Welcome to Uganda where Tomorrow’s Air partner and video production company Heliconia highlights the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Bwindi is where half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas live, and is also home to the organization, Ride for A Woman. This slice of Uganda is inspiring for the way it offers an opportunity to experience effects and stresses of climate change alongside the solutions already in play to help.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is known among conservationists for its unique biodiversity that includes approximately half the world’s population of mountain gorillas. In the 1980s the mountain gorilla population had dwindled to an estimated 250 individuals, but thanks to intensive efforts in conservation, research and surveillance is now much higher - 459. In 2018, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature removed mountain gorillas from its “critically endangered” list.
Increased temperatures as a result of climate change along with unpredictable weather and water stress is presenting a new challenge to the region as farming becomes harder and people turn to poaching as an alternative form of livelihood. According to a recent community survey, the majority of households in the region have experienced drought and have recently suffered food insecurity. COVID brought job losses and the loss of tourism income, further stressing the balance between habitat and wildlife conservation and local livelihoods.
The Buhoma section of the Park is where gorilla trekking in Bwindi first started, in 1993. Today, as the communities surrounding the park cope with change, organizations like Buhoma’s Ride 4 A Woman, which offers training and microfinance to budding businesswomen looking to create and build on their own entrepreneurial ideas, are more valuable than ever. Because women and girls are disproportionately affected by climate change, they need to be equipped with skills for a new kind of future. Education brings empowerment, reducing inequalities and thereby supporting climate resilience in this remote community.
Carbon removal alongside the work of vital local organizations and conservation efforts like these around the world can help restore our climate.