so many questions, gosh, I will try to address them by talking about structural issues. The problem I see in Africa is that we had the 'Green Revolution', which is essentially a way of using fossil fuels in order to mine the soil of humus. Monocropping, nitrogenous fertilizer and long supply lines to feed all the people who have moved into cities has really reduced the waterholding capacity of the soil and landscape, and has rendered us really vulnerable to the extreme weather we have begun to experience over the past few years. Plus the introduction of hybrid seeds untested in the human ecosystems which define our farming has really not helped. You might get higher yields in a good year but in a bad one - or if you can't afford to buy all the inputs they need to produce well - yields are putrid. For instance, traditionally women would plant first maize, then pumpkin, then beans to climb up the maize when it had reached a certain size. You can't do that with the new hybrids because their leaves are bred to be larger and so obscure the sun. So higher maize yields but the end of intercropping means the soil over the years becomes starved of humus. Plus the women have to work more hours to grow the beans and pumpkins in elsewhere. Now, to come into that situation with another team of experts saying 'no, you must practice climate resilient agriculture' becomes very difficult. There is a credibility gap. Of course we need to question the relations of power: The 'Green Revolution' was supported by World Bank and other very influential institutions and came with tons of money. These are unlikely to come say 'oops, we were wrong'. So how to restore trust? I would say only by working to empower the poor from the ground up. We shall not adapt by using the old 'expert teaching ignorant peasants' model.
In other words - and I cannot say this tactfully so I will just get straight to the point - adaptation in Africa cannot become another job creation project for the middle class of the global North and South. If we have not worked the fields with the people we really are not experts. Organic farming is knowledge intensive yes, and it is good to share what we know. But it is also context specific, not just to the local ecosystem but to the human ecology. Agriculture is the place where humans and ecosystems interact. So we have to come with respect for local knowledges and local ways of doing things, after all these people have centuries of survival under very difficult conditions behind them and can probably teach us a thing or two about resilience. Also it is no use pretending that development aid has no history. People are male cow manure detectors :). Only if we come with that kind of humility will we be able to distinguish ourselves from those other 'experts' who have done so much to stuff up the ecosystems of the Global South.
Let me put this a different way: we cannot develop LAPA's in nice airconditioned offices far away from the women who make a living off the land and think that we are going to come with ready-packaged solutions. Nor can we do so in ignorance of local relations of power, like gendered relations in the household, or the dangers of elite capture. We are not the only elites involved, there are local elites as well as global ones. If adaptation means building resilience it means accepting and understanding the specificity of local ecosystems, both social and biophysical. nd the experts on that are the local people, not us
we might be able to share certain knowledges, eg. in our workshops we can see that women are already expereicning
sorry: experiencing climate change, just that they do not know the cause. So to share knowledge of carbon emissions and what is happening is useful. But in the search for solutions they are already, through practical necessity, coming up with solutions. Our job is to amplify those, and bring resources where possible to make their job easier.
Similarly, we can share the principles of permaculture in the hope that it will assist people. But the fact is that permaculture principles are founded on what indigenous peoples the world over were doing any way, and were told not to do in the name of 'Green revolution'. So to come back and say that maybe people had a point after all is not going to be easy.
as Masanobu Fukouka loved to say, the first step to knowledge is admitting ignorance. So I want to put the questions right back to our audience. Are we able to put all our book knowledge on the self and admit to the people that we know nothing? Of their realities?
Or are we back to the search for another quick fix solution ? Which is exactly the kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place!
Tahir,often there is no need to be do either/or. Science is at long last starting to say what indigenous peoples have been saying all the time: what goes around comes around.What goes up what must come down. Chickens will come home to roost. There is nothing unscientific about that. But you might find Fukoka's work on the subject, he was an agricultural scientist for many years before he came to admit that he knew nothing. I hold a Ph D and twenty year's research experience. Now I am ready to admit ignorance.:)
So now I think I have answered the questions about corruption and wastage of climate finance. If our approach is that we are going to empower people to adapt from the ground up, we shall need to strengthen the human ecosystems that have survived. This will enable people to to also monitor things like the flow of funds.
#CBA7 #climate, I think the question of limits to adaptation is critical. We have societies, like the Kalahari San that are fully adapted already. Already they emit no carbon and waste nothing. Another 2 degrees increase in the Kalahari desert are going to push them beyond the limits of adaptation, they are going to have to migrate to where the water is. So one question I haven';t really seen addressed in the science is long term population movements. People are slowly beginning to move in response to their needs. Where are they moving to and who produces the food they used to produce? Those are for me critical questions that we need to be asking
Saleem and Yvette, can you give us a few examples of community-based adaptation that has worked well?
In Mexico there's been some interesting work on how climate-driven migration looks a lot like any migration - often one member of the family headed off to find a job in an urban area, sending money home, coming back again when things are a bit better. Interesting stuff.....
Only thing is that with extreme weather it does not get better, it keeps on getting worse...
Which I suppose raises the question - what are the limits of adaptation?