When I stepped out of the U.S. Forest Service SUV after nearly a two-hour scenic autumn drive from Taos, New Mexico to the Carson National Forest, we were standing in an expansive valley so big that huge cows below us looked like mere dots in the distance. We had finally arrived at Valle Vidal, a massive grassy meadow with vistas as far as the eye could see and elevations reaching close to 13,000 feet in Carson National Forest. Even though Valle Vidal is overwhelmingly beautiful to take in its environmental impact is being increasingly hampered by major stream and groundwater degradation that needs immediate remedying in order to protect fish and wildlife as well as to store more ground water for communities downstream.
I was in New Mexico visiting the Carson National Forest with Coca-Cola North America’s sustainability team last week to learn about their water restoration efforts in northern New Mexico as well as the company’s overarching nationwide partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Forest Foundation that replenished 1 billion liters of water to nature and communities reaching 60 million people in the United States. Coca-Cola also recently announced that it has successfully reached one of its principle global sustainability milestones ahead of schedule to effectively balance its water usage in its beverages and production. Coca-Cola has reached its goal five years ahead by replenishing 191.9 billion liters of water across the globe in 71 countries. In the United States, Coca-Cola North America has pledged to double the 1 billion liters of water that it has already replenished by 2018.
Using Soundcloud was one of the best ways to report from the field in Africa last year. One of our favorite sound captures of last year was in Tanzania after spending time with the Maasai in the arid northern part of the country. Hosted by Oikos, an Italian NGO that works with the Maasai to help them preserve the little environmental integrity that is left, we were treated to a traditional dance performed by Maasai men after a dinner of roasted goat and other traditional fare.
I have been fortunate to visit health posts and family planning clinics in a handful of countries. One of the things I always ask to see while visiting are family planning kits used for educational purposes for clients. Some of the kits have been fancy, others have been fairly rudimentary, but they all serve the same purpose: educating women about their options to space or prevent pregnancies.
Below are a few photos of family planning kits I have seen in Ethiopia, Zambia and South Africa. You can also check out a Marie Stopes clinic I visited this summer.
And even though this isn’t a family planning kit I loved seeing young teenage girls at the Fountain of Hope community center for street affected kids reminding each other about peer pressure, STIs, and pregnancy.
From mid July through the end of the month I traveled throughout Zambia covering stories about HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria with the International Reporting Project as an IRP Zambia Fellow. I joined nine other new media journalists who put a new spin on traditional reporting of these infectious diseases. You can read my published pieces so far below and see some of my photos from the trip. All of the trip photos have been captioned if you would like to learn more about a specific one.