Born and raised in N’Djamena, the capital city of Chad, one of the hottest countries in the world, David witnessed firsthand the repercussions of escalating temperatures and a lack of government regulation. But it wasn’t until high school, during an environmental awareness workshop put on by the NGO Espaces Verts du Sahel, that he realized how the devastation he saw around him could be directly tied to climate change.
“It was common to hear of people suffering and even dying because of lack of water, the terrible heat, or other environmental issues,” said David. “But it wasn’t until the workshop that I realized everything I've seen my whole life, people dying around me, was related to climate change.”
Chad, a nation strained by a lack of natural resources supporting a population exceeding 17 million, epitomizes the environmental catastrophes manifesting around the world. Most notably, Lake Chad, once covering over 10,000 square miles and touching four surrounding countries (Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad), has receded almost to the point of vanishing. Losing this body of water would mean losing one of Africa’s largest water reservoirs.
“At this point, Lake Chad is over 90% empty,” David said. “When you consider the economics, our country is benefiting a lot from this lake. It produces a lot of fish and supports the Kuri beef population, a type of cattle unique to this area. But that lake is disappearing. That means so are those animals and jobs…Think what will happen to them if the lake disappears completely.”