns up in nature documentaries. The forest elephant is smaller, darker, straighter of tusk, and rounder of ear. Its ivory, which is extra hard and has a pinkish tint, is also particularly prized.
At the turn of the century, forest elephants had already been decimated by poaching, and of the 80,000 estimated survivors, half lived in Gabon. Minkebe was meant to be a sanctuary for them—far from Gabonese villages in the south, bordered by swampy terrain on the north, and just too large and isolated for poachers to sweep. “People took their eye off the ball because they thought the park was safe,” says John Poulsen from Duke University.
The cost of that complacency became clear when the gold mine was discovered. The Gabonese government sent the military to close the mine and root out the poachers, but the damage had already been done. In 2013, following a quick pilot study, scientists estimated that between 50 and 100 elephants were being killed daily, and that between 44 and 77 percent of Minkebe’s elephants had already been slaughtered since 2004.
Fears grow that climate conflicts could lead to war
Among the 21st-century threats posed by climate change -- rising seas, melting permafrost and superstorms -- European leaders are warning of a last-century risk they know all too well: War.
Focusing too narrowly on the environmental consequences of global warming underestimates the military threats, top European and United Nations officials said at a global security conference in Munich this weekend. Their warnings follow the conclusions of defense and intelligence agencies that climate change could trigger resource and border conflicts.
“Climate change is a threat multiplier that leads to social upheaval and possibly even armed conflict,” the UN’s top climate official, Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, said at the conference, which was attended by the U.S. secretaries of defense and homeland security, James Mattis and John Kelly.
USA: Concern grows as endangered right whale sightings dwindle
The winter of 2017 has been grim for the scientists and volunteers who watch for endangered right whales off the Florida coast. Fewer whales have been seen than at any time since they started keeping track.
Only four adult right whales and three calves have been sighted offshore, scientists said this week. The winter migration season isn't over, but chances are decreasing for any new sightings.
"It's not looking good that the numbers will increase, either in terms of the numbers of individuals or calves," said Jim Hain, program director for the Marineland Right Whale Project and a right whale scientist with Associated Scientists at Woods Hole. "This has all occurred despite relatively good weather and (aerial) survey conditions."
The low number of sightings come amid growing concern about critically endangered baleen whales along the North American coast.