Call for Ethiopians in Melbourne to join environmental activism

by Befekir Kebede
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Ethiopians in Melbourne have raised awareness and funds to help support a global effort to rid Ethiopia’s Lake Tana of an invasive plant species threatening the very existence of the lake and the surrounding ecosystem.

Known as Water Hyacinth, the South American native plant is said to be spreading rapidly across Lake Tana in Northern Ethiopia.

Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and is also the source of the Blue Nile River.

Lack of adequate response to the threat within Ethiopia has prompted the formation of a global alliance of Ethiopians based in the United States.

The alliance, Global Coalition for Lake Tana Restoration, says it “aims to restore a healthy biodiversity and a well-managed aquatic environment by addressing current challenges such as the spread of water hyacinth and water pollution”.

Over the last couple of years, Global Coalition for Lake Tana Restoration has raised awareness and funds across the US and worldwide, attracting the interests of some of Ethiopian celebrities and public figures in its attempt to promote the cause.

A small group of concerned Ethiopians in Melbourne has been in contact with the Global Coalition for several months - it has been following developments keenly, doing research and figuring out ways to be of some use to the global effort.

The result is a local group established on behalf of Ethiopians living in Australia called Tena Le Tana Australia.

It is incorporated in the state of Victoria and the fundraising event held on 28 October 2018 was the group’s first public appearance.

The event included a magnificent and beautiful Ethiopian music performance by a local Ethiopian band, a well-researched and informative presentation about Water Hyacinth and the threat it poses to Lake Tana, a robust panel discussion that addressed wide-ranging questions from the audience, a delicious dinner and coffee, and a competitive auction of a painting by local Ethiopian artist Tamirat Gebremariam.

The organisers cautioned those in the audience that the problem requires a sustained and multilateral campaign and highlighted the need for increased environmental activism among Ethiopians.

Below are photos from the event.

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser

Tana Fundraiser