In the new series of Her yr Hinsawdd, Professor Siwan Davies of Swansea University’s College of Science will be visiting countries around the world to see how they are responding to the serious effects of climate change.
She will travel to the sweltering heat of California and will experience heavy flooding in Uganda. She will visit the fragile beaches of Costa Rica and Norway's rapidly disappearing glaciers. During the series she will meet with communities that have had to adapt their way of life as a result of global climate change.
Mbale in Uganda, East Africa is Professor Davies' first destination in the series, which starts on Wednesday 13 September on S4C. There she meets communities that are being educated about the environment and are adapting their lifestyle to protect their community and their livelihoods, and they're doing all this with the help of charities from Wales.
"Uganda is one of the countries that are being hit hardest by climate change, and although the country's own contribution to global greenhouse gases is very small, the impact of global warming causes great problems in the country. Drought and rain pattern are the main problems, but they're also suffering as a result of deforestation," explains Professor Davies.
The Ugandan population is likely to double every twenty years and will need to meet the demand for land to grow more crops. However, cutting trees to create more space is causing problems, as Professor Davies explains;
"The canopy of leaves protect crops and the roots absorb water when there is heavy rainfall. This shortfall of trees results in dangerous landslides that wash the crops away, can destroy villages, and kill people, in some cases. Agriculture is Uganda's main income and if it fails there is no food and no income. The men leave for the cities to look for work and they often do not come back."
However, by educating communities about the importance of planting and nurturing trees, and adapting to their changing environment, they are already seeing positive results, and the thanks is partly down to support from Wales.
The life of people in Mbale is improving as a result of the work done by Welsh charities such as ‘Pont’ from Pontypridd, Hub Cymru Africa and Size of Wales. The Welsh Government funds a project called 'Plant', which is run by Size of Wales and gives the community of Mbale a tree to plant for every child born or adopted in Wales. The aim is to plant 10 million trees, and since the scheme was launched in 2014 around half of the target has been achieved.
Mbale also receives support from the Welsh Government to teach the children and the community how to plant and look after the trees and teach them about the benefits for the planet. While visiting a school in Mbale, Professor Davies received a very warm welcome from the pupils and a special performance about what they had learned.
"The Mbale children treated me like a Queen, all because of the help they have received from Wales to plant trees and to educate them about their environment," says Professor Davies, who is originally from Newport in Pembrokeshire but is currently living with her family in Maine in the United States while completing research under the Fulbright Scholarship.
While in Uganda, Professor Davies visited Sunno Women's Group who has also received support from Wales. The close-knit women's community have been trained to grow trees and keep beehives and are very proud to contribute to improving their environment as well as selling honey products in the local market. Professor Davies was given a warm welcome on her visit but was particularly impressed with their efforts to improve their lives;
"The fact is that poor countries like Uganda are most likely to suffer from climate change, but from what I saw they are making a huge effort in their communities on a local scale. They have very little belongings, their homes are basic and they don't even have private toilet, but they have love for nature, for each other and for Wales," says Professor Davies.
Her yr Hinsawdd, Wednesday 13 September 9.30pm on S4C.
English subtitles are available.
On demand: s4c.cymru; BBC iPlayer and other platforms.
A Telesgop production for S4C.
- Monday 11 September 2017 14.45 BST
- Monday 11 September 2017 13.50 BST
- Catrin Newman