Thursday, June 2, 2011

0 Environmental change: Impacts on people

The vulnerability of communities to environmental change is a major setback to sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. One of the impacts of human vulnerability to environmental change is the forced movement of people, creating what has come to be known as environmental refugees. The notion of environmental refugees describes a new insight on an old phenomenon-large numbers of the world's least secure people seeking refuge from insecure biophysical environments. Although the phrase 'environmental refugee' is controversial among advocates of the classical definition of refugees (political and social), it has gained in popular usage. It has  been estimated that, globally, there were 25 million environmental refugees in 2000, more than half of whom were in Africa.

Nduma, commonly grow along the streams
In more recent times and in most areas, though there is no physical movement of people, environmental and climate changes continues to erode families bottom-lines. As is the case of Gakui stream, many farmers relied on its water for domestic purposes, watering animals, and small-scale vegetable farming along the stream. They would fetch some income from sale of vegetables in situ or ex situ local markets. Now that the streams are drying up, these practices are no longer possible. The rural household's incomes are too drying up together with the streams and rivers. They are now kind of ‘economic refugees’ in their own land.

I wonder can you and me help the farmers restore the streams' flow and their income too? Has it happened in your area, county, or country. Tell me you story, post a comment.


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