Paris to Malawi – can the world grasp its moment of hope?

We drove for two hours from the nearest town, canoed down a crocodile-infested river and took the last few kilometres of bumpy dirt track by motorbike to reach the village.

This was the Chikwawa district of southern Malawi; the remotest part of a remote land, a place where you stand on a hill and see nothing but barren, dusty landscape for miles.

News from the other side of the world still travels slowly in places like Chikwawa and so it was the following morning, powered by patchy wifi back in the town, that we learnt of Paris. The Malawians we told reacted as we had: a stunned silence and a look of horror, sadness and utter bewilderment.

We had come to Malawi with Paris in mind. From November 30th to December 11th the French capital hosts the UN Climate Summit. Malawi is a country with a lot riding on that summit and in the villages of Chikwawa we wanted to see just how high the stakes are.

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