Mothers Of Nature

The incredible women featured in this project are the guardians of Sri Lanka’s Mangrove forests.

The island nation’s mangrove forest and lagoon systems are breeding grounds for fish and provide vital food and jobs to coastal populations. Huge numbers of plant and animal species are reliant on the forests unique environments to house their diverse ecosystems.

Many of these women are widows of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war or the 2004 tsunami and are often the sole provider for their families. Others have suffered domestic violence, abuse and extreme poverty.

With the help of NGO Sudessa in collaboration with Seacology, these women are granted micro-loans to assist them in setting up businesses; in return they take part in courses that teach the importance of the mangrove forest, how to protect it and how to educate their community about the many benefits of the forest.

Over 80% of the forest has been lost in the last 100 years due to large scale shrimp farming, salt production, bombing during the civil war and firewood collection. Exploitation of the land can still be seen in many areas due to the expansion of commercial shrimp farms. 50% of mangrove forests have been lost globally in the same period.

Mangrove forests sequester 3-5 times more carbon than other tropical forest. Following the UN’s recent climate change report that states as a planet we only have 12 years to limit global warming Sudessa’s & Seacology’s model of empowerment, protection, planting and nurture is one that could be applied to many other regions in the world and help save our planet.

These women represent the 15,000 women involved in the project from all Sri Lanka’s coastal regions. They all have a story. Sometimes heartbreaking, often inspiring and always growing.

Dedicated to my friend Jon Lewin

Mothers Of Nature - Oxford University Seminar

I was invited by Oxford University to talk to their Biodiversity department during lockdown via zoom. This video contains the entire lecture and gives a deeper understanding of the project as a whole. 

Using Format