A forest
A forest
  • A woman and donkeys carrying sacks (bags) of chacoal

Many years ago a man and his wife lived in a forest. They had three children, one boy and two girls. 

There were many trees in the forest and most of them formed a canopy. It was hard to tell when it was sunrise or dawn. The canopy also covered the beauty of the forest. Inside the forest were many types of plants, with flowers, others with fruits, big and small leaves and many types of animals, insects and streams.

The family lived on fruits, honey and meat of animals hunted from the forest. The roots, leaves and bucks of some types of trees provided medicine for them. The branches and leaves provided materials for making a small warm house.

They lived in harmony with the environment. No pollution of any sort. The air was quite fresh. It had a pleasant and distinctive smell, quite aromatic. It was a sweet scented forest. The sounds of birds singing different melodies and chanting, wild animals made different sounds too. They were used to the strange noises made by them. The woman created lullabies from the birds’ sounds. She sung for their children when they were babies. Her voice was amazing, a stunningly beautiful sweet voice pierced through the forest. She proved there was life in the forest.

After many years of living in the forest, one day things changed their lives. One morning the man and the son went to hunt. They heard a strange sound. A sound they never heard before. They stood motionless to listen, the earth shock. “Father, what could that be?” the son asked. The father replied in a rather shaky, hoarse voice “I…I..do not know” he said to his son. “Perhaps if we moved closer to where the sound is from, we could tell what it is.

Soon they were following the direction where the sound came from. It sounded closer every time they kept moving. As they walked a few paces they would mark their path so they don’t lose their way back home. At last they saw a glimpse of light. A ray of light from the sun shone. They walked on and on until they came out of the forest.

“Father,  look!” Shouted the son, what animal is that and who are those strangers? “What could they be doing?” The father had no answers to the questions. He was now murmuring.

It was hard to believe what they were seeing. The father kept rubbing his eyes and widening them to make sure what was happening was real.

The sound of the rumbling and shaking of the ground was heavier now. The trees were falling one after another. They had never seen an animal so strong and with strange legs and body like that. Where were these strangers from? And why were they helping the animal in cutting down the trees? What will the forest look like without trees? These and many other questions ran in their minds.

At last the son asked the father “what if they destroyed our home too? What shall we do?” It was hard to apprehend to what they were witnessing. So many trees were cut down and carried away.

After a long time they decided to go back home. They got a ‘catch’ of an antelope on their way back home.  They prepared their meal and ate silently. When they finished, the wife asked why they both looked unhappy. The men looked at each other without responding.

After a short while the father narrated to the rest of the family what they saw. It was hard for the wife and daughters to understand what they were being told. The father promised to go with them next time.

One day the father took them and they witnessed the cutting of more trees. The felling of trees went on for days, weeks, months, and even years. The forest was being destroyed. The felling of trees (deforestation) decreased the rainfall in the area. Due to less rainfall new trees could not germinate and grow, production of humus and fertile soil (topsoil) reduced drastically. The soil became eroded.

After the forest area decreased, the animals decreased in number because they moved out of their natural habitat, could not reproduce in the absence of their natural habitat, died due to absence/ scarcity of their favorite food plants, thirst and heat stroke.

It became hard for the family to get food easily. The animals moved away from the forest. The family moved out of their forest home to a new place which was very different. The area was hot and dry. It was a semi arid land. Food was hard to find and adapting to the new harsh climate was more difficult. They referred to people they met as ‘strangers’ or ‘the others’. Communication was difficult. They used sign languages and eventually started learning the language of ‘the others’. They also learnt their culture and eventually were forced by circumstances to adapt to their new environment.

The new land was different from the forest home. The land had no flowers, no bees for honey, no animals for food, the trees and shrubs were few and scattered. It was hard to find shade, materials for making a house or home was difficult. The climate was extremely harsh unlike the forest. It was not beautiful.

As years passed on, they came to understand that the strange animal they saw was called a tree harvester which the strangers used to cut trees. They laughed at the thought of it. They also learnt that ‘the others’ were called people and that they were like them.   

The people kept a few domestic animals while others did not. Most of their animals had died from the long dry spells. For alternative livelihood the people depended on cutting the few trees remaining burning them for charcoal for sale at the markets. They also learnt to do the same for survival. They used donkeys to carry the charcoal. They mercilessly overloaded the donkeys with sacks of charcoal. They tortured the donkeys. Many of them had wounds caused by the friction from the tight ropes tied on them to hold the sacks from falling off.  Most charcoal selling was done by women.

In the evening people gathered around the fire, the family told them stories about the forest and how the forest provided for them. They talked of the ready fruits, honey and meat they had when they lived in the forest. The beauty of the forest, the sounds of birds and other animals and the general peace they had. The air was fresh and the smell was very nice.

They loved the stories. They needed to listen to more stories from them. After narrating the stories, one woman asked “can we plant trees and other plants again? If we have the forest again will animals join us? These and many other questions were asked and discussed by the people.

They agreed that forests are good places and they decided to take action. Word spread like bush fire, people heard and learnt more about the forest. They spoke about the forest to anyone they met. The story became famous.

People held meetings and agreed to look for seeds and seedlings from the few remaining trees. They shared the responsibility of planting and watering them. It was not easy but they managed to put up trees everywhere although not as many as those found in the forest. Women were happy about the work. Most of the planting was done by them. The number of trees and plants increased, there were flowers, bees, beautiful butterflies everywhere and animals increased in number, the earth became beautiful again. Men started talking of the good work the women were doing, the stories spread. Women in villages joined in advocating for the climate change they also planted trees.

Action was taken from villages (grassroot) to nations and eventually to the whole world. The women were named “women for climate justice”

and were known through World Pulse Community and their partner Women's Earth & Climate Action Network. The women were trained on better and easier ways of environmental protection and were supported in terms of economic development, they became empowered. There was no more cutting of trees. The climate changed. The air became fresh, the earth was beautiful again, no health problems brought on from the smoke by using firewood. It was a good place again for generations and generations to come.


 Therefore let all generations carry on the story and take action by joining Women of climate justice to make the earth a better place for all.

Story created by: Rosemary Ntoipo


The United Republic of Tanzania

In the United Republic of Tanzania as in around the world climate change is being experienced. It is a concern that needs urgent attention. The government and the civil society organizations are working towards supporting the course. However, a lot is yet to be done other than having them on paper work. Action is needed.  We all have a great role to play by putting more and relevant strategies that will help educate our communities on the importance of engaging in more environmental friendly activities that are more sustainable through research, mobilization, raising awareness, advocacy and women economic empowerment especially to those from the indigenous or marginalized communities (grassroot). Many women at the grassroot sell firewood and charcoal to feed their families. This is not only happening in Tanzania it is also a problem in many nations in Sub-Sahara Africa and other part of the world. If supported to engage in alternative economic development activities then it will be a sure way of them supporting and  managing the environment. It will also be easier to implement the same at all levels (from grassroot to International level)









Topic Environment

Take action! This post was submitted in response to It's Time for Action on Climate Change. Join Us!.

Comment on this Post


Thank you Rosemary for this touching story. It speaks to the imagination and most of all it speaks to the heart... And I think this is where change needs to begin; in the heart. You gave us a story about a  very harsh reality many of us have already been forced to face.. But you also gave us hope and a viable solution. I for one will start sharing your story -our story- to others on and off the internet.  Again, thank you! 


Dear CamelRider,

I am very grateful that my story touched you. Indeed change begins in our hearts and yes, thats a very harsh reality to many of us. I must say thank you so much for reading my story. Again Yes, we have hope and a solution.

You are an amazing partner for positive change. Thanks alot. My story is now              Our Story. Please, keep sharing our story to others every where and all over the world.

Warm regards,


Dear Rosemary,

Thank you for this beautiful story! It was a pleasure to read it. It shows how 'new era' is affecting lifes of people who were born and grew up in natural environment which started to be subject to new rules. It is very touching because it remindes me that it is not a problem of someone else, living 'somewhere else', but it is a problem of people just like us, even if they live in other parts of the globe, it is even more 'our' matter, because we are all responsible for each other...

Thanks again for your voice!



Dear Magdalena,

Thanks alot for reading my story and to learn that it touched you. Am very impressed by the way you related the story to reflect how human activities in the new era have affected the environment.  Really like you mentioned this can be anywhere in the world. It can be in Polland or any where else in the world.  Absolutely, like you mentioned, its more 'our' matter because we are responsible for each other (I like that). Let it be our story to help us take action on climate change anywhere we live in the world.

Again thanks.

Warm regards,



Dear Rosemary

Much have been said by RidingtheCamel and Magdalena but i would like to mention that i really appreciated your post because it a reality that we've all noticed but no one has the initiative of writing it in the way you do.This post has been well written and we get your point.

It is simply wonderful.

Go on


Mayele , Maman shujaa and World Pulse volunteer

Dear Myriam,

Thanks alot for appreciating my story and most of all relating it our reality. Am most grateful that you got my what I meant. Thanks for all that you  mentioned we can do this together, the distance will not limit us in the action for climate change. Women and people of Congo are blessed to have you. This is our story.

Warm regards,



Dear Rosemary,

Thank you for weaving together this wonderful story, I especially liked the happy ending that we really can achieve with a little bit of effort on all of our parts.  Hopefully the sentiment in this story will catch on and we will put these words into action.


Dear Kristina,

Thanks alot for reading my story. Yes, with a little effort on all our parts we can achieve as you mentioned. Its, my hope too that the words in our story will catch on and put those words into action. I long for this to happen some day. Let the action start from us. Let us all join in the action on climate change. Thats how we can make the difference.

Warm regards,


Thank you for your submission to World Pulse! I enjoyed reading your story and like how it ends in a positive way. Yes, we all are impacted by climate change but some more than others. We all have to work together to find solutions and I know that you will be one of the leaders to help do that. There is no excuse anymore for people not to know what is happening around the globe. I feel more motivated than ever to take action. 


Dear Amy,

Thank you so much for appreciating my story. Am very grateful that you enjoyed reading it. We will surely work together. Absolutely, like you mentioned there is no excuse for people not knowing what is happening around the globe.

Am very impressed that you are motivated ( I like that) Although you are in the United States of America, we can do this together (Yes we can). Thats why my story is now our story. Lets take action wherever we are.

Warm regards,