Meg Lowman, who had planned to begin an expedition this week in Ethiopia, will unfortunately have to postpone her trip because of political unrest in the country.
The purpose of Lowman’s trip is to survey the biodiversity of Ethiopian forests, to assist with local environmental education and to work alongside Coptic priests to develop a regional conservation plan for the small patches of forests that remain there.
The Church Forest Project provides local communities the resources they need to build stone walls around their forests, thereby protecting the forests from stray cattle and plowing while simultaneously improving the agricultural yield in their fields.
Lowman had planned to lead a team of eleven in the Gondor region of Ethiopia.
According to reports from Amnesty International, at least 97 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured last weekend when Ethiopian forces fired at protesters in Oromia and Amhara.
At least 30 people were killed in one day in the city of Bahir Dar, according to the organization.
The news of the bloodshed illustrates the ways in which political upheaval can derail the missions of those with peaceful intentions, like Lowman. It also highlights the importance of international collaboration and the stewardship of natural resources.
Lowman plans to reschedule the trip for January, during which time she will carry the WINGS flag.