By The East Africa
Miller Chizema walked through the forest near his home and came across a pile of freshly-cut logs — a sight that spurred the 82-year-old villager to dismay and anger.
The logs were arranged in such a way that they were ready to be burnt into charcoal — a fuel that has become a substitute for Zimbabwe’s energy shortages, at a terrible cost to its forests.
“It hurts to see forests decimated like this,” said Chizema, who lives in Mhondoro Ngezi, in the centre of the country, 150 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of Harare.
Some loggers come from as far as Harare, “where we hear there is a big demand for charcoal,” he said.
“We, as elders, try to discourage the practice, but it’s all about money and survival.”