Friday, July 29, 2011

Climate Adaptation

Shivantha Withanage

Climate change, the realistic gift from nature as a consequence of the man’s contribution to imbalance the global warming process of earth, started hinting about the disasters it can cause since several decades. Since then many activists forecasted the future of this crisis and present many ideas to stop or more practically to control this chaos. But as we experience now, human kind has been unable to return the favor to the Mother Nature. As a result climate change crisis is augmenting each and every moment, and we are reaching the disorder from a relative order.

It has been proven in front of our eyes that we are clueless in this crisis. We had the chance to return the order in to the global warming process, but we were too busy achieving the so called industrial and economical development. For a while man has been overridden by the things which man has created, and that while was enough to alter a natural phenomenon, which is essential to keep our planet warm, in to a disaster generator. So far we have experienced number of disasters due to climate change such as heavy rain falls, too cold winters, too warm summers, droughts, storms and the list goes on. Not only natural disasters but also infections which can easily spread with the new conditions can cause a large damage. But we should understand these are just minor scenarios comparing to the major disasters which we yet have not imagined.

Currently United States of America is responsible for nearly 25% of world’s carbon dioxide emission, making them the largest polluter of the earth and a major contributor to the climate change. Therefore they wanted to prove themselves as the biggest cleaner of the planet. In order to do that they initiated an agreement among the mayors of cities which they called as the U.S Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. With that they aim to decrease the carbon dioxide emission in their own cities and cut greenhouse gas emission to levels below what they were in 1990 by 2012. Similar local and national programs have been launched around the world to restore the natural process of global warming of this planet. However the success of those programs is seriously doubtable.

Climate change activists came up with ideas like [1]using CFL bulbs instead filament light bulbs to minimize the energy expenditure thus decrease the carbon dioxide emission, using canvas bags over plastic or paper bags, recycling papers and minimizing usage of papers in order to decrease the deforestation done to make papers, reforestation, promoting electronic messaging systems and billing systems, using hybrid vehicles, moving to alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal or nuclear which do not emit carbon dioxide in their electricity generating process, promoting bio-fuels which have higher efficiency than normal fuels in order to control global warming. Even though entire world precisely make active these ideas, not even half of carbon dioxide that we emit now will be stamp out. If we need to bring back order to the global warming process before it become worse, what we need is a zero carbon footprint over the planet for a certain time. As it took time to develop this chaos, it will take time to return to normal. The question is, whether world is ready to accept the reality and sacrifice some of their daily things in order to protect the future?

Eventually we are running out of choices while we are reaching a chaos. Since we are unable to correct our own fault, only choice left for us is the adaptation. There were many changes in the earth since life origin. Life survived and came a long way to the present through various adaptations to those changes. Adaptation is a key feature of any living kind in order to ensure their survival in various changes in the environment. Therefore in order to face these climate disasters and ensure the survival of human kind we need climate adaptation. Climate adaptation is the last option on the list. Even though climate change activists added it to the list they hardly thought they would be using it.

Climate change is the result of the altered earth’s atmosphere by increased atmospheric temperature due to impaired global warming process. Due to climate change, unpredictable and disastrous climate conditions are possible all around the world at any moment in any place. Climate adaptation involves the development and utilization of viable methods and techniques to face the climate change disasters with the minimum damage and enforce the rehabilitation.

Climate adaptation has several aspects. In order to reach the ultimate goal, we need to fulfill all those aspects to the utmost level we are capable. There are three main dimensions in climate adaptation; development of methods to minimize damages from climate disasters, utilization of them and after disaster management for a strong rehabilitation. In this task not only physical damage should be taken in to account but also the psycho-social damage. Following are some prioritized ideas in order achieve goals in climate adaptation.

  • Planning cities to withstand natural disasters.

  • Building flexible and defendable structure which will get less damaged.

  • Identifying areas with less damage and relocating.

  • Developing forewarning systems for various climate disasters.

  • Strengthening the communication about climate disasters among society.

  • Educating people about natural disasters and management to minimize damage.

  • Building a strong partnership among countries/regions to help each other in such disaster situations.

  • Selecting areas and increasing cultivations in those areas in order to use as food storages.

  • Capacity building among people.

  • Enhancing the power of sectors such as medical, rescuing teams and rebuilders which are vital in climate disasters.

  • Initiating programs to maintain supplies like water, food, medicine and shelter which are vital in such situations.

  • Developing versatile facilities to use in disastrous conditions.

  • Utilizing technological approaches to minimize the damages.

  • Keep on researching and developing novel eco-friendly technologies.

  • Counseling and initiating rehabilitation programs for victims.

Ultimate and only goal of climate adaptation is the survival of the civilization. This is something we all should achieve in our personal aspects as well as in our social aspects. Coordination between local areas or regions is not sufficient in this case. Entire world should act as a unit to overcome this challenge. Humans should not try to take economical advantages through climate adaptation. The core of climate adaptation is respect of one life towards another. This is a situation where humans should stand for one another and show their gratitude towards the society which raised them.

[1] The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming (Laurie David & Cambria Gordon)