Climate change threatens food sources for the people, wildlife

There is evidence that climate change is accelerating, as revealed by informed and formal projections and currently unfolding events on the ground such as the harsh and extreme weather phenomena and natural disasters.

Seasons have gradually shifted, while ecosystems have been threatened with forests no longer able to produce enough wild fruits, vegetables, edible plants and insects to feed both people and animals, thereby threatening biodiversity and the complex value-chains. These upheavals are so terrible that they can culminate into biological disaster.

Rural communities have for generations explored and valued the forests as sources of supplementary food and other livelihoods. Although there has not been clear dates on when exactly they would get the forest fruits and other edibles, the seasons were never deceiving and they were quite definite and promising.

Communities never used to run short of supplies and their survival was guaranteed. They could count the seasons using their traditional undocumented calendars, which were also context specific. Now with seasonal shifts, erratic weather patterns culminating in rainfall scarcities, or violent winds and heavy destructive downpours, as well as droughts, too much heat or cold and natural disasters, forests are no longer as dependable as before. This is a cause for concern and there are reasons for people to get worried, hence they need to revisit their designs and interpretation of the cosmos, in order to adapt sufficiently and appropriately.

While people can adapt and innovate, there is a danger that animals which survive on fruits and plants may be severely affected because they also depend on seasonal cycles for survival.

Whenever there is a drought and rainfall scarcities, many domestic and wild animals die of starvation. Even people are affected as well and sometimes they don’t have immediate solutions, not mentioning inadequate climate action strategies for livelihood survival and resilience.

In this view, communities need to engage in serious and life-saving adaptation programmes in order to charter and bring a new survival impetus to this scaring climate change phenomena.

In this regard, communities should be nurtured into sustainable agro-based eco-preneural skills to create wide choices and opportunities for survival. In this view, agro-based new smart techniques become people-driven and pivotal at the heart of sustainable development.

Communities should always be better situated to communicate risks and pull themselves from situations that are a danger to their livelihoods. One other innovation which is part of a broad network of agro-preneurship is agro-forestry, especially nurturing forest fruit tree species, with the aim of harvesting the fruits in future, sell them, get money and improve their nutritional status as well as paying fees for their children. By so doing, they will be confronting and taming climate change head-on.

For the survival of wild animals, it is advisable for communities to avoid behaviours that promote indiscriminate killings and poaching, the destruction of nature, the degradation of land, deforestation activities and siltation of water bodies and lifelines.

These would promote forest protection, biodiversity and ecosystemic conservation. There are underground creatures which promote soil fertility and growth and, as such, careless burning of forests should be condemned and be punishable in strongest terms.

This cannot just happen overnight, but through education, awareness and training for environmental stewardship, these climate and sustainable goals can be realised.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, where climate change is projected to cause severe impacts, although people can benefit from selling forest fruits and edible insects, for commercial value, indiscriminate harvests of these forest products should be systematically regulated so that there is order and normalcy in their management.

If communities are not serious or knowledgeable enough, climate change can sweep away these forests’ means of survival and leave them exposed and vulnerable. This would not only render them hungry, but also open them to an influx of diseases.

As such, communities should practice a culture of land restorations, including safeguarding wetlands, coming up with inland water reservoirs, forest regenerations and sustainably manage wild fires, in order to protect wild-life and its engendered species.

The impacts of climate change should not be watched in a disempowering manner, hence people should be creative and innovative so that they confront the climate challenge and adapt sustainably. What is required are skilful measures for adaptation programmes complemented by relevant and practical tools to communicate these initiatives.

Communities should be equipped with shock management techniques so that they are able to survive under difficult circumstances and situations. Communicating climate change phenomena is quite challenging, therefore, practice and mainstreaming biodiversity is the way to go.

People should not always look at forests as sources of free and cheaper foodstuffs, but they need to be able to produce their own food and leave forests intact. Meaning that the wild-life species, would be intact, so are the water bodies, insects, whether edible or not, including forest fruits, plants and vegetables.

These new approaches are needed for communities to be able to respond to the impacts of climate change and realise environmental sustainability and resilience. People also need to tame their insatiable desire for bush meat and learn to venture into poultry, piggery, cattle fattening, rabbit keeping and fish farming, just to mention a few.

People without food security can be easily destroyed by climate change impacts because of lack of security.

Many African countries, have been busy indirectly mortgaging the resources of their countries through entering into deals that have since seen some countries accelerating into deserts through illegal and proxy logging of indigenous hardwoods and also unsustainable and unregulated mining activities.

The best approach is to keep carbon dioxide under lock and key because unlocking too much of it into the atmosphere would accelerate global warming.

Finally, instead of viewing certain animal species as endangered, sooner than later human beings will become a broad network of endangered species as well.

Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted on: petrovmoyt@gmail.com

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