Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management

Seeram Ken Maharaj 8131187785

Natural resources are considered the backbone of every economy in the world. According to the perspectives presented, Latin America and the Caribbean are one of the richest regions worldwide in terms of natural resources. There is no doubt that Trinidad and Tobago is blessed with an abundance of natural resources confirming what was said in the paper. But, is that the reality of some of the smaller Caribbean Islands? The question therefore, is energy resources considered the only natural resource? Several years ago, the backbone of the Caribbean was agriculture and fed the Caribbean and most of the European Nations. Agriculture was then considered the natural resource of the Caribbean. In Trinidad there was the famous, “Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture” supporting how developed agriculture was. It is that the sustainable use of the natural resource gift of agriculture was not protected and or poor leadership allowed the rapid exploitation of this natural resource which now threatens the core foundation of food security in the Caribbean? Unfortunately, these past natural resources were not transformed into real capital stocks and neither built to add to the wealth of the present and not even for future generations.  Natural disasters, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, etc. are serious threats when vulnerable people are exposed. One form of risk management is to probably evacuate people from such areas as far as practicable to avoid future problems. These disasters and climate change pose serious problems to agriculture sustainability as confirmed by the paper. The findings of the paper recommending a paradigm shift to adopt a fully sustainable agricultural model which protects natural resources, equitable socio-economic resources, coping with climate change and natural disasters and supported by the FAO is great but appears not to touch on the overall concept of sustainable development. According to the European Commission, “Sustainable Development stands for meeting the needs of present generations without jeopardizing the ability of futures generations to meet their own needs – in other words, a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come”. Policies alone will not help with sustainable development; the everyday challenges by the many guiding choices must also be taken up by citizens or society at large in conjunction with the political and socio-economic decisions taken. This requires profound changes in attitude, thinking and culture change, matters not mentioned in the paper.

References:

European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/archives/eussd/index.htm

FAO:  http://www.fao.org/americas/perspectivas/sistemas-alimentarios-caribe/en/

Sustainable use of natural resources adaption to climate change and disaster risk managment

Mitra Rajnarinesingh   ID # 814117641

 

Sustainable Agriculture consists of three pillars which are economy, community and environment. If any of these three pillars are missing entirely or not  addressed  adequately then our agriculture is not sustainable. I fully agree with the article because   implementing sustainable agriculture model would be a step in the right direction in eradicating  hunger and improving food security. This can be done by managing our natural resources such our land resources and water  which are key inputs in the food production systems. This process would include well  aerated  soils,  and  ensuring that there is reduced land degradation  and this helps in  boosting agriculture lands as well as reducing pressure to clear forest lands and this is critical to meeting future food needs. Another key   resource is water and through proper management of  the  water supply through improved irrigation systems and water storage techniques we can sustain our dry lands productivity.

Another essential topic discussed in the article is tackling climate change, natural  disasters  and diseases which all negatively agriculture production. The agriculture sector is affected by increase in temperatures which cause wilting of plants, rising sea levels and disasters such as hurricanes can directly destroy crops through flooding and uprooting of crops. Pests can act as carriers of allergens and they can also affect the ecology  as pests prey on fauna and plants hence reducing number of native species  and upsetting ecological balance.

My  recommendation   is the setting up of research unit that will assist in improving scientific knowledge  and develop technologies to support food system through sound soil and pest management , mitigating climate change which   will boost agricultural yield  making agriculture systems productive and less wasteful while protecting the environment.

 

Reference  :

 

“Food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture .” SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENTKNOWLEDGE PLATFORM. Accessed April 10, 2017. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics/foodagriculture.

 

 

 

2. Sustainable use of natural resources, adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management

Kristen Jaggernath (814001039)

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognizes that for an island to achieve sustainable development, there must firstly be food security and overall good nutrition within the population. From the course, AGEX 3001- Island Food Systems, offered at UWI, St. Augustine, it was taught that there are four main dimensions behind obtaining food security; food availability or supply, food access, food stability and utilization.

food security

Image by: Coughenour, Amy

However, there are certain issues which arise that may in turn hamper the attainment of food security. Some of the main factors which negatively affect the agricultural sector are as follows:

  • Use of natural resources
  • Climate change
  • Occurrence of natural disasters
  • Pests and Diseases

This article focuses on how these issues may be a threat to the agricultural sector and proposes objectives that are to be achieved in order to potentially alleviate hunger. The article does an excellent job in discussing the severity of these problems within islands and thus, after thorough analysis, I have come to agree with what is being presented. As stated in the article, it is only when islands have designed coping strategies to deal with matters hindering food security such as extremities in the climate and natural disasters, can they progress in the attainment of sustainable development.

In islands, extreme climate changes are a major problem which may pose as a primary barrier as well as the underlying cause to food insecurity. Food production is the most vulnerable to climate changes, together with forestry, agricultural and water resources. In addition to this, climate changes may lead to extreme conditions and natural disasters such as floods, droughts and even hurricanes, which have already been experienced in some Pacific island countries. Directly, this will impact the natural resources of an island and destroy any agricultural activities. Hence, the creation of strategies to cope or possibly combat these effects are currently being developed and improved to suit the specific problems, keeping in mind the three pillars of sustainable development; environmental, economic and social (FAO).  Despite this, the challenge is to implement effective and efficient problem solving policies in ways that are regarded as legitimate by the stakeholders involved, enabled, or otherwise directly affected by the decisions and actions undertaken by any governance structure or regime, as well as building and strengthening the capacities of national institutions according to priorities (FAO).

It was mentioned that the Regional Initiative is working with countries to design agro-environmental policies, support the elaboration of a regional strategy for Risk Management in the framework of CELAC, and strengthen monitoring in agricultural pests and diseases. This is a good example of some of the measures implemented to eliminate hunger and poverty. Furthermore, according to the FAO, the Zero Hunger Challenge Initiative was another excellent strategy that Governments followed when formulating policies to eradicate hunger and poverty. However, some new suggestions are outlined here.

  1. More efforts are required to promote regionalism and to develop space for cooperation amongst trading blocks within the region and thus encouraging expansion of the local and regional agricultural sector, and eventually reducing high importation of goods.
  2. Conferences by the respective Governments can be held regularly to monitor the state of the sector and accordingly alter policies to improve the various aspects such as food production and farming.
  3. Stricter policies ought to be constructed to protect the natural resources of the islands and avoid exhaustion of these resources. It must be ensured that the food supply always exceeds the food demand and this can be used as a method to monitor the level of food use within a given island.
  4. Planting dates can be changed according to the climate and different crop cultivars and species may be utilized which better adapt to the tropical conditions.

If the necessary measures are not implemented as soon as possible, these conditions will only worsen in the future as shown below.

IPCCAg_2010(1)

Image obtained from: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/es/news/media-centre/press-releases/taking-action-deliver-agriculture-growth-jobs-and-food-security#.WOxP_4jys2x

Therefore, measures need to be put into place and properly carried out in order to prevent the uprising of anymore barriers which restrict food security and ensure that sustainable is guaranteed for future generations.

References:

“Climate change threatening small islands and posing a danger to food security in landlocked states.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2017. Accessed April 8th 2017. http://www.fao.org/asiapacific/news/detail-events/en/c/216718/

“Natural Resources Management and the Environment in the Small Island Development States.” Policy Paper- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2014. Accessed April 8th 2017. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3928e.pdf