This is a story of devastation and resilience in the face of natural disaster brought about by non-natural climate change: this is is Conservation.
Several years ago while supervising watershed management projects in Colombia I visited a subsistence farmer whose river-side crops had been swept away by a flood and landslide.
Among the many effects of global warming is the local disruption of natural weather patterns. To a farmer, this translates into either not enough water over too long a period or too much of it at one time. The small watershed featured in this video suffered from too much water all at once: one night, a liquid avalanche consumed the small town of San Vicente de Chucurí in the Santander province of Colombia. Dozens of small landholders instantly lost their livelihoods as their crops - mainly cacao - were swept away and replaced by rubble, mud and rocks.
I filmed this short video while working for Rare. At the time I was a programme manager in Rare LatinAmerica's Watershed Programme. My duties included training and mentoring groups of local conservation leaders striving to change the way farmers in vulnerable watersheds worked their lands. Applying Rare's signature 'Pride' methodology, we were able to train our local heroes in the use of powerful social marketing techniques to achieve lasting behaviour change for the benefit of local inhabitants and their natural, biodiverse environment.
Thanks to this project, Don Cristobal, interviewed here in the video, was able to turn a disaster into an opportunity.