September 15, 2017

Extreme weather and rainforest communities

As the West hit record temperatures this summer, and hurricane Irma sweeps a path of destruction through the Caribbean, Cuba, and America, the undeniable issue of climate change seems closer than ever.

Hurricane Irma has set records for being the strongest hurricane to have occurred in the open Atlantic, and for having sustained wind speeds of at least 185mph over the longest period.”

How does Climate change impact Cool Earth's indigenous partners?

There have been changes in some types of extreme weather events over the last several decades including in heat waves and cold waves. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense. Regionally, there have been increased floods and droughts.

Despite contributing little to greenhouse emissions, the threats of climate change can be felt strongest by indigenous communities around the world.

Warmer temperatures can promote heavier rainfall, which we have seen cause the destruction of land and homes in our partnerships in Peru and Papua New Guinea. Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable with low lying land at the mercy of rising sea levels, as is the case in partner communities Wabumari and Gadaisu in Papua New Guinea.

The communities continue to think creatively, drawing on traditional knowledge and other technologies to find solutions which may help society at large to cope with impending changes.

However, keeping trees standing is one of the most effective ways for these communities to be resilient against climate change. Trees help to protect communities from flooding, absorbing water from the soil and working to provide a vital barrier against increasingly regular storms, landslides, and flooding.

If a community is feeling the effects of climate change, the forest provides food and housing materials which people have been depending on for centuries. It is more important now than ever, to protect their rainforest. The stronger a community is, the more successful they will be in the fight against climate.

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