Restoring landscapes and regenerating topsoil creates jobs and secures a future for people who rely on ecosystems for their food and water security. In South Africa today government, communities and businesses are working together to restore one of the most important watersheds in the country.
The story in alliance with the Guardian UK:
Farmer Pieter Kruger stands smiling on a large weir built on a river in the Baviaanskloof area that provides water to South Africa’s fifth largest city. Tall and lean, he looks out over a gathering pool, delighted at the first time it has filled up enough to have the water roll over his shoes.
“The actual restoration work happens here on this farm, but the benefits also flow to the users downstream, so in the long run everyone is going to benefit from this.”
Land degradation and desertification is now affecting 168 countries around the world, according to the UN, but many here believe there is hope. Living Lands, an international not-for-profit organisation, started working here in 2008 to bring together the users and beneficiaries of this water catchment; government, communities and farmers like Kruger.
Jeffrey Barbee is a photojournalist and award-winning film producer and director. He works for Global Post, presents the US national TV show Earth Focus for LinkTV and writes and photographs for the Guardian UK. His work also appears in the New York Times, the BBC, NOS Tv Holland, Smithsonian Magazine, RTL News, PBS, CBS, Al Jazeera, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair and others.
His 2012 film Creating a Climate For Change won best environmental film at the film festival of Colorado.
He is the Director of The High Cost Of Cheap Gas, a current feature film exposing the global gas industry.
He is the Director of Alliance Earth, a worldwide not-for-profit environmental and scientific reporting initiative and is a board member of the Mezimbite Forest Centre.