Impressions from Hedge School 2011: Climate Change, Conflict and Famine

Saturday, 1 October 2011, Kimmage DSC, Dublin 12

Christine Nalubega

The 2011 Afri Hedge School took place in Kimmage Development Studies Centre (KDSC) in Dublin for the second year running.  You can watch a short film of the highlights from the day, made by Dave Donnellan, by clicking here!

Abjata Khalif

The theme was Climate Change and how this has impacted on developing countries resulting in famine and wars. Abjata Khalif, a pastoralist from Kenya, spoke about how climate change has affected pastoralists in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and in particular how the current famine in the Horn of Africa has caused great hardship for many, resulting in a surge in refugees and other social problems.

Professor John Sweeney

Climate Scientist, Professor John Sweeney highlighted the fact that 2010 was the warmest year on record so far, and that global temperatures have been on the rise since mid 20th century which is attributable to the increase in emissions of greenhouse gases. Climate change impacts on developing countries most of all, and as the main emitter of green house gases, the onus is on the developed world to provide assistance.

Due to the heavy rainfall this year the traditional hedge school planting took place indoors with John Haughton of Forest Friends giving a demonstration on how to plant and look after a tree.

John Haughton

In the afternoon workshops the participants got to discuss the theme of the day some more. Tom Campbell led a workshop on Climate Change and Pastoralism which aimed to dispel the myths that surround pastoralism and also discussed how pastoralism particularly suits Africa. Molly Walsh’s workshop was on Climate Change and Justice. Participants divided into groups to discuss how a hypothetical government would deal with the situation where their land is about to be submerged by the sea as a result of climate change, and had to come up with some solutions! Gary White Deer’s workshop, We Belong to the Earth, examined the idea of kinship with the land, and how it is vital that we look after it. Lastly, Rose Kelly’s The Awakening Universe showed a short film of the same name and participants discussed how we are not separate from the universe and how saving the planet is really about saving ourselves!

From left to right: Molly Walsh, Rose Kelly, Gary White Deer, and Tom Campbell

Christine Nalubega provided some African music throughout the day. Upon leaving participants were given a birch sapling as a reminder of the important role each one of us can play in combating climate change.

All photographs by Derek Speirs

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