Eco-Friendly Solution in the Congo

Our next story takes us to the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the home of Africa's oldest park, Virunga National Park.

Located in central Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo is sometimes referred to as DR Congo, or even shortened to just Congo,

Some of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas live there. But amid war and poverty, Arwa Damon has details on a solution to save the gorillas, and the world heritage site.


--REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--

BY NIGHT THE WORLD'S LARGEST LAVA LAKE BECOMES A STUNNING MOSAIC OF CRASHING DEEP ORANGE-RED WAVES …

BY DAY, NEARLY A THIRD OF THE WORLD'S REMAINING MOUNTAIN GORILLAS FORAGE FOR FOOD…

THIS IS VIRUNGA, A WORLD HERITAGE SITE, IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO… A PLACE OF UNPARALLED BIODIVERSITY…

BUT SURVEYING THE SAVANNAH BELOW, PARK DIRECTOR EMMANUEL DE MERODE KNOWS … NATURAL WONDER ISN'T ENOUGH…

(Emmanuel de Merode, Park Director) "See these charcoal points, all the way along, everywhere there is smoke, that's actually inside the park."

THE PARK ALSO SITS IN THE HEART OF THE WORLD'S LONGEST RUNNING CIVIL WAR…

(Emmanuel de Merode, Park Director) "That's the worst area we have lost probably 18 of our staff just on that little stretch of road."

AND THEN THERE IS OIL.

(Emmanuel de Merode, Park Director) "That's where the drilling was due to be."

THE GOVERNMENT AUTHORIZED UK OIL GIANT SOCO TO EXPLORE FOR OIL HERE, INSIDE THE PARK. CONSERVATIONISTS CALLED THE MOVE ILLEGAL AND ALLEGATIONS OF INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE AGAINST LOCAL WORKERS SURFACED. WHILE SOCO HAS DENIED THE ALLEGATIONS, FIVE YEARS ON, IT OFFICIALLY ABANDONED THE PROJECT THIS MONTH.

(Emmanuel de Merode, Park Director) "We are still very uncertain where we stand with the oil industry, there's still a lot of uncertainty there, so we have to remain very vigilant."

THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF PROTECTING PARK BOUNDARIES WILL NEVER WORK HERE … ESPECIALLY NOT WHEN FOUR MILLION PEOPLE LIVE IN POVERTY ON VIRUNGA'S EDGE…

SO HOW DOES NATURE WIN?

LIKE THIS:

A MASSIVE HYDRO-ELECTRIC PROJECT… THAT WILL BRING SUSTAINABLE ENERGY TO AN ENTIRE REGION FOR THE FIRST TIME … THIS STATION, BUILT JUST OUTSIDE THE PARK IS ONE OF EIGHT, ALL SET TO BE ONLINE BY 2025…

POWERED BY WATER FROM VIRUNGA'S PROTECTED MOUNTAINS….

(Emmanuel de Merode, Park Director) "If you have a healthy forest then you have these steady water flows, stable water flows and you can reliably produce electricity."

AND WITH THAT WILL COME SMALL AND MEDIUM COMPANIES … AND JOBS ALL DEPENDENT ON THE PARKS VIGOR TO SURVIVE.

LEAD ENGINEER SAFARI KAMBALI KNOWS IT WILL CHANGE HIS AND HIS CHILDREN'S FUTURE.

WE LIVE IN THE DARK, HE SAYS, THIS IS GOING TO ALLOW A GENERATION OF YOUTH TO NOT BUSY THEMSELVES WITH ARMED GROUPS BUT WITH DEVELOPING THE COUNTRY.

AND MAKING THAT DEVELOPMENT RELIANT ON POWER PROVIDED BY NATURE MEANS VIRUNGA HAS A CHANCE TO WIN THE CONSERVATION RACE …

ARWA DAMON, CNN, VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK


In that story, you heard the term sustainable energy. Like renewable energy which we talked about earlier, sustainable energy is produced using the sun or wind, rather than using coal or oil.

Instructional Links

Images & Slideshow: The Telegraph, Gorillas' Habitat Threatened As Oil Exploration Puts Congo's Virunga Park at Risk

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/10214545/Gorillas-habitat-threatened-as-oil-exploration-puts-Congos-Virunga-Park-at-risk.html?frame=2632267

Website Article & Map: National Online, Democratic Republic of the Congo

http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/dr_congo_map2.htm

Encyclopedia Article: World Book Student, Gorilla

http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar230200

May Need Password

Website Article: Alliant Energy Kids, Fun Facts about Renewable Energy

http://www.alliantenergykids.com/EnergyandTheEnvironment/RenewableEnergy/022403

Website: Tiki the Penguin's Guide to Energy

http://tiki.oneworld.org/energy/energy.html

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