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Village Earth

Why Should We Care About Climate Change. by Luminta Cuna

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In a previous blog post I showed how the Amazon is drying due to changes in weather caused by land use change. Intense, large scale deforestation made space for immense grazing pastures and industrial monocultures like soy. Through a feedback effect, less Amazon forest means less rain, therefore the shrinking of this vast swath of trees in itself becomes a contributor to changing weather patterns. Last September, around Xingu Indigenous Park in Brazil, the biggest indigenous reserve in the world, a record 53,000 forest fires were detected. Dry, hot atmosphere led to even more forest destroyed and threw tons of CO₂ in the atmosphere, contributing, through a feedback loop, to more global warming.

Here in New York, since my last blog post 10 days ago, we experienced again a few days with 60 F followed by 2 days of blizzard and temperatures in the low 20s.  Everybody feels something is not right.

All over the world the effects of a warming world are already felt. Extreme weather events cause shoreline erosion, flooding, infrastructure damage severely disrupting daily activities. Melting mountain glaciers reduce water availability, which means failed crops and food security at risk. Heatwaves cause human deaths even in cities like Paris. Warmer winters enable pests and pathogens to survive and extend their range northward, spreading new diseases to humans, plants and animals. Crops and forests are decimated by fungi or mountain pine beetles. Vector borne diseases spread and new ones appear: the range of ticks carrying Lyme disease expands, the same stands true for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus, Zika or dengue fever.

If some population segments in wealthy industrialized countries are still sheltered from the effects of our warming planet, other groups are already extremely vulnerable to these changes. “Building Climate Change Resilient Communities” class explores what makes these groups vulnerable and looks at mitigation and adaptation options to build community resilience to climate change effects.

In brief, vulnerability of a group or people is determined by three main factors:

1 – the extent to which they are affected by climatic events (sensitivity)

2 – exposure to hazards

3 – the ability to avoid or adjust to potential hazards, the capacity to anticipate risk, to respond to climatic events, to recover and change (adaptive capacity)

We now live in a world where mitigation and adaptation became necessary. Village Earth’s class Building Climate Change Resilient Communities explores some of the options:

Mitigation: fuel efficient vehicles, solar and wind power, efficient lighting solutionms, improved land management and cultivation techniques, composting, wastewater treatment

Adaptation: smart agriculture, crop relocation, building seawalls and storm surge barriers, water reuse (rain harvesting and ocean water desalinization)

To enrol in the Building Climate Change Resilient Communities click here. Registration is open until April 17, 2017.

Upcoming Courses in the Village Earth/CSU Online Certificate Program in Community-Based Development

Summer II Session

GSLL 1501 – Approaches to Community Development

This course provides a framework for community development based on a participatory, bottom-up, multi-sector model. Various approaches have been used in community development with varying degrees of success. One approach that has consistently demonstrated effectiveness is the Village Earth model based on participatory practices.

Through personal and structural empowerment, the objectives of economic well-being, environmental sustainability, and socio-cultural vitalization can be met. By looking at an overview of the entire development process and using case studies, this course will prepare participants to work in the field of community development and illuminate how all of the development efforts fit together to support the overall goal of sustainability.

Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:

Compare different development approaches and evaluate their effectiveness.
Understand the basic principles that underlie sustainable development.
Incorporate participatory practices into community development activities
Design a development project based on the Village Earth model
Who should take this course? This course is suited for people who are interested in community development and work or plan to work in this field. This includes people working or volunteering at NGOs, NPOs, governmental organizations, without border organizations, or missionary organizations. In addition, people involved in funding community development projects benefit from this course.

Register Now »
Summer I Session

GSLL 1524 – Social Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development

This course will examine entrepreneurship and enterprise generation as a key foundation of the development of both economic and social capital, as well as individual and community empowerment. Its main emphasis will be the exploration of entrepreneurship with an imperative to drive social change and build sustainable ventures.

Register Now »

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