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3. The Okavango Delta • Botswana

We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit http://www.100places.com. An Oasis of Wildlife, Above and Below The Bayei people, one of several tribes dwelling in the Okavango Delta, use a poem to teach their children about the delta: I am the river. My surface gives you life. Below is death. The death below refers to the crocodiles that inhabit the region and are a threat to the people and animals of the delta. From space, the delta resembles a birds footprint. It forms a labyrinth of lakes, lagoons and hidden channels covering an area of over 15,000 square kilometres, making it the largest inland delta in the world. The Okavango Delta is trapped in the parched Kalahari Desert with no permanent outlet to the sea, and is a magnet for the wildlife that depends on the delta and its seasonal flooding. Each year, 11 cubic kilometres of water reaches the delta, water that is unusually pure, thanks to the absence of agriculture or industry along the adjoining rivers. Five ethnic groups, each with its own identity and language, live around the delta. This is one of the worlds richest areas in terms of wildlife and they share the land with countless species such as elephant, buffalo, hippopotamus, wildebeest, giraffe, lion, wild dog, antelope, zebra, ibis and many more including the crocodile. Precipitation is expected to decrease because of climate change, while the temperature is projected to rise. This will cause the deltas enormous peat bogs to dry out, with a risk that the peat will catch fire, releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases. The tribes who live around the delta could be forced to find new homes elsewhere and, at the very least, they will have to adjust their lives in order to survive, which would have a negative impact on the unique culture of the people of the Okavango Delta.
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