Monday, September 16, 2019

Watershed restoration to mitigate climate pain

Today's post consists of excerpts from a longer article, Land Mismanagement and Climate Change: The Impact on Rural Nicaragua, co-authored by Jenna Saldana, Director of U.S. Operations, El Porvenir; Dick Whitmore, Emeritus Board Member, El Porvenir, Retired Forest Engineer, Watershed Consultant; and Mark Sullivan, El Porvenir Supporter and Volunteer. The full text is available at the link. Full disclosure: I'm proud to serve on the board of this righteous NGO.

Water is life. But, across Nicaragua, rampant deforestation for cattle, agriculture, and timber extraction is resulting in less water. Streams that once flowed year round are now seasonally dry. Community wells are drying up in deforested communities in the northern and central regions of the country, leaving villagers without a source of water. The situation is dire and watershed restoration is essential to save the future of water in Nicaragua.

... Nicaragua has been a minor contributor to global climate change yet will be significantly impacted due to location, coastal borders, and dependence on agriculture. On a global index, Nicaragua is ranked fourth most likely to suffer from extreme weather events.

General trends that can be predicted confidently due to climate change are the following:
  • rising temperatures
  • increasing drought in Central America (10-20% predicted reduction in rainfall)

  • less stable growing conditions for crops resulting in lower yields

  • increase in extreme weather events

  • rising sea level, inundation of coastal communities, and the salinization of wells in coastal areas

What is El Porvenir doing to increase water and food security? El Porvenir’s watershed restoration program seeks to conserve existing forests and restore degraded areas throughout Nicaragua in order to increase food and water resiliency. To accomplish our goal of improving land use and mitigating climate change to promote water and food security, we are actively engaged in the following watershed rehabilitation practices, many of which have been used for generations:
  1. Strategic reforestation ...
  2. Construction of terraces and other water conservation infrastructure ...
  3. Construction of vented, fuel-efficient stoves that use 60% less firewood than typical cook stoves ...
  4. Coordination with local government...
  5. Educating residents on the economic and environmental benefits of climate change mitigation...
  6. Creation of a model watershed that uses all of the above practices to show people from other communities how their watershed could flourish...
  7. [Fostering the] willingness of the community to create a vision and work together to achieve it.
None of this would be possible without the work and cash contributions of thousands of North Americans who've learned to work in solidarity with poor Nicaraguans' struggle to better their lives. You can help.

Covering Climate Now is a project of hundreds of media outlets working together this week as the U.N. meets about climate dangers, without the U.S. government, but with and for the peoples of the world.

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