Hope in a Changing Climate – Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in China, Ethiopa, and Rwanda

Efforts to improve the situation of indigenous peoples through restoration of the environment is one of the most intriguing stories to emerge from travel. One of the organizations doing important work in this field, the Environmental Educational Media Project, produced the documentary Hope In A Changing Climate, which promotes the enormous potential of restoration. Screened at the COP 15 climate change summit in Copenhagen last December and subsequently aired by the BBC, the film follows soil scientist John D. Liu, who for the past 15 years has been documenting changes on China’s remote Loess Plateau, where the local people have been transforming a barren plateau into a green and fertile one, reducing the effect of climate change. Liu explains:

“On the plateau, researchers realized that progressive degradation of the environment trapped the local population into a life of subsistence farming. It’s a process that has occurred across the globe, where poor agricultural communities find themselves overusing their land in order to survive, depleting its fertility and further impoverishing themselves. One thing that became apparent early on is the connection between damaged environments and human poverty. In many parts of the world there’s been a vicious cycle: continuous use of the land has led to subsistence agriculture and generation by generation, this has further degraded the soils.”

Shot on location in China, Rwanda and Ethiopia, Hope in a Changing Climate is a truly uplifting story of how ecosystem restoration helps stabilize climate, reduce poverty, and support sustainable agriculture.

6 thoughts on “Hope in a Changing Climate – Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in China, Ethiopa, and Rwanda”

  1. What a moving and uplifting video. Too many climate change shows I’ve seen over the last few years seem to big on the scare campaign but little on the solution, making for negative shows. This one is far better and I am pleased that you raised such an excellent video on your blog.

  2. Thanks for bringing visibility to an important topic. I haven’t watched the video yet – but that’s on my weekend plans! It’s strange as an American to travel around the world and see people farming just to feed themselves; Nepal, Mongolia, Philippines, Peru, Vietnam – and many more. As Americans we have no idea what that’s like.

  3. Traveling in remote China was like watching a freakish show about “what not to do” to the environment. There were more run-off ponds full of fertilizer and algae scum around the Yangzi River that its no wonder the dolphins there are dead, not to mention all the people who drink that (poorly purified) water or vegetables watered in it, etc. Really a sad story, but one has to be hopeful.

  4. Thank you Barbara for bringing it to my attention. It took me ages to see the whole film (I could strangle my Internet provider). It is so interesting and the changes over a relatively short period are very dramatic, especially in Ethiopia. My gosh, governments talks at climate conferences – and nothing happens. It just goes to show that we as individuals have to take action.

    I posted it on UTDs FB site as well as tweeted and stumbled it. I think everybody should see it.


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