Women in the climate crisis
Population growth, lack of rule of law, widespread corruption, and increasingly scarce natural resources due to climate change are fuelling an increasingly ruthless conflict in the Sahel region. The routes of the nomadic Fulani herders are increasingly blocked by the farms of the predominantly Christian smallholders. They depend on the land to feed their families. While subsistence farming continues to spread, the space for traditional migratory movements is shrinking.
The women of Lake Chad are particularly affected by the volatile situation and changing weather patterns caused by climate change: as it becomes increasingly difficult for their communities to be self-sufficient, they are forced to travel longer and more dangerous distances to access resources such as water or wood. At the same time, the knowledge and experience passed on by women over generations is indispensable for recognising climate disasters early-on and reinforcing the resilience of their communities in the long term. Therefore, they play a key role in developing appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies in the face of the climate crisis.
Andy Spyra (born in 1984 in Hagen) is a German photographer and photojournalist. He became famous for his mostly black-and-white photographs of crisis regions. In spring 2020, he was one of the last reporters to travel to the Sahel region before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. This region has been fiercely contested for years and is marked by droughts, famine, poverty and violence.
With his photos, Spyra documents the dramatic effects of global warming in the region. His work highlights how climate change is becoming an accelerant for terror, ethnic conflicts and distribution struggles over water and land, and how violence and hunger are forcing millions of people to flee their homes. More impressions from the Sahel region can be found here.
Spyra’s photos appear in TIME Magazine, GEO, Stern, FAZ, SPIEGEL, Zeit and The New Yorker, among others.