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Climate change, Nature-based solutions and Media


The climate and environmental crises are unprecedented. Climate change has resulted in a change in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. In 2019, extreme weather events (storms, heat/cold waves, droughts, floods, wildfires) affected more than 100 million people (EM-DAT). According to, ‘Extreme weather events and climate change policy in India, by RK Mall, SD Attri and Santosh Kumar that, ‘India is vulnerable to extreme weather events. Over the last decades of the 1990s and 2000s, both the number and severity of such events increased. One of the anticipated effects of climate change is the possible increase in both frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.’  

 

Disasters have increased in the last 20 years (2000-2020). In the period 2000 to 2019, there were 7,348 major recorded disaster events compared to 4,212 between 1980-1999. Climate-related disasters have increased the most, accounting for 6,681 events (UNDRR, 2020). In 2020, there were 416 natural disaster events worldwide.  

 

According to the 2019 report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), natural ecosystems have declined by 47 per cent on average, relative to their earliest estimated states and approximately 25 per cent of species are already threatened with extinction. Harufumi Nashidi et al mentioned in, ‘Disaster and Biodiversity’ that, ‘natural disasters usually influence the evolution of biodiversity in nature. At present, however, we should seriously recognize that the natural disasters in the present ages give greater influences to the biodiversity by ever made pressures from the human activities in addition to the influence of natural disasters themselves.’

 

Nature provides many solutions to keeping us healthy and reducing the climate crisis. Nature reduces the climate crisis by sequestering and storing carbon in biomass, which reduces the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Nature protects us from hazards by providing barriers against storm surges and stabilizing soils on slopes, preventing landslides. Citizens and grassroots’ organizations around the world are requesting that governments, the private sector and all consumers take action.

 

Source: UNEP Course material. 

 

The scope of nature-based solutions is huge and is an umbrella term covering a range of ecosystem-based approaches to tackling different societal challenges. The concept builds on the ecosystem approach which aims to holistically manage land, water and living resources in a way that promotes conservation, restoration and sustainable use in an equitable way. We should be working with nature rather than against it to attain stability and bring sustainable development to our society. Most specifically, we need to deal with climate change through adaptation and mitigation strategies; we also need to take care of our planet for the long term through climate change mitigation and environmental management. Meeting the needs of people through environmental management and disaster risk reduction & climate change adaptation is equally important. 

 

To accomplish the above aims, there are different nature-based solutions. It is worth noting that Nature-based solutions use nature itself to tackle the challenges presented. The emissions of Greenhouse gases can be reduced by protecting restoring forests. In the book ‘Forest restoration in landscapes’ by Mansourian, Daniel Vallauri and Nigel Dudley, the authors recommended that, ‘we urgently need to consider restoration if we are to achieve conservation and sustain the livelihoods of people dependent on nature.’ 

 

Source: UNEP Study Material

 

Nature-based solutions take a variety of forms including Blue and green infrastructure initiatives, such asforests & wetland restoration, climate-smart agriculture and urban greening. Nature-based solutions can take the form of soft approaches design to bring about changes in the way institutions work, people behave and the policy is developed accordingly. Climate change adaptation aims to help people by reducing their exposure to hazardous events. It also helps people respond to climate impacts and also helps to increase food and water scarcity.

 

Media plays an important role in spreading awareness amongst people to make them aware of the disaster and the nature-based solutions. The media has the foremost responsibility to inform and educate people about natural disasters and nature-based solutions. Media plays an important role in reconstruction and rehabilitation. In recent years, communication has proved critical for the cause of disaster preparedness, management and mitigation. Media should play a significant role in post-disaster scenarios by increasing awareness faster and attracting funds. 

 

Nature-based solution and their approaches are not new but we need them more than ever due to the current climate crisis. Media need to get into the nuts and bolts or rather roots and branches of how to apply the approaches and solutions in the present scenario. The media need to educate the people by providing relevant updates, educating youth, making both citizens and administration aware of these approaches.     

 

(Author is an RK columnist. He studies Doctor of Philosophy in Journalism and Mass Communication from IUST, Awantipora. He can be reached at: syedtasaduqnazmi@gmail.com)

 



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