African Farmers Celebrate Earth Day By Saving The World
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
For millions of smallholder farmers in Africa, rain is more than an inconvenience. It’s a lifeline. And changing weather patterns, advancing deserts, and more and more violent weather events are straining their ability to survive. These farmers are the face of climate change, but as this real-life drama plays out across the globe, the rural poor in Africa are too often cast as hapless victims. Thinking of the role of farmers so narrowly does us all a great disservice.
On Earth Day, we recognize that the loss of fragile, foreign ecosystems is a shared loss. But the culprits are not just gas-guzzling Western car lovers or jet-setting business executives who don’t pay for carbon offsets. Those closest to the land—farmers, pastoralists, and other rural residents who make up more than half of Africa’s population—have the greatest direct impact on vast tracks of our planet’s most threatened natural resources, for better or for worse.