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When the Water Ends tells the story of climate change conflicts in East Africa. For thousands of years, semi-nomadic pastoralists have followed fresh water sources and grazing land. They are accustomed to harsh environments and surviving with limited resources. But with the impacts of climate change, competition for water and pasture is escalating. Increased drought and decreased rainfall is fueling violent conflict over water and grazing lands.

Photojournalist Evan Abramson spent two months traveling and living among these tribal communities. When the Water Ends is Abramson's first multimedia piece, and he captured several voices and communities during his reporting. He shot over 10,000 photographs and interviewed several tribesmen and leaders from local NGOs. Yale Environment 360 commissioned the project and asked MediaStorm to produce a video that also included interviews from the scientific community.

Link: When the Water Ends
Client: Yale Environment 360
Published: October 26, 2010

World Press Photo (Nominee)
Multimedia Contest: Linear Productions
Anthropographia (Nominee)
Webby (Nominee)
Documentary: Individual Episode
Online Journalism Awards (Finalist)
Online Video Journalism, Small Site
The Challenge
The challenge of the video was to find a narrative backbone that would link the individual stories and experts that could speak specifically about the region as well as climate change and its impacts.

The Solution
MediaStorm narrowed the focus of the story to the tribes in the Omo River basin, which includes pastoralist groups that rely on the Omo River and Lake Turkana for their survival. Though pastoral communities are fighting over additional fresh water sources, like ponds and wells, this is the most compelling example. Our design team created a series of maps and graphics that help to distinguish the different tribes and their location.

We also worked closely with photojournalist Evan Abramson, helping to build his technical skills as a videographer and to prepare interview questions with scientists and one UN official. Abramson interviewed several scientist for the project, and together we narrowed the focus of expert interviews to two experts that have spent time living and working in the region.

Screen Shot
Screen Shot

The Results
The expert interviews provide the global context and background to the story while the local voices provide emotional first-hand accounts of how climate change is impacting their lives and livelihoods.

About the Client
Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. Their website features original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news.

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