Exploring Themes and Interactivity

As the weeks progress it is easy to get lost on the goal of the project. The Aqua Project is built around the theme of the drought in South Africa, which was worsened by the El Nino climatic phenomenon. But this project will also look beyond the present conditions in South Africa to see what the future looks like as result of long term climate change.

This is just to re-envision the crux of the project:

  • Investigate how the drought of 2015-2016 affect the South African climate.
  • To see how it has affected the farming communities in South Africa in terms of personal cost and what it has cost the government.
  • To enquire how the most vulnerable groups were affected by the drought, and we chose to focus on subsistence farmers in South Africa, using a farming community in Muden, Kwazulu-Natal, as a case study.
  • Lastly, to represent possible solutions and adaptive protocols to assist those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

All the talks about economics and climate change can be a bit of a dry topic (excuse the pun), but we hope to keep viewers engaged through various interactive features on the website.

Here are a few interesting websites we have decided to use as reference points or inspiration:

  1. WWF has generated an interactive Water Risk Filter that illustrates how severely different agricultural industries are affected across South Africa:

    Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 10.59.21 AM
    This is an example of the Water Risk Map in action, indicating how plant production will be affected across South Africa by the drought. Source: The Water Risk Filter
  2. I was really inspired by this site’s method of digital storytelling. Folha de S.Paulo discusses the controversy of a construction project in Brazil which is being built on a site with great cultural history and environmental significance. It combines various visual elements, including infographics, full screen photographs, videos, maps and slideshows. The method of writing also draws on a lot of statistics, interviews, and diverse sources. In addition, the site has been smartly divided into five sections: construction, environment, society, indigenous people and history. I respect how this site manages to engage the user’s attention throughout the user experience. It has a lot of content, but through careful placement of visual content it leads the user through the entire story. We hope to draw on this method of our digital story on the drought in South Africa. 


It does seem a bit like a black hole – as soon as you enter discussions around climate change and agriculture a whole new world opens up, and all these tiny innovative projects pop up. Take SmartAgri for instance, it is a collaborative project between the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, The Department of Environmental Affairs and the University of Cape Town’s African Climate and Development Initiative. It is is aimed at creating sustainable climate smart responses for increased resilience in agriculture.  See the following:

The amount of technology available to assist in climate-smart decisions is abundant. We just need to remember that there is an unequal distribution of knowledge and access to information. As result, many of the subsistence farmers do not have access to information that would be beneficial to their agricultural practises.

By Soninke






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