Have you ever heard about Planet B? Or a second planet where human life can sustain? In simple words, second Earth?
The answer is “NO”. We are all aware about the fact that climate change is happening and it’s affecting our life. Changes in climate can occur through both natural and human-induced causes. Human activities can also influence climate by changing concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, altering the concentrations of aerosols and altering the reflectivity of Earth’s surface by changing land cover.
Considering the emerging issue of climate change, Thames’ environment science teacher Mr. Nimesh Shrestha was interviewed to know more about the climate change, its effects and some suggestions to overcome it. Apart from teaching, Mr. Shrestha is working as a research assistant for the site selection of the Ecosystems based Adaptation Measures for Climate Change project, implemented by UNEP, UNDP and IUCN. Under this project he has been suggesting the methodology and tools that strengthen the capacity of local community and institutions on Ecosystem based adaptation in Rasuwa district. Along with his organization, Mr. Shrestha is trying to involve the community in disaster risk management and provides information on how climate change at a local level can raise the chances of successful climate change adaptation. He is also advocating for the easy access for farmers to interest free loans, technical advice, improved seeds and more infrastructure development such as roads, irrigation and modern store rooms.
According to Mr. Shrestha, “CO2 emission is high in developed countries like USA, China (about 22%) and low in developing countries like Nepal (about 0.0025%) but the effect of climate change is high in developing countries like Nepal. Drastic change in temperature, winter drought & heavy monsoon rainfall, new glacier formation, unpredictable and untimely precipitation are the major effects of climate change in Nepal. The farmers are more affected by the climate change but they have less knowledge about it. They still believe that precipitation process, flood, landslide, drought etc. are God’s deed. So, we need to aware farmers more than people in city areas.” Mr. Shrestha strongly believes that Nepalese people should focus on adaptation rather than mitigation.
Some of the measures suggested by Mr. Shrestha that we, Nepalese can adapt are:
1. Waste management: About 80% of household waste can be re-used or recycled. The paper, bottles and metal items can be sold for recycle and the waste from kitchen can be used as organic fertilizers for plants. This also promotes kitchen gardening and healthy food consumption.
2. Increase plantation: Developing a habit of planting trees and plants in the backyard. Plants like Basil (Tulsi), Peepal tree have high emission of oxygen so planting such species would be suggested.
3. Change in attitude: People should change their behavior and attitudes towards the environment. They should be flexible to the change and adapt it for the better future.
4. Let our voices to be heard: Developing countries like Nepal have low contribution to emission of carbon but is highly affected by the climate change. The impact of glacier melting and flood will be felt far beyond Nepal’s territory. Therefore, Nepal should improve its diplomatic advocacy and should form an alliance of Himalayan and agricultural countries to put the voices of these countries in the international arena more systematically and effectively.
5. Save energy and water: Energy saving fluorescent lights should be used and turning off the lights when not necessary or while leaving the room. Washing vehicles (car, bike) with bucket water, taking short showers and avoid overflow of water through rooftop tanks.
6. Mass transit: Travelling through public vehicles or promoting carpool system to save fossil fuel, walk or ride bicycles to the closer destination and using electric vehicles (if possible).
7. Go vegan: Livestock farming consumes a lot of grains, plants and the animals manure that they produce release even more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. So, if we decrease the consumption of meat or animal products then livestock farming will also decrease.
“Climate change is a serious problem. If we do not change our attitude and behavior now, then there will be no place to live in the future generation. Small steps today, can lead to the bigger steps and bigger change tomorrow”.