Scenes of wild animals charging across the African landscape may only be on film for most of us, but for Professor Jacquie McGlade it is her reality, as she lives and works across the Maasai Mara in Kenya.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Prof McGlade studied a bachelor of science and marine sciences before running the European Environment Agency, which was heavily policy focused, and taking up the role of the United Nations Environment Program chief scientist.
It was her work with the UN that took her to Kenya, where she met a local tribal chief, fell in love and they married.
The rest is history.
"That was 10 years ago," she said.
"It is very different to things you might recognise in a normal setting of a scientist. We live in a boma which is a village of mud huts and my husband is the chief and looks after both people and livestock.
"Most people would know Maasia Marra from the feature films you see of the buffalo and the wildebeest crossing the Marra river with the crocodiles waiting for them, but that's real - that's my daily life.
"I'm surrounded by wildlife - cattle and lions and hyenas, a big entourage of animals everyday."
Prof McGlade said her life was balanced between teaching and research.
"But then working across this beautiful landscape - the Rift Valley - to really see that there's a future for thousands of people."
Prof McGlade said there could be up to several hundred thousand livestock roaming around the southern part of the Rift Valley, however, she said because of the drought the situation had become desperate.
"A lot of loss of cattle," she said. "We've come to the conclusion that we have to really change our way of life - not to stop being pastoralists but really recognise you can't just rely on there being enough grass for the livestock and that means you have to invest in science, you've got to bring new grasses in, think of new ways of creating the food source.
"A lot of the cattle are there for prestige - it's like the bank account on four legs."
The drought had been intense in Kenya and Prof McGlade said it was deepening because of El Nino.
"We get these intense storms but very constrained in geographic terms so you can have a flood two kilometres away and still be in drought conditions," she said.
"It is that uncertainty that's the worst of all of this - it's not as if you can anticipate and move your cattle because the clouds will come, there will be a rain cloud and that's it."
Prof McGlade said the day-to-day management of livestock in Kenya was similar to that of Australia, however, the level of investment affected the big picture.
"What's missing is the lack of investment," she said. "And that's why Kenya does not have an export grade livestock market.
"So my hope is that we can do both - we can raise the sustainability and profitability whilst maintaining a lot of those traditional cultural aspects. That will be the key I think, to the future."
Prof McGlade said they aimed to tackle these challenges in practical ways.
"Bringing the cattle together during the finishing stages, putting new kinds of paddocks of grasses which are mixtures of native grasses from the big savannas bringing those into condensed area, and making sure there's water of course," she said.
Prof McGlade said the other main challenge facing the country was the demographic divide, but agriculture was key.
"It is a country filled with young people and there aren't sufficient jobs but agriculture represents one of the most significant opportunities," she said.
"You do have young people now that have gone through to high school so they have much greater potential to pick up on all the smart agriculture," she said.
"Their interest in agriculture is not using a hand digger - it's about how could we possibly afford to be in a farming situation where you've got high tech.
"Once you cross that bridge, you have a lot of young people who want to be employed. My challenge is creating employment for young people in the agricultural industry, which has got a future."
Prof McGlade is the co-founder of Downforce Technologies which measures natural capital assets on properties and provides land management solutions focused on optimising soil health, soil organic carbon levels, and biodiversity.
Speaking at the Digital AgriFood Summit in Wagga Wagga last month, Prof McGlade said natural capital assets were key to reducing greenhouse gasses.
"The final solution lies with nature - the thing about nature is that it will do the heavy lifting for you if you actually set it up correctly and as farmers and as people that work on the land that is something that should be fundamental to how we think everyday," she said.
Prof McGlade said these assets had become an accounting tool valued by banks and other entities, but were also important for farmers to know for their own management.
"We cannot afford to leave any of these assets out of the calculations - producing food at the expense of other natural capital is not going to be a resilient solution, it's not going to get you to that net positive outcome," she said.
Prof McGlade said this was the thinking behind Downforce.
"When I left the UN I felt things were moving too slowly to help the world see that one of the greatest potentials to tackle climate change was going to come from a different kind of management from the land," she said.
"Not just about growing food of high quality but also making sure the whole natural capital - the biodiversity, the water, the soil health, was adequately taken care of so it was resilient to climate change but also sequestering carbon."
Prof McGlade the startup had clients around the world, including in Australia where they work with about 40 businesses, including Coles, and Sundown Pastoral Co, and Prof McGlade said that number was growing.
"We've actually analysed more than 2 million hectares of land [in Australia]," she said.
"Inside that we've done things like cropping rotations all the way through to land regeneration, and native vegetation, and so on.
"We're happily I would say, moving ahead in Australia, in the UK, and Africa, North America, on all of those different types of resources on agricultural resources on land on water, biodiversity, and bringing it all together.
"And at the same time, we have just got our ISO certification, which is a big step forward, because it means now that if we work with farmers to sequester carbon, we can certify it on the international markets."
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