November 21, 2006
My Side trip
During my two weeks in Nairobi, I managed to make a small trip to the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, and visit a park called Amboseli, which is inhabited by the local Masai people.
I took many pictures of the remaining snow on Mount Kilimanjaro, since it is likely that it will disappear soon, as a result of our warming climate. It is predicted that by 2015 the ice will have entirely disappeared.
The glaciers Earnest Hemingway once described as "wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun" have lost 82 percent of their ice since 1912—the year their full extent was first measured. This has had and will potentially have huge consequences for people living in the area who depend on water from the melting snow during the dry seasons.
Park Amboseli used to house a large lake, called Lake Amboseli. However, the lake has all but disappeared due to reduced rainfall and reduced snow melt from Kilimanjaro. What remains today is an extremely dry, arid plain.
We visited a nearby Masai village. The Masai, generally feed themselves with cow blood and goat milk, however they have suffered severely from drought in the past years, and had lost many cows. At the moment, they explained to us that they cannot eat what they traditionally have lived off because they don’t have sufficient numbers of cows. For the time being they depend on revenues from tourists which they use to by grain and maize for food.
Emilie Moorhouse is Sierra Club of Canada's Atmosphere and Energy