26 Oct 2010: e360 Video

When The Water Ends:
Africa’s Climate Conflicts

As temperatures rise and water supplies dry up, semi-nomadic tribes along the Kenyan-Ethiopian border increasingly are coming into conflict with each other. A Yale Environment 360 video report from East Africa focuses on a phenomenon that climate scientists say will be more and more common in the 21st century: how worsening drought will pit groups — and nations — against one another

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COMMENTS Intensive or domestic livestock grazing promotes desertification. In order to keep water from ending for a lot longer, grazing must be greatly reduced.

Posted by katie on 26 Oct 2010


Amazing work. amazing editing, amazing interviews and quotes.. extremely moving and very sensitive...

makes me go.. WOW... we HAVE to do something!!

Thank you for this piece..

Posted by Suzanne Lee on 28 Oct 2010


Wau! Thats a great piece of work! am a victim of ths cönflict and dad lost al the livestock to Dasanech in 2008! some relatives killed and the scars are painful to hold!i hope the leaders of the world wil come up with policies to change ths tragedy!

Posted by Etelej moses on 28 Oct 2010


It is unfortunate that what you describe above was already happening in 1981 when I was call from my cattle-camp in France to come and work in Atekerland to teach plowing with tractors to replace bulls and cows that had been stolen by gun fires from Karamojong, Toposa, Turkana and co...

Due to excesses of guns in the region, themselves mainly caused by the World excess greed to access oil riches of South Sudan and the total mess of Uganda at that time ... due to absence of any water school and to absence of any sun-power school to date, as well as absence of any geothermal-electricity production school to date, yet all these natural resources are there in plentiful in Aterkerland and can be used much better and durably, including solar pumping and electro-solar transport.

Geothermal-electricity potential is even greater just nearby Juba that could easily power all its industrial development and electric transport with, and no plan in place. Same in Ethiopia: can’t they copy what Kenya is doing with geothermal potential?

At long last, can’t the WFP, the UN, the EU, the AU, buy at long last, i) electro-solar vehicles, and ii) finance solar water pumping with borehole village drip-irrigation systems, iii) and train Aterker people in the use of water efficiency and sun efficiency?

Posted by Lokwale Apalobongna on 28 Oct 2010


Being a Turkana who was born and grew up in that part of the world, my eyes is filled with tears as i watch the video, my heart bleeds with pain as i have tasted the bitter pill of banditry, armed conflict, extreme hunger and poverty, marginalisation and harsh climate. I remind you the people of the world that from a distance GOD is watching us and we need to appreciate human dignity. Please do something so that we can also smell if not taste the better part of life in this planet.

Posted by Donald Lochok on 29 Oct 2010


Meanwhile , in Australia, we are finally out of drought ,all the dams are full on the east coast and we have floods in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria. Which ,of course,doesn't stop our politicians, briefed by the beaurocrats from the Department of Climate Change, from trying to stop farming in the Murray Darling Basin because of "unsustainable" water usage. Australia,like Africa, has a long history of climate variability on the long term,unlike Europe. But Australia ,unlike Africa, is a lucky country. We do not have tribalism, and we do not have a flood of AK47s.

Posted by ian hilliar on 29 Oct 2010


Thank you for the insight--beautifully made film.

Posted by joanne on 01 Nov 2010


Unfortunately, most of us in the "developed" nations don't see this, and simply continue with our extremely wasteful ways. Showers for 20 minutes, watering lawns in deserts (Palm Springs, LA, etc.). Perhaps the people of East Africa are just a few decades ahead of the rest of the world.

Posted by Elliot Hoffman on 04 Nov 2010


I have watched, I have read and I will tell someone about it. SOMETHING THAT MAKES WATER FLOW TODAY, NEEDS TO BE DONE BY OUR LEADERS IN GVT. CAN UN SEND THESE TO EVERY PRESIDENT/MEMBERS OF PALIAMENT/CIVIC LEADERS IN THE CONCERNED GVTS TO WATCH DURING PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS.

Someone should send me the gvt leaders contacts and I will send these to all speakers of East African Assembly.. for them to ACT...Fred is an Environmentalist and GIS Expert in Kenya

Posted by Fredrick Juma on 07 Nov 2010


Very good video.

One thing i have to say is that claiming that these micro-level conflicts are the first in a wave of new 'climate-change conflict' ignores the fact that:

A) Conflicts are complex and pervasive. They are driven by a variety of factors, and when analysing conflicts such as those in turkana, darfur etc that are claimed to be climate change conflicts, one needs to take into account the plethora of other factors that play an important role, ie governance, nationalism, migration, resource scarcity etc. Climate change is one of many factors that drive these conflicts, and labelling a conflict as a climate change conflict may well mobilise in the short term but it ignores other factors that may actually be able to be changed.

B) The climate in these areas (esp the sahel and east africa) has always been defined by erratic rainfall and severe droughts. It has not change that much (comparatively) since 'Climate change' has become a big deal in the west. Conflicts have always occurred in these areas over very similar things as they are now, before climate change affected the climate in africa.

So in sum to label this conflict as a climate change conflict is dangerous as it diverts attention away from the real and changeable drivers of the conflicts...

The video is nonetheless excellent as is the content.

Posted by James Belgrave on 09 Nov 2010


There has to be something we can do, and to think we don't want to drink tap water, but will buy bottled water which creates more waste.

Posted by Tracey on 30 Nov 2010


I agree with Andrew above that labeling this conflict as a climate change issue is problematic. Climate change may be contributing, but there are plenty of other reasons--caused by man or nature--for a reason to feel the water pinch. Instead of rushing to blame climate change, it might be more constructive to first check more direct causes, such as water being lost at other stages in the cycle, or soil erosion and deforestation hurting water retention.

Posted by Eric on 01 Dec 2010


Conflicts are complex and pervasive. They are driven by a variety of factors, and when analysing conflicts such as those in turkana, darfur etc that are claimed to be climate change conflicts, one needs to take into account the plethora of other factors that play an important role, ie governance, nationalism, migration, resource scarcity etc. Climate change is one of many factors that drive these conflicts, and labelling a conflict as a climate change conflict may well mobilise in the short term but it ignores other factors that may actually be able to be changed.

Wau! Thats a great piece of work! am a victim of ths cönflict and dad lost al the livestock to Dasanech in 2008! some relatives killed and the scars are painful to hold!i hope the leaders of the world wil come up with policies to change ths tragedy!

Posted by katheryn giorgina gongora garcia on 11 Jan 2011


While intuitively sympathetic to the vulnerability of nomadic herders to the vagaries of adverse whether, this video lacks any empirical evidence linking violence with water scarcity. It is at odds with decades of research in anthropology and related fields which shows the multi-dimensionality of pastoral conflict. Drought caused water scarcity is not the most important reasons for conflict.

Posted by Solea Ababora on 18 Jan 2011


i watched this video and am saddened. In order to slow down the evaporation of the lake would it possible to spread plastic balls on the surface?

Posted by bill clark on 02 Feb 2011



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