Climate change is damaging the wide natural resource base on which millions of people in Asia depend for livelihood – land, water, forests, and marine resources. Besides curtailing food production, this is damaging the livelihood of the rural communities and making it even more difficult for the increasing number of the poor to access food in the face of food shortages and rising prices.
Along with poverty, climate change is a reality that many urban, rural and indigenous communities in Asia have to deal with. The constant flooding in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Philippines and Sri Lanka are some of the issues that many poor communities are trying to respond to. And these rural communities have, in fact, the smallest contribution in disrupting the climate pattern. Industrialised countries, and their extensive practice of corporate agriculture, are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses (GHG), contributing to at least 80 per cent of the global accumulated carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The United States and the European Union contribute about 25 and 23 per cent, respectively, of the global cumulative GHG emissions.
Climate change is an ethical issue that is closely linked with equality, human rights and the historical responsibility on the industrialised countries in GHG emission. Climate justice is based on the understanding that, while climate change requires global action, the historical responsibility for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions lies with the industrialised countries of the developed nations.
Historically, farmers have responded to environmental changes with great persistence and innovation. They have successfully done so by gradually changing their agricultural practices, developing new varieties of crops and innovating to maintain productivity. Based on this resilience and drawing on their inherent wisdom, farmers in many parts of Asia are now trying to cope with the changing climate. PAN AP and its partners have been documenting practices that promote resilience of communities and advocate for recognition of practices as sound and sustainable solution to the changing climate.