Syndicate content

Climate Change

Trees and forests are key to fighting climate change and poverty. So are women

Patti Kristjanson's picture
Liberian woman's forest product market stand. © Gerardo Segura/World Bank
Liberian woman's forest product market stand. © Gerardo Segura/World Bank

According to IUCN’s ‘Global Forest Watch’, from 2001 to 2017, 337 million hectares of tropical tree cover was lost globally – an area the size of India.
 
So, we appear to be losing the battle, if not the war, against tropical deforestation, and missing a key opportunity to tackle climate change (if tropical deforestation were a country, it would rank 3rd in emissions) and reduce poverty. A key question, then, is what can forest sector investors, governments and other actors do differently to reverse these alarming trends?

India: How to help communities break the vicious "disaster-poverty" cycle

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
 

Natural disasters push the near poor to below the poverty line & contribute to more persistent and severe poverty, creating poverty traps. Impacts on their livelihood pushes them further down the poverty line and as they own few assets it is very difficult for them to break this cycle.
Poor are caught up in and disaster-poverty vicious circle- are more likely to reside in hazardous locations and in substandard housing exposing them more to disasters. Poor households in disasters use harmful coping strategies, such as reducing expenditures on food, health, & education or increasing incomes by sending children to work.

The road to recovery: Rebuilding the transport sector after a disaster

Melody Benavidez's picture
Transport and disaster recovery

In the Paradise, California fires of November 2018, a range of factors coalesced leaving 86 people dead and over 13,900 homes destroyed. Fueling the fires were gale-force winds that when combined with the area’s institutional and infrastructural challenges led to one of the deadliest fires in California history.

When Paradise was developed, the road network was built to maximize buildable space for homes. However, as the Paradise fires demonstrated, in the event of a large-scale disaster, the road network inhibited community-wide evacuation. Paradise featured nearly 100 miles of private roads that dead-ended on narrow overlooks with few connector streets. As wind rapidly accelerated the fire throughout the community, residents trying to flee found themselves on roads paralyzed by traffic for hours on end. Evacuation routes turned into fire traps. Local officials went on to say that the miracle of the tragedy was how many people escaped.

The Paradise example demonstrates the importance of transport networks for allowing swift evacuation during the response phase, and also hints at how important effective recovery of the transport network will be in Paradise, California. In the aftermath of any significant disaster event, it is the roads, railways and ports that underpin the restoration of economic activity and the reconstruction of critical infrastructure after a disaster. In the aftermath of devastating floods, earthquakes, landslides, or typhoons, roads may be rendered unusable, making it more expensive to transport goods and services as well as preventing people from earning income. As such, having multiple ways to get from point A to point B, by modality and by route, is critical to continued connectivity. The recovery phase can be the impetus to reexamine vulnerable links in the transport network and address those deficiencies to help reduce future risks and strengthen the economic and physical resilience of people and infrastructure assets.

The gender gap in the disaster risk management sector: why it matters

Caren Grown's picture

Over the past decade, the practice of disaster risk management (DRM) has evolved and matured.  From mainly focusing on disaster response, local and international actors alike now emphasize the importance of preparedness and prevention – saving lives and avoiding losses even before disaster strikes.

What if we could use nature to prevent disasters?

Brenden Jongman's picture
 

Heavy rain and severe flooding brought the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, to its knees. In China’s Yangtze River Basin, rivers spilled their banks, inundating towns and villages. In Mobile Bay, Alabama, strong ocean waves carried away valuable coastline.

In each of these locations, disasters caused by natural hazards seemed beyond human control. But instead of focusing only on building more drains, seawalls and dams, these governments turned to nature for protection from the disasters. Several years later, the urban wetlands, oyster reefs and flood plains they helped establish are now keeping their citizens safe while nourishing the local economies.

Paying for ecosystem services, a successful approach to reducing deforestation in Mexico

Stefano Pagiola's picture
The Jorullo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


Forested land provides a wide variety of benefits: they regulate water flows, sequester carbon, and harbor biodiversity. But farm communities receive few of these benefits. For them, forested lands mean some fuelwood, timber, perhaps some fruit — benefits that are much lower than those they could get by cutting the trees down and cultivating the land or using it for pasture. It’s not surprising, then, that many of them choose to do so, resulting in high rates of deforestation throughout the world.

Disasters due to natural hazards are just the tip of the iceberg in MENA cities

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
 

Resilience is increasingly recognized as a key attribute of an effective urban system. Discussions on resilience often center around disasters caused by natural hazards. However, cities are increasingly exposed to multiple shocks and stresses beyond disasters. Cities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are no different and are equally if not more vulnerable to a large set of shocks.

Community-based forestry in Malawi will soon bear fruit

Hasita Bhammar's picture
Firewood on bicycles as primary mode of reaching markets, Malawi. © Dejere/Shutterstock.com
Firewood on bicycles as primary mode of reaching markets, Malawi. © Dejere/Shutterstock.com

The jeep came to an abrupt halt, a few miles before we reached Lengwe National Park. I saw the Forest Officer jump out and stop a villager on a bicycle that was overloaded with a giant stack of firewood. The villager looked distraught as the Forest Officer confiscated the logs and sent him off with a cautionary warning. With a shrug of resignation, the officer explained that harvesting firewood in forest reserves and national parks was illegal and incidents like the one I had just witnessed were increasing tensions between the community and the Department of Forestry. 

For many Malawians, firewood and charcoal provide their only source of income and for the majority, they are also the only form of energy (fewer than one in 10 people has access to electricity). Their economic predicament forces them to risk being apprehended but under these circumstances, they take their chances.

Why finance ministers may hold the keys to climate action

Marcello Estevão's picture
People watch the rescue process in the flooded area on August 17,2018 in Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India. Kerala was badly affected by the floods during the monsoon season. Source: AJP, Shutterstock.


Without urgent action, the impact of climate change could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030. Meeting global climate goals requires ambitious, transformational and systemic action. Sustainable infrastructure is at the heart of this opportunity and can deliver cities where we can move, breathe and be productive; resilient systems for power, water and housing that withstand increasingly frequent and severe climate extremes; and ecosystems that are more productive and robust. Mobilizing public and private resources is an essential part of generating the trillions of dollars needed for this sustainable infrastructure.

Climate change is not simply an “environmental” problem. Rising temperatures pose potentially catastrophic risks to people, their livelihoods, and entire cities. Climate change puts every aspect of society at risk and has become a serious financial and economic problem. 

Cocoa Honey: A Sweet Good-bye

Martin Raiser's picture
 


Cocoa honey is probably the sweetest and most intensely flavored fruit juice I have ever tasted. It is extracted from the white flesh around the fresh cocoa beans, which are wrapped in a banana leaf until all of the juice has dripped out. This is only one of the tropical delicacies I had the privilege to try during a recent trip to the state of Bahia in Brazil’s Northeast. There was also acai, jackfruit, cupuaçú, cajá (the latter two tropical fruit usually consumed as juice), licuri (a palm nut used to produce oil but also excellent toasted and salted), bananas - and of course: chocolate. 


Pages