ActionAid is an international agency fighting poverty in 42 countries worldwide. They have published a report that says climate change is being felt very acutely by some of the poorest communities. (The full report can be downloaded as a pdf file).
Of particular interest to me is the report, that in Malawi 90% of the 6.3 million living below the poverty line rely on subsistence farming to survive at all. They are already farming in fairly extreme conditions, so any changes in climate have considerable impact. They are themselves aware that their food production has decreased because of frequent flooding and drought.
- They no longer know when is the best time to plant. The rainy season used to start in October but during the 70s started moving to November and now starts in December. They therefore ought to be using a fast-maturing crop to allow for the shorter season but
privatisation of seed companies means that hybrids developed are too expensive for many.
- The change in rainfall has caused an increase in certain diseases such as malaria, cholera and dysentry. It falls to the women to care for the sick, and this then prevents them working in the fields.
- The floods and droughts happen more often, leaving little time to recover and adapt.
- Deforestation is increasing and existing laws to control it are not being enforced.
- The decrease in livelihood is forcing more people to look for work elsewhere, which in turn is forcing women into unsafe sex, thus increasing the risk of HIV/AIDS.