When The Water Ends
Africa’s Climate Conflicts
Meet the Turkana of Kenya, and the Dassanech, Nyangatom and Mursi of Ethiopia, among more than two dozen tribes whose lives and culture depend on the waters of the Omo River and the body of water into which it flows, Lake Turkana. For the past few decades, Lake Turkana’s water is disappearing. Tribes now have to cross each other’s territories in search of water and land. Armed with Kalashnikovs and M16s, they kill, raid livestock and attack their rival’s villages, displacing thousands each year. These are “some of the world’s first climate-change conflicts,” according to one U.N. official. But this story is not only about climate change. The Ethiopian government is building a dam on the upper Omo River that threatens to halt the annual flood cycles if completed, spiraling 800,000 tribesmen even further into conflict. The herdsmen we meet in this short film are caught up in forces over which they have no real control. Although they have done almost nothing to generate the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, they may already be among its first casualties.