Houses with balconies facing the street or the surrounding hills, when they are not hidden behind high walls, reflect a neighborhood where people live on the shore of a lagoon but reject the landscape it offers.
This is about Wetlands, which are considered as a natural solution to the global threat of climate change. They absorb carbon dioxide, help slow global heating and reduce pollution, hence they are often referred to as the “Kidneys of the Earth”.
The dam supplying Johannesburg’s water sits less than 30 percent full. Water restrictions have been in place since November and taxes on high water use since August. Food prices across South Africa have risen about 10 percent from last year, in large part due to water shortages.
Residents of Rocky Point, a sleepy fishing village on Jamaica’s south coast, woke up one July morning this year to flooded streets and yards. The sea had washed some 200 metres inland, flooding drains and leaving knee-deep water on the streets and inside people’s home, a result of high tides and windy conditions.
Climate change is reducing the size of several species of fish on lakes in Uganda and its neighbouring East African countries, with a negative impact on the livelihoods of millions people who depend on fishing for food and income.
Vegetables grown in the lush soil of this quiet agricultural community in central Kenya’s fertile wetlands not only feed the farmers who tend the crops, but also make their way into the marketplaces of Nairobi, the country’s capital, some 150 km south.
African wetlands are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the continent, covering more than 131 million hectares, according to the Senegalese-based Wetlands International Africa (WIA).
The first global treaty dealing with biodiversity was the Ramsar Convention – predating the Rio processes by 20 years.
The construction of gated communities on wetlands and floodplains in Greater Buenos Aires has modified fragile ecosystems and water cycles and has aggravated flooding, especially in poor surrounding neighourhoods.
Carlos Menjívar has been ferrying people in his boat for 20 years in this fishing village in western El Salvador surrounded by ocean, mangroves and wetlands, which is suffering the effects of environmental degradation.
Fermín Gómez, a 53-year-old Panamanian fisherman, pushes off in his boat, the “Tres Hermanas,” every morning at 06:00 hours to fish in the waters off Taboga island. Five hours later he returns to shore.
The Las Cruces hydroelectric project in the northwestern state of Nayarit is one of the threats to biodiversity in Mexico, according to activists.
The 18 communities in Cuba’s Ciénaga de Zapata, the largest wetlands in the Caribbean, have long survived on the abundant local hunting and fishing and by producing charcoal. But that is no longer possible, due to climate change.
On a winter’s afternoon in late July, potato farmer John Campbell and the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Tanya Smith surveyed the Umgeni Vlei Nature Reserve from a hilltop on Ivanhoe Farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
Everyone knows water is life. Far too few understand the role of trees, plants and other living things in ensuring we have clean, fresh water.
Migratory birds, which play an important role in the complex web of life known as ecosystem services, are under threat as never before, with some species facing extinction within the next decade.
"Many tourists come to this area for bird watching, but the terrible deforestation is leading to the disappearance of so much of our flora and fauna. The cleared land is used for cattle ranching,” said Haroldo Figueroa, who works as a guide in nature reserves along Guatemala’s Caribbean coast.