Poor Communities are not Climate Change “Victims” but Climate Adaptation Agents

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climate adaptation Kirinyaga County Kenya

Residents of poor or developing countries are usually referred to as the ‘vulnerable’ or ‘victims’ of climate change because of how disproportionately they are affected by climate change because of their inadequate resources and low adaptive capacity. When extreme natural events or calamities hit them, it can set them further back into poverty.  

The article from Eco-Business offers a different view of these vulnerable communities. Rather than victims, poor communities have “the most potential to be climate adaptation leaders and have a central role to play in accelerating climate change solutions.”

They are the most dynamic and innovative when it comes to adapting to climate change. Sheela Patel, chair of Shack/Slum Dweller International (SDI) says that the poor knows what they need and should have a voice in any development plans or investments in their area. Still, the reality is that they do not but treated as beneficiaries instead.

The article says that despite meagre funds, lack of technical skills, political and economic discrimination poor communities continue to adapt to any climatic variations and extremes tapping into their wealth of local knowledge, existing, and grassroots-level solutions, leveraging and building on their past successes.

One of the ways to empower the poor in their efforts to cope and adapt to climate change is through supporting and funding locally led adaptation.

The article gives several examples of locally-led adaptation – actions that people are already doing to cope with the effects of climate change. Examples of these come from Bangladesh through their floating gardens, early warning systems in Kirinyaga County, Kenya, and the Philippines’ Informal settler’s plan of their climate-resilient housing.

Perhaps people from developing countries are more resilient and resourceful than is credited of them. The skills and knowledge that have allowed them to adapt in extreme climate conditions and variations are “assets” that could be tapped into and supported in the face of more harsh climate conditions to come.

The article enumerates examples of climate adaptation that are happening in poor and developing communities and suggestions that will empower locally-led climate adaptation.

To read the entire article, click the link below:

Source citation:

Arriens, J. (2019, June 19). Local communities are not just climate victims. Eco-business. Retrieved from https://www.eco-business.com/opinion/local-communities-are-not-just-climate-victims/

PHOTO CREDIT: Rice threshing in Mwea Kenya by Dj.ndrizy – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63516487

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