Climate change is driving millions to the precipice of a ‘raging food catastrophe’

By | December 11, 2022

Georgina Gustin writes:

If there’s a ring around the sun, it will rain. If the gude bird sings in descending notes, the skies will open. If vultures gather, the showers will begin.

Everyone reads the signs, but they don’t mean what they used to. It’s still not raining.

Jala Barako is 85, a grandfather of eight and a member of an ancient nomadic tribe. Today, wearing a pinstriped jacket, dark glasses and turban-like hat, he looks like the proprietor of a progressive jazz club.

He sits outside a metal-walled shed that serves as the village store—the place where people come to buy provisions before heading out into this Martian-rocked landscape with their livestock to find pasture again. For generations, Barako explains, his people have slaughtered goats to read the weather forecast spelled out in their wet entrails. Now the readings are all off.

The climate is changing,” he says, with a fatalistic laugh. “Even in the intestines.”

Consistent, gentle showers over days and weeks replenish the shrubs and grasses that livestock depend on here. But it hasn’t rained steadily for two, going-on-three years, and there’s nothing green in sight.

The government has drilled boreholes, but there aren’t enough of them. Herders have to travel long distances to reach the water and then equally long distances to find any remaining pasture. Where there’s water, there’s no pasture and where there’s even the scantest bit of uneaten pasture left, there’s no water. On the trek between one place and the other, animals crumple from exhaustion and die. [Continue reading…]

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