And so here it is, my first ever blog post – at the ripe old age of 40! I set up this website to show a few of my photos unto the world, and to share my experiences of living in other countries with my family, friends and anyone else who is interested. If you’re reading this, that means you – thanks!
Admittedly, I’m a bit late to the party on this one. I left my homeland, the UK, in 2010 and have since lived in Bolivia, Ethiopia and now Uganda. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do on in terms of blogging about these adventures. So let this first blog be by way of introduction.
As an avid traveller with a passion for nature and diverse cultures, I’m keen to share with others the wonder that is planet Earth. I also want to raise some awareness – with text and images – about what we are doing to the planet – our one and only home. Excessive consumption – driven by a misguided pursuit of economic-growth-at-all-costs and rapid population growth – is steadily destroying our planet’s diversity and capability to support life (if you don’t believe me, read the work of Johan Rockström).
Things that are fundamental for survival of all species, including our own, are under threat from our actions as individuals and societies. We’re draining wetlands that purify freshwater, concreting over our gardens, buying stuff that destroys rainforests, contaminating our oceans with plastic waste, polluting the atmosphere with our cars and the factories where we work, and burning fossil fuels that transplant carbon from the ground (where it’s harmless) to the atmosphere (where it’s accelerating the warming of our planet at unprecedented rates). It’s not looking too good for us, and our fellow creatures, if we carry on at this rate.
I’ve seen humans mistreat Mother Earth all over the place. In the UK I spent time living in the Lake District – which is scenic yet often ecologically barren due to sheep farming and poor land management. In Bolivia (oh, Evo!), I’ve seen indigenous people protesting the construction of a trans-America highway through their traditional lands (TIPNIS) – bringing in cocaleros, agriculturalists and traders to destroy their way of life and the biodiverse forests of Amazonia too. In Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains, overgrazing by livestock, erosion-inducing cultivation on steep mountain sides, and poverty are undermining the integrity of the ecosystem – one of the last locations where endangered endemic species such as the Ethiopian wolf and Walia Ibex can be found. And in Uganda, wildlife has been forced to the margins – forests are making way for sugar cane plantations, and people and wild animals come into conflict in those few locations where wildlife still remain. Sigh.
But all is not lost! I’ve also seen hopeful pockets of good news – of people doing great things to help their friends to live low impact lifestyles, encouraging their communities to improve their lives without destroying the environment, and taking steps to protect and regenerate the natural systems around them. These are the people about whom we should be telling stories – showing what they do to make the world better, and demonstrating how we can do it too. So whilst I love a good rant I’ll try to keep this blog as upbeat as possible. And that way I hope someone somewhere will be inspired to make positive change – and if they can, then I can; and if I can, then you can; and if you can, then we all can…. And step by step the egg will start to walk (as they say in Ethiopia).