MUNTAKA CHASANT
PEOPLE & STORIES
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Climate Change Wetlands Wetlands and People

Tropical Wetlands: The Life of Simon Nwi

Tropical wetlands, long seen as the reservoirs of much of the world’s biodiversity, are dangerously in decline. Anthropogenic medications and climate variability have resulted in the loss of key ecosystem services and functions. This is a quick peek into the tropical life of a rural fisherman who relies on tropical wetlands as a source of job.

February 8, 2021

Wetlands and people. Copyright © 2021 Muntaka Chasant

Tropical wetlands, long seen as the reservoirs of much of the world’s biodiversity, are dangerously in decline. Anthropogenic medications and climate variability have resulted in the loss of key ecosystem services and functions. This is a quick peek into the tropical life of a rural fisherman who relies on tropical wetlands as a source of job.

Some of the photographs in this post are part of a project/study on Wetlands and People I’m yet to publish.

Simon Nwi, 38 years old, is a wetland fisherman in southwestern Ghana.

The photographs below are a quick peek into his tropical life.

Simon is one of the dozens of people who rely on tropical wetlands as a source of jobs I have been documenting since August 2020.

In case you are curious, here’s a quick brief about the Wetlands and People project:

Wetlands and People

Tropical wetlands are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth. 

As some of the world’s largest carbon sinks, wetlands such as peat swamps and mangroves play key roles in climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

But they are under threat. Hydrologic alterations, overexploitation of their resources, pollution, and conversion of wetlands to other land uses have resulted in the loss of key ecosystem functions.

These ecological changes are likely to engender future trends. 

Project/research question: How is this (the problem described above) shaping the economies and community livelihoods of the people who rely on tropical wetlands as a source of jobs?

“I haven’t set traps for some time now because I catch nothing even when I do. The lagoon is no longer productive,” stern-looking Simon lamented.

Wetland fisheries are under severe pressure1.

Life in The Tropics

I revisited.

With no fish to catch and nothing to do, we stretched our legs toward the east — against the setting sun.

But Simon brought a long stick and a sharp cutlass with him.

Thoughts from space: These guys down….what are they up to? Looks odd given it’s a remote location — one with a long stick and a cutlass and another with a camera trudging along.

Your guess is as good as mine…

…the stick to pluck some coconuts along the way and the cutlass to cut them open for the water and meat.

It’s OK — whatever you thought Simon was up to!

We walked for miles along the remote and undisturbed coast and drank a lot of coconut water.

Simon cut open 12 coconuts for me. All for free. With guaranteed elevated potassium levels in my blood, of course, :(.

“All the coconuts here are for free. You can drink as many as you like,” Simon assured me.

Tired, Simon rested twice. A poignant scene of tropical life:

We returned after sunset.

Here’s Simon with two of his children:

Simon has three children.

Grabbed a short video — with an iPhone — of Simon paddling when we came through the mangroves. The 1 min video below puts the iPhone scene into context:

Hopefully, I get around to publishing the Wetlands and People project soon.

I would love to read your thoughts on Simon, wetlands, and people, in the comment section below.

Copyright © 2021 Muntaka Chasant

Sources

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10750-020-04188-z

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