Climate change is a phrase used a lot as of late. There exist people who are wary of the signs that could lead us into trouble ahead. On the other side of the spectrum are people who pass off these facts as disillusions or a hoax, denying facts and claiming false truths. I will discuss the effect of climate change using my mother’s home country, Colombia, as an example.
Why am I using Colombia as an example of the effect of climate change? The country of Colombia resides in the northern part of South America, bordering on Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Like these other countries, Colombia has the Andes mountain range running through it as a result of the country being near the Nazca, Caribbean, and South American Plate. What this means is that Colombia is a megadiverse country in terms of biodiversity. Depending on the altitude of the region, different climates zones exist along with its citizens and different species of plants and animals that inhabit this country. This also means that climate change has a very big impact on every region of Colombia’s ecosystems.
How does climate change effect Colombia? According to a research project by the United Nations Development Programme published in 2010, “Colombia is country that is especially vulnerable to climate change given its population is settled in areas prone to flooding and in unstable lands of the high sierras… …the country presents high recurrence and magnitude of disasters associated of climate conditions.” The research project gives a rundown of imminent threats to the country, brought on by climate change.
As you can see, citizens and their way to life are heavily affected. Due to flooding and strong rainfall, people’s way of life is impacted due to deterioration of living conditions, displacement, and loss of life. Tourism, trade industries, and crops take a massive blow as many coastal areas are in danger of being flooded. Livestock and agriculture are vulnerable to changes and suffer because of the fluctuation of climates. With the onset of climate change, diseases like malaria and dengue fever are more likely to spill over beyond the regions they are contained in. Wildlife conservation becomes an issue as a stable balance of their ecosystems are constantly in disarray from the changing temperatures.
“Climate change forces us to conceive of development differently since deep and systemic changes will need to take place if we want to reduce its risks and foster more sustainable lifestyles and consumption patterns.” Though the impacts are felt countrywide, agencies like the United Nations Development Programme with the help of local agencies make a change to fight back against climate change. Understanding the risks of climate change, considerations have been made to ease in and foster long term solutions to ongoing problems. As stated on the project, these consideration contribute to:
- Decreasing the vulnerability of the land due to negative impacts of climate change;
- Increasing the capacity of communities to withstand extreme events (by increasing their resistance and resilience) and to recover in their aftermath;
- Increasing the capacity of communities and productive sectors to adapt to climate change;
- Avoiding maladaptation decision-making processes (i.e. activities that in the long run increase vulnerability to climate change);
- Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
- More effective, safer and more sustainable development projects.
Thus far, Colombia understands how delicate and fragile its ecosystems are. Officials now understand that climate change is not a topic that is thrown around for nothing, it has a deep impact on the development of this nation. With its citizens and wildlife in mind, policies are slowly introducing alternatives into the mainstream populace to deter the effect of climate change. I hope that this country can be the example other countries will consider in order to limit the climate change risk and tackle the agenda worldwide.
Mainstreaming Climate Change in Colombia: https://www.undp.org/content/dam/aplaws/publication/en/publications/environment-energy/www-ee-library/climate-change/mainstreaming-climate-change-in-colombia/CC%20risk%20Mainstreaming%20Climate%20Change%20in%20Colombia-EN.pdf