Climate Change woes
Y Merina Chishi
The cry for greater action to combat Climate Change is getting louder. According to some climate scientists, the world has only 12 years to limit global warming to avoid a climate breakdown. While this may seem unrealistic to some, closer home, the effects of Climate Change can no longer be ignored. It is becoming more visible.
According to a Report on Climate Change and its Impact on Human Development in Nagaland published jointly by the Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), by mid century (2020-2050), the average temperature in Nagaland is likely to increase by about 1.6 to 1.8 degree Celsius. The report states that the southern districts in the State like Phek, Kohima and Zunheboto is already shows increase in temperature by nearly 2 degree Celsius. This is serious data that must not be ignored.
Furthermore, the report states that rainfall in the State is likely to increase by 57% and extreme rainfall by 26%. Increase in drought like conditions is also projected during 2021-2050 and weekly droughts likely to increase by 20-25% during the same period. Higher flood discharge especially in southern districts is also indicated. These changed will affect water resources, forest and biodiversity, the agriculture and allied sectors considerably.
Nagaland is already suffering from the affects of climate change. It is not something that evades us anymore. In the last few years, the State has witnessed erratic and unpredictable monsoons, floods, droughts and landslides. These environmental disasters only point towards the changing eco-system. Our agriculture is also being hampered. Farmers are witnessing changing sowing and harvest seasons. There are also instances of late or early blossoming of flowers (fruit and ornamental) and there are instances of local vegetables becoming scare in certain places.
Against this backdrop, it is pertinent for all the agencies working to mitigate Climate Change to make extra effort to empower local people to cope with the changes taking place. Thorough survey should also be undertaken to understand the long term consequences Climate Change will have on people’s livelihood.
Furthermore, if such concrete reports are being prepared, it should be presented to the general populace since the issue of climate change is still vague to most Naga people. It is important for local people to know more about Climate Change and the consequences it is having on their lives so that they too can be better adept to the changes. "Climate Literacy" as termed by the United Nations, is essential to create and educate awareness that will play an increasing role in increasing adaptation and mitigation capacities of local communities and empower them with sustainable livelihood.
The State Action Plan for Climate Change which aims to achieve development goals without compromising on livelihood and food security must be done in tandem with the present changes that are taking place. Climate Change is more real than felt. It simply should not be a 'plan' without action.
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