Climate change solutions lie with poor communities

By Robert L. Domoguen, Philippine Country Programme Management Team Member

Experts discussing their topics on agriculture and climate change at the 3rd IFAD-Philippines Knowledge and Learning Market (KLM) sessions this morning (21 October 2009) said that the poor are not to be blamed for this weather anomaly’s occurrence and destruction on the nation.

The poor are the least responsible, if we are searching for someone to blame for climate change. Still, they are the most vulnerable and suffer all types of hardships that are likely to emerge as a result, according to Ms. Marie Nunez of OXFAM.

Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng brought the reality of the impact of climate change into our doors. Filipinos have yet to take into account the long-term consequences of the destruction wrought by both typhoons. Another super typhoon, code named Ramil is threatening North Luzon. It will force Filipinos, most of whom are unaware of scientific adaptation strategies for coping with climate change, to search for much needed solutions.

Climate change solutions lie with poor communities

In the Philippines, the search for climate change solutions must begin with participatory planning at all levels. Farmers groups, local government units (LGUs), government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) will need to sit together to understand and prepare actions to deal with climate change. The planning and execution of plans will also need to go beyond political boundaries. This is because the environment and consequences of climate change go beyond political boundaries, according to Mr. Eduardo Queblatin of UNDP.

Most Filipinos, especially the farmers, remain unaware of scientific adaptation strategies for coping with climate change. “However, we have braved the adversity associated with climate variability. We are responding to weather changes informally, the best way we can,” said Mr. Efren Arroyo, enterprise development coordinator of PAKISAMA. The latter is a nationwide farmers organization engaged in the promotion of organic agriculture. Arroyo said adaptations to climate change in the Philippines will need to consider farmers, fishermen and indigenous experiences in dealing with weather-related natural calamities. Strategies to cope with climate change will need to build on systems adapted to local philosophy, culture, and traditions.

The government has ratified numerous international climate change commitments including the Philippine Agenda 21. Popular participation remains a challenge to be addressed, Arroyo explained. His brief talk sought wide consultations on the government’s policy framework and for vulnerable poor communities who bear the brunt of climatic changes to be given opportunities to express themselves. There is a need to look into this information gap.

During the open forum, speakers agreed that the potential contributions from the poor communities must be sought in order to come up with an all inclusive plan. This will result in the crafting of plans and policies that are useful to and widely supported by them. When the results are dependent on the people, more effort is needed to strengthen the capacity of local people as well as to improve on their experiences and traditional knowledge in order to develop relevant techniques that can be included in national policies. -30-


Anonymous said…
To whom it may concern,

In the run up to the Copenhagen climate change conference, it is vital the following information be disseminated to the public as well as to our political leaders.

A widely cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Livestock's Long Shadow, estimates that 18 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to livestock….however recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang co-authors of "Livestock and Climate Change" in the latest issue of World Watch magazine found that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions!

The main sources of GHGs from animal agriculture are: (1) Deforestation of the rainforests to grow feed for livestock. (2) Methane from manure waste. – Methane is 72 times more potent as a global warming gas than CO2 (3) Refrigeration and transport of meat around the world. (4) Raising, processing and slaughtering of the animal.

Meat production also uses a massive amount of water and other resources which would be better used to feed the world’s hungry and provide water to those in need.

Based on their research, Goodland and Anhang conclude that replacing livestock products with soy-based and other alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They say "This approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations-and thus on the rate the climate is warming-than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy."

The fact is that we are being informed of the dangerous path we are on by depending greatly on animal flesh for human consumption. We still have the opportunity to make the most effective steps in saving ourselves and this planet. By simply choosing a plant based diet we can reduce our carbon foot print by a huge amount.

We are gambling with our lives and with those of our future generations to come. It's madness to know we are fully aware of the possible consequences but yet are failing to act.

Promoting a plant based diet to the public is would be the most effective way to curb deforestation, we hope this will be adopted as a significant measure to save the rainforests and protect the delicate ecology.

Thank you for your consideration.
Clay Barham said…
2008 saw what NASA called the Sun’s “blankest year” where 266 of the year's 366 days, there were no sunspots. Sunspot counts for 2009 have been very low, too. This all begs the question: does solar activity have a long-term effect here on Earth? Times of depressed solar activity correspond with times of global cold. From 1645 to 1715, few if any sunspots were seen and Western Europe entered a virtual deep-freeze known as the Little Ice Age. Times of increased solar activity have corresponded with global warming. The 12th and 13th centuries, when the Sun was active, European climate was quite mild. Experts predict that the current solar cycle will peak in 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots. The Sun should remain calm for at least another year. Of course, all this disruption is caused by the lighter-than-air carbon dioxide America has produced in the past few decades. These light gases rise to the sun and disrupt the magnetic causes for sunspots, altering the averages of sunspot activity. The effects on the under developed world is extreme, causing wars, famines and revolutions which disturb the compassionate dictatorships and the order they provide. It must stop! America must be shut down by the Obama Administration, beginning with elimination of the middle class and all its outrageous demands for goods and services.