The ever increasing industrialization and urbanization has released vast amount of carbon into the atmosphere, resulting in global warming and changes in the climatic patterns across the globe. It is causing changes in ecosystems as well as socio cultural practices of many communities. While climate change is causing effects in many parts of the world, some places may be more vulnerable than the other. Climate resilience refers to the capacity of any place to prevent major effects of climate change, and revert back to its original state. It signifies the capacity of a system to absorb disturbances and surprises. It can mean the ability to reorganize so as to retain the same essential function, structure and identity. Resilience is an inherent quality of all healthy living systems. It is a state of dynamic equilibrium which enables systems to grow and evolve while keeping their coherence. (The Gaia Foundation)
Earth is the planet with vast biodiversity. These diverse groups of plants and animals are the factors most responsible for balancing the ecosystem. The diverse ecosystem helps in maintaining hydrological cycle, nutrient cycle, absorbs the increasing amount of carbon. The increasing carbon content in the atmosphere, industrialization, deforestation, and growing population has resulted in the degradation of the ecosystem and the disappearance of many plant and animal species. Many scientists believe that the sixth mass global extinction of species is under way. As the ecosystem has a major role to play in climate resilience, the disappearing biodiversity may reduce the resilience of any place. Higher and healthier the biodiversity of any place, higher is the resilience of that place.
Resilience means the ability of the place to bounce back to its original state. The ongoing changes in climate makes this process very difficult and it may not be a 100% reverting to the original state. An example of resilience may be seen in the banks of Brahmaputra. When the devastating flood occurred in Brahmaputra river, the communities living in the banks slowly started to change their way of living. The Assamese community peoples did not use to make stilt houses as their culture, but after the flood, they have started building the stilt houses like the Mishing community. Similarly, fishing would be for the Dom community, but after the flood swept away the fields, it has become a means of food and income for other communities as well. The stilt houses have tried to make the community more resilient if the flood was to strike again. Similarly, the peoples have also started digging out the sand to reach the fertile soil buried underneath and have small pits that way where they can grow plants for food.
It is extremely important for us to work with nature and not against it. Vulnerability of any place reduces its resilience. The risk of climate change in Nepal is specially in the danger of the glacial lakes outburst flood, and the collapse of the agricultural system, because of floods in some places and droughts in other. The agricultural practice is changing because of the change in the hydrological cycle. Peoples are planting and harvesting rice at different times. Vulnerability comes when there is not sufficient resources to protect and bounce back. If the agricultural system collapses, it is going to affect many peoples who are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. To adapt with the changing climate and global warming, we can adopt for more heat resistant varieties of plants and water efficient irrigation system and other practices. Similarly, Millets, Barley, can be used when there is excess wet. Farming resilience is extremely important to ensure food security as well.
City resilience is also a crucial thing to consider at present. Because the city is densely populated, any disaster may bring huge amount of casualties. There will also be infrastructural damage and economic loss. The infrastructure may be damaged because they were not built with the present situation in mind and therefore cannot cope with the climate change. For example, when building bridges, the engineer keep in mind the probability of huge storms once or twice a year, like the past trends, But because of the changing climate, there are more extreme events at present. Similarly, the roads are also built with certain average temperature in mind. But the increasing temperature softens and expands the road which creates potholes. The vehicles overheat and the train tracks also expand and bend. Washington’s Reagan National Airport tarmac actually sunk because of the heat.
Extreme storms and rainfalls accumulate water into the city areas. Promoting greenery in the cities can be an effective way to increase its resilience. The greenery can help in absorbing water and evaporation. Similarly, more water can be infiltrated back into the groundwater aquifers. Proper water harvesting during rain can help in irrigation as well and prevent unnecessary runoffs. Rooftop farming and road line farming also help in reducing the pollutant.
Promoting resilience has therefore so much of importance in this crucial time.