by F. Roussy

Sun set LanganoTravel to Ethiopia was my biggest plan of this year. How can’t it be after forty years, such a long time to the country that I once enjoyed my youth?

I had a moving experience when I visit back the house I lived in, my neighborhood, school, favorite pastry and Langano Lake, the weekend resort I loved to rush to; all refreshing the lovely memories of my youth.

Lake Langano was one of the places I stayed for four days during my 19 days trip in my travel to Ethiopia. It is still a very beautiful place as it was some 40 years ago when I used to come several times.

I was realizing the real effects of the global warming when I compare what was before 40yrs and what is now. At that time it was impossible to see them even though the shores were closer to the road than they are now. The space between the road and the lakes was covered by a thick forest of different trees.

My Ethiopia travel was also through Ziway, Shala and Abyata Lakes as we were driving to Langano. Now when you drive to these places, you can easily see the lakes from your car seat.

Now very few acacia trees scattered here and there has made it easy to see the lakes from your car seat. What happened to the trees? 40% of Ethiopia’s land use to be covered by a thick forest 50 years ago.

Now it is less than 3 percent. What a shame!

When you travel to Ethiopia south it is common to see sacks of wood charcoal by the side of the road for sale and is common to see sellers asking you to buy the charcoal. I can imagine how many sacks are being sold each day and how many woods are sacrificed to satisfy the needs; the unending energy needs.

Some wonder what these people can do unless there an alternative for their energy needs. This is of course a moral and economic issue.  But can we satisfy all and at the same time? Isn’t it that we need to set our priorities and be responsible to the environment?

Before we arrived at Sabanna lodge, a fantastic lodge by the way, situated by the lake Langano, we turned to the other side where I used to camp my weekends in my youth with my family and sometimes with friends.

Apart from the joys, I was surprised by how far the water had gone back, some 50mts behind. The same is true to the nearby lakes of Shala and Abyata, the waters are back by may be 100 meters or more.

One can imagine when we are going to totally lose them if things do not change. In fact Lake Alemaya could be an example. It is situated at the south eastern part of the country in Harer province.

Boats used to float on that Lake. Now this is a completely dried which you can see no drop of water. The lake use to serve as a reservoir for the water needs of the near by towns and villages. Where has the water gone???

Lake Stephanie is also another lake that now you hear the name only in Lonely Planet guide books.  This was a small lake found in the remote south of Ethiopia close to the Ethio – Kenyan boarders you can’t locate it now as it is completely deserted where children could play football on it.

This is not only an Ethiopian problem I have observed this in many African countries I had been to. I am not a politician neither environmentalist, just a simple person who cares about the future.

Governments need to work on population growth if they are seriously concerned about this. One can also need to point out and work on alternative energy sources such as harnessing solar and wind energy and improving the infrastructure like roads and railways to cut carbon emissions in general.

Otherwise it will not be far to lose the little left our planet has.

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
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