25.05.2013 > Senegalese Association pour la Protection des Almadies Read more... ... >
15.05.2013 - 19.05.2013 > Climate change and the changes in the ecosystems of the Langue de Barbarie Read more... ... >
28.03.2013 > Radio talk with environmental experts Read more... ... >
16.05.2013 > Successful project fundraising Read more... ... >
05.05.2013 > COTOA first private sector partner to support the Ecoproject of the month Read more... ... >
01.05.2013 > Stop nylon fishing nets! Read more... ... >
Welcome to our Ecoblog! Here is the place where we exchange ideas or spotlight green events that have come to our attention. Your comments or articles are welcome!
“On my own. I put a mask on to be able to see in the depths. I snorkeled. It required a lot of concentration. I dove, I dove! In the same way, I would bicycle around the continent, slipping away for fifteen, twenty days at a time, on a whim, not even telling my parents, I would disappear at sea. I never realized how much worry I caused the people around me. It’s only when I discovered real life, and all its social responsibilities – wife, children, family, parents, and work – that I began to slow down a bit. I began to be great snorkeler. I could stay under for longer than three minutes. I began to barter with Russian ships. I would trade fish for caviar, for tools and parts and then I would resell them. One day, I traded some fish for a diving tank. I filled the tank with Air Liquid (the name of a Dakar based company). I never liked that tank. You would fill it, dive thirty, forty minutes and then it would be finished. And snorkling, you could dive all day. I never used that bottle again until I became an explorer of shipwrecks.”
Explorer of shipwrecks?
“Yes. I began to search for the wreck of the Governor General of French Occidental Africa, Pierre Boisson, loyal to the Vichy government. It should have left the country after opposing the attempted landing of General de Gaulle, but the boat and all its booty sank somewhere between Bargny and Mbour. When I located it, I found a lot, but nothing of value.”
As an explorer of shipwrecks, Haidar searches through scraps, extracting pieces that seem interesting. He finds old bronze pieces, canons that he sells for a living, hoping all the while to find his lost treasure.
On September 21st, at the UN headquarters in New York, the World Future Council, an advocacy group for environmental and social rights of future generations, announced the winners of its 2011 Future Policy Award. This award crowns the world best forest policies. And the winners are…Forest law in Rwanda won the first prize. The second place was a tie between the United States’ Lacey Act and the Gambia, for its transfer policy of forest tenure to local communities which allowed reducing illegal logging and forest fires, to slow down desertification and to draw profits from forest products. Ecofund congratulates the winners! Photo by Hellio & Van Ingen
Sidi Ely, project champion and Sidi Cheikh, the Park’s geomatician, both live and work in Iwik, the Imraguen village of 160 inhabitants located in the heart of the Banc d'Arguin. Together, they invest their time and energy to the preservation and promotion of their natural heritage.
Sidi Ely was born under the burning sun of Iwik but studied oceanography in the polar climate of Murmansk in Russia. After ten years of study, Sidi Ely returned to his native village armed with expertise and experience, dedicating himself to the environment, including "the beauty and tranquility of nature in the Park, which is “my heart”."Manager of the Park’s first ecotourism camp, Sidi Ely is always in search of clean technologies to meet the growing demands of tourists. Equipped with LED headlamps and the empty cans with a few solar panels, for example, he constructs the camp’s night lighting. Once a month, he also organizes beach cleanings, collecting the waste rejected by the sea. "At first, when they saw me cleaning the beach alone, my Imraguen brothers thought I was crazy, acting like a foreigner because of my stay in Murmansk! But after a while, when they saw the tourists came to my camp to help me, they said that if cleaning the beach was important for people from so far away, then it should be even more so for people living here Iwik!"
He shares this love and commitment to the exceptional setting of Iwik with Sidi Cheikh, the geomatician at the PNBA observatory since 2007. Sidi Cheikh is full of praise for the beauty of the Park: "The Park with its beautiful birds and amazing landscapes! It is the greatness of natural monuments forged over time in the days and nights of the wind and changing seasons. "His work includes helping park managers organize and apply the spatial data collected in the field. He leads missions to collect data or facilitate research work, always with the active participation of the villagers. Like Sidi Ely, he considers the birds one of the greatest assets of the Park: "I've always been fascinated by the organization and manner of bird life. It is important to realize that millions of birds make a regular trip from very distant areas to get here! I always wonder how these birds are guided and how they behave once they arrive at their destination."
Both men are fathers, even if, as Sidi Ely states, they consider "all the children of Iwik their own". They decided to join forces to construct two bird observatories, to reach out to, in addition to tourists, the young people of Iwik. For Sidi Ely, "the youth of our village are the guardians of the PNBA tomorrow. I want them to know more about their environment and the different species of birds. "This is a statement shared by Sidi Cheikh: "It is clear that children today are less attached than their ancestors who were much closer to their environment."
Join the mission of both Sidis ... for the millions of young birds and the Banc d'Arguin!
Date : Friday October 21th Hours : from Noon to 5 pm Where : ESMT, Terrain Foyer Rocade Fann Bel Air, Dakar Liberté Details : The civil society, NGO, universities and organizations from the private sector as well as African innovators in technology are gathering to imagine and develop Web and Mobile applications able to face climate change in Africa.
Each year in the fall, millions of birds migrate over long distances, crossing deserts and continents, to seek refuge in the Banc d'Arguin, only to return north in the pring. Throughout their journey, these migratory birds cross political, economic and cultural borders seeking areas for rest, feeding and reproduction in different countries. They are both the symbol and the most concrete expression of the phenomenon of the interdependence of our global ecosystems. Bird migration is considered one of the great natural wonders. For example, the Red Knot (Calidris canutus), a species of large wading birds, travels a distance of 4,500 km between Europe and the Banc d'Arguin!
Most birds migrate in groups of V formations. If how they find their way still remains a mystery, one of their favourite destinations is no longer a secret: Mauritania. Every year more than two million birds seek refuge in the 12,000 km2 Banc d'Arguin, for quiet and food. Inhabited only by a thousand Imraguen fishermen, the park’s calm and isolation offers a bird haven, the mission of Sidi’s project. For food, upwelling promotes plankton-- at the base of food chains in the marine ecosystem -- and thus fish, shellfish, as well as molluscs and worms are found in abundance. Almost all of Northwest Europe’s migratory birds winter on the Banc d’Arguin. The White Spoonbill (Platalea leucorida) for example, recognizable by its long, broad, flat beak, travels from Europe, across desert and sea to reproduce on the Banc d'Arguin. One Spoonbill sub-species have even settled at the Banc d’Arguin: a sub-species now native to the Banc d’Arguin. More generally, the islands of the Banc d’Arguin are real nurseries for European birds such as herons, pale grey herons, flamingos, egrets and gulls to nest and breed.
The Banc d'Arguin is one of the last great untouched, unexploited natural in West Africa. Thus, it is still inhabited by species that are other places depleted or extinct. However, the bird Eden that is the Banc d'Arguin is fragile and threatened by the discovery of oil nearby and human development, including tourism. Sidi’s observatories, which will allow bird watching all the while respecting the bird’s need for quiet and privacy, are primary to the effort to protect birds from around the world, not only for their survival, for the happiness of all.
Photos by Hellio & Van Ingen
Date : Saturday, October 15 – Sunday, October 16 Hours : Saturday from 1 pm to 9h30 pm; Sunday from 11am to 7 pm Where : 19/21 Rue Boyer, la Bellevilloise, Métro Gambetta Details : « The Call for Forests» is the theme of the festival, thus celebrating the International Year of Forests. Haidar El Ali will present his main achievements with Oceanium and will debate with the public and the media. If you are in Paris this week-end, you should pass by : Haidar will also sign his autobiography with Bernadette Gilbertas !
Haidar el-Ali is Lebanese, but he was born in Louga, in the north of Senegal in 1953. Senegal is his country, Wolof his language, and his car his office. It’s from his car he orders his day, calling local contacts, plans his missions, dreams, imagines, even rages against a careless world that would destroy the natural resources of his country while starving the Senegalese people. His mission to create and disseminate an ecological lifestyle in Senegal is at once enormous, constant and complex.
For four years I have accompanied Haidar on his various campaigns across Senegal, listening as he reflects upon his life in bits and pieces, but mostly I have seen him act. From the desert already invading the north half of the country; through Casamance where rivers die after the disappearance of their mangroves; along the Senegal river where manatees are strangled in the turbines of hydroelectric dams; to the edges of a bruised and polluted sea, no longer able to feed its people. I have walked in his shadow.
“The protection of the environment in Senegal, like in all poor countries, is not about ecology, it is about survival.” Haidar repeats. Action is needed: quick and comprehensive. And for more than twenty-five years, whether underwater, handheld camera at the ready, in the shade of a meeting tree, or in government offices, Haidar has fought for every cause: the sea, virulently opposing illegal fishing to assure local fishermen their livelihood; the forests, against desertification, repopulating mangroves to ensure rice for tomorrow; for men and women mostly, by engaging in political struggle against lethargy to help the Africans around him create their futures.
Touching hearts and awakening consciences is the creed Haidar lives by.
Recognized as one of the 100 most influentiel ecologists on the planet, Haidar El Ali is a man of action, dedicated to the environment. In Senegal, where he lives, he fights against deforestation, desertification, overfishing, and the illegal poaching of manatees.
The author, who has accompanied Haidar on his numerous journeys here paints a never before published portrait of the man and his mission.
In collaboration with Terre Vivante, Ecofund offers you monthly extracts from the book.