"Anthropogenically induced changes in climate leading to adverse alterations in temperature, precipitation and sea level pose a mega threat to the lives and livelihoods of people every where in our planet. However, it is only the poor nations and the poor in all nations who will suffer most because they lack adequate coping capacity" says Prof. M S Swaminathan is Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Chairman, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation in
Most climate predictions warn that South Asia and sub-Saharan
Countries in Asia and
Discussions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the international political level are important. At the same time, steps have to be taken to promote climate literacy at the local level in order to enhance the adaptation and coping capacity of local populations to the more frequent occurrence of drought, floods, higher mean temperature, and rise in sea level. This is why as early as 1973, I had proposed the development of local level drought and flood codes as well as a code for maximizing the benefits of good weather conditions. Such codes can provide an action plan tailored to local socio-cultural and agro-ecological conditions. For example, in the case of crops, the local codes would help in preparing contingency plans for adjusting land and water use to suit different weather probabilities. In each village, a woman and a man can be trained to serve as Climate Risk Managers . They should be well versed in the art and science of mitigating the impact of climate change on human health, animal welfare, crop husbandry and livelihoods.
The alternative cropping strategies and crop life-saving techniques developed to ensure food security in an era of climate change should be backed up with appropriate input supply arrangements. Just as food grain reserves are important for food security, seed reserves are important for crop security. “Store grain and water everywhere” should be the motto of local level Climate Risk Managers.
While every effort should be made to improve the survival of small holding agriculture, steps should be taken concurrently to enhance opportunities for multiple livelihoods in order to ensure a minimum income. The biovillage model of sustainable human security I had introduced in villages in
From the foregoing, it will be obvious that climate awareness as well as conservation action at the Grassroots level can help local communities to manage better the adverse impact of climate change. Local level Climate Risk Managers can spread both climate and genetic literacy and create awareness of the fact that Climate Change Saviour Crops and varieties can help to save lives and livelihoods. While the genetic and knowledge enhancement of the coping capacity at local level is important, there is also need for concerted action at the global level to reduce greenhouse gas emission. This is why the Copenhagen Conference is crucial to human security and survival. If the