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Scouting watering holes from space

Der Klimawandel ist eines der großen Probleme unserer Zeit und schreitet stetig voran. In diesem Artikel aus der aktuellen Ausgabe der Read On lesen Sie, wie GPS-Technologie afrikanischen Hirten und ihren Herden hilft, auch in diesen Zeiten Wasserstellen zu finden. Bekommen Sie anschließend einen Einblick in unser Übungsmaterial, das Fragen zum Hinführen auf den Text beinhaltet. Den kompletten Artikel lesen Sie in der September-Ausgabe.

GPS technology is helping Africa’s herders and cocoa growers farm more efficiently.

By John Bilstein

1 African herdsmen in places like Mali and Senegal have been grazing animals for thousands of years. When the grass got scarce for their goats, donkeys and cows, they would move their animals onto new pastures many miles away.

2 But grazing animals need a lot of water, and finding good watering holes with plentiful grass around them has become more difficult in recent years. Climate change is leading to drought in many parts of Africa, so herders are turning to technology to make their lives a little bit easier: they are using satellite services provided by NASA and ESAT to find the best areas to keep their herds fed and watered.

3 Until a few years ago, herdsmen would pay scouts to go looking for water. The scouts normally rode across the land on Land Rovers or camels and reported back to the herders whenever they had found a good spot. These services cost a lot of money, but they weren’t always reliable. Sometimes the herdsmen would arrive at the new watering holes with their animals to find other herds had got there before them.

4 Too many animals in one place meant that the grass would be gone very quickly, and crowded watering holes often led to animals falling ill with infectious diseases. In some cases, herders had to move their animals on every couple of weeks, leading to a lot of stress and exhaustion. (…)


0 to scout auskundschaften — farming Landwirtschaft — herder Hirte(-in) — cocoa farmer Kakaobauer(-bäuerin) — to farm Landwirtschaft betreiben — efficiently effizient

1 herdsman Hirte — to graze (animals) (Tiere) weiden lassen — thousands of Tausende von — scarce knapp — goat Ziege — donkey Esel — pasture Weideland

2 to graze grasen — watering hole Wasserstelle — plentiful reichlich — in recent years in den vergangenen Jahren — climate change Klimawandel — to lead to s.th. zu etw. führen — drought Trockenheit — to turn to s.th. zu etw. greifen — satellite service Satellitendienst — to provide bereitstellen — to keep (an animal) fed and watered dafür sorgen, dass ein Tier genug Futter und Wasser bekommt — herd Herde

3 scout Kundschafter(in) — normally üblicherweise — to report back Bericht erstatten — whenever wann immer — spot Stelle — reliable zuverlässig — to find feststellen

4 to fall ill krank werden — infectious disease Infektionskrankheit — in some cases in einigen Fällen — to move (an animal) on (ein Tier) zum Weiterziehen antreiben — every couple of weeks alle paar Wochen — exhaustion Erschöpfung


Class discussions

a) How often do you use GPS? What impact does GPS technology have on our daily lives?

b) Do you remember, or have your parents told you about, our world before the introduction of GPS technology? Try to imagine what taking a car trip or going on a hike without GPS would have been like.

c) Are there risks to GPS technology being so widely available?


Vocabulary exercise


Photo: Pixabay