No Water, No LIfe

Ed. Note: The following first appeared in the March 12 edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal. Visit our 199 Main Street Gallery in Beacon, NY to see Alison Jones’s exquisite exhibit, Following Rivers,  for No Water No Life.

Fisherman paddling his balsa boat. © Alison M. Jones

Fisherman paddling his balsa boat. © Alison M. Jones

My 30 years of photography across Africa and the Americas have focused on wildlife, ecosystem habitats and cultures — each as dependent upon each other as the three legs of an African stool.

I’ve photographed nonprofits fighting poverty, disease and threatened resources. Kenyan mentors have shown me the values of community-based conservation. I’ve documented the biodiversity of forests and savannahs, Kilimanjaro’s melting glaciers, slums and villages without water, and women carrying water for miles back to dusty villages.

After visiting Africa for two decades, I changed. As copilot in a Cessna flying low over 2,000 miles of Africa, I saw Africa’s rivers as narrow, vital and green ribbons of life. It was clear that where there was no water, there was no life. I saw forests and lakes disappearing. I could no longer just watch wilderness disappear, rivers dwindle and people struggle.

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