In the history of our planet, we have been through several catastrophic events. The communities which were better prepared and adapted to the calamities survived and thrived, while the rest perished! The present-day challenge comes in the form of climate change and it is expected to be a rougher trip down the road. With no current robust implementations to cut down the emissions of greenhouse gas — the majority of which comes from the combustion of fossil fuels — the negative repercussions of the climate change seem inevitable in the years to come. As the global warming continues, we can already see the early-stage climate changes in the form of sea-level rising and extreme weather events such as floods, heavy rainfalls, drought, wildfires, heat waves, hurricanes and cyclones! This can particularly threaten our home, food security, livelihood and in the worst-case scenario, even our lives. Unquestionably, it becomes imperative for us to brace ourselves and do whatever we could to mitigate and adapt to the challenges of an impending climate crisis.
We can respond to global warming with adequate and timely adjustments so that the harmful effects of climate change could be moderated or minimised or avoided altogether. The need to mitigate and adapt to climate change is essential, especially for the developing nations where millions of people are ill-prepared to face the challenges and are expected to be the worst hit. With limited resources and lack of proper education, infrastructure and public health awareness, these nations must adjust now to survive the future duel with climate change.
Home to huge population stricken with poverty and hunger, some regions in continents like Asia and Africa, which rely on agriculture for their food and livelihood, adaptation efforts are being made to tackle the social and economic damages which floods, drought and heavy rainfall could bring. These adaptations measures could be planned or implemented simultaneously as a response to the stresses. From embracing advanced land use planning and installing protective or resilient technologies, the scope is huge for improvement. The global rainfall and precipitation patterns are likely to be affected by climate change which will have an impact on agriculture as 80 per cent of the global agriculture is rain-fed. Further, the changes in the soil moisture storage can degrade the quality of arable land. With incidents of drought and heatwaves to become more frequent, the failure of small and marginal farms can lead to disruptions in the social, economic and political lives of a country! Adaptation measures such as efficient storage of rainwater, growing more drought-resistant crops and by using fast global transportation systems to transfer extra food from one region to another, could help people in the event of a crisis. As global warming leads to warmer global temperature, the water table is expected to go down further. This will make irrigation more expensive as it will require more energy to pump water from a lower level. Hence, more investment to modernise existing irrigating systems is required. To ensure water to the farms, scientists have been creating rain with the help of cloud seeding.
Fuelled by poor farming practices and non-sustainable land use, desertification of arable land has been increasing. The Great Green Wall project aims at preventing further expansion of the Sahara desert to the South, in Africa. Glaciers in the mountainous regions are at risk of bursting owing to a warmer temperature. The communities could face heavy losses in terms of infrastructure and human lives. To mitigate the risks, the moraines of the glaciers can be replaced with concrete dams. With technological and infrastructural changes, behaviour changes among people should also be promoted. Planting of different crops by farmers, buying more flood-related insurance by coastal communities, usage of lesser water by individuals are a few such behaviour shifts which could help mitigate the climate change risks. We need a comprehensive adaptation and mitigate strategy which includes involvement and collaboration of farmers, government, local authorities and policymakers to ensure our safety in the future.