WATERSHED: "That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community."
- John Wesley Powell
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It had been a madcap day of travel. 24 hours straight from India to Botswana: Delhi to Abu Dhabi, UAE to Johannesburg, South Africa, to Gaborone, capital of Botswana, then to Maun, the village where we stayed for the next two nights.
By the final leg, we had reached a point beyond hunger and exhaustion, our eyes bloodshot and hair matted, but each of us carrying around us a golden haze of excitement. Of our team of seven (Jos, the fourth member of the Australian videography crew, met up with us in Jo-burg), only Pablo had been to Africa before.
We were incredibly fortunate to have Map Ives, a living legend of the Okavango Delta, join us for two days of our bush journey as the resident expert. A grizzly bear of a man with a scraggly long white beard, sun-worn skin, and an easy resounding laugh, Map is the quintessential bush adventurer. He was born in Eastern Botswana to a British father and Dutch mother, and has lived in the Okavango as a conservationist and guide for the past 30 years.
Our nation’s capital casts a long shadow. Just a few miles from the Mall – famous for the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and Washington Monument – lies a troubled world that bears little resemblance to these iconic representations of democracy. No mobs of tourists throng the streets snapping photos there. Few world leaders ever visit.
Anacostia, in southeast Washington, D.C., is famous for entirely different reasons. It has one of the highest murder rates in the world. And its river is one of the most polluted in the country.
In this dark landscape, home to so much violence to nature and
We finally had an opportunity one morning to sleep in, and I felt spoiled for waking after sunrise. Hippos mooed like cows in the river that flows just outside the rooms, yawning their massive jaws. We were told that they kill more people in Botswana than any other wild animal. They’re aggressive and surprisingly quick given their girth.
In Botswana, a country the size of France with a population of just 1.6 million, one might imagine that competition for the water of the Delta—from humans, anyway—is not that fierce.
Most people know that the Himalayas are home to the tallest mountain on Earth, but few realize that they also shelter the largest stores of water outside the polar ice caps. Seven great Asian rivers originate here, supplying water to northern India, western China, Tibet, much of Southeast Asia, and all of Nepal: the Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze, and Yellow, the Indus, Brahmaputra, and Thanlwin. Altogether, these rivers support a stunning two billion people—that’s nearly one out of every three people on Earth.
We journeyed high into the Himalayas to see the glaciers with our own eyes.