This is the story of the mother who didn’t flee civil war but fled the drought; of the fisherman pushed into piracy by empty nets in a depleted, lawless sea; and of the young farmer who felt the pull of the militant group Al Shabab when his crops failed for multiple seasons. Climate change and environmental degradation are transforming Somalia, pushing people to desperate choices and violence. Somalis live—and die—depending on the amount of rain that falls each year. For generations, they have survived extreme conditions, relying on their traditions and community. A quarter-century of civil war tested those ties and challenged their resiliency. But now, less rain falls, and temperatures are rising. “With this weather pattern, Somalia or Somalis will not survive,” said Fatima Jibrell, an environmental activist. “Maybe the land, a piece of desert called Somalia, will exist on the map of the world, but Somalis cannot survive.”
Through photography and rare archival imagery, Climate for Conflict explores the environmental roots of conflict in Somalia, and the ways its woes spill beyond its place on the map.
Curated by Audrey Willsey and Nichole Sobecki