Focus on Climate Change with Local Stories: Experts at media workshop
Tiruchirappalli, February 23, 2016: Ms Soundaravalli, woman farmer from Maniyarambatti village, Vaiyampatti responds immediately when asked about Climate Change. “Over the past 15 years, I have seen a lot of changes in the lands in and around my village that I haven’t seen some years ago,” she says. “What is this, if this is not climate change? Farmers have been most affected so we are constantly trying out different methods to adapt to this situation.”
The need for media to focus on climate change and stories of local communities like these, were emphasized by experts at a workshop for media persons organized by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation in the city today. “Very often, we go for development without realizing how we are damaging the environment and thereby impacting the climate,” said Mr Pon Dhanasekaran, author and senior journalist. “Indiscriminate activities like constructing on water bodies, depleting sacred forests or planting alien crops not only destroy the environment, they speed up the climate change process putting all our lives and future at risk. The media needs to look at public policy and activities in the context of climate change so that they can work on stories keeping this kind of impacts in mind” he said.
Mr M S Arasu, Coordinator, Clima-Adapt, Trichy Region explained the impact, specifically in relation to water resources for the region. He shared some of the local level models that had been developed to predict how temperature and rainfall changes would impact the Trichy region. “The overall rainfall may be average, but the intensity of the rain, may change, with high rainfall in a short duration leading to shortages or damage to crops.
Mr Kalaimani, farmer from Veerappur, echoed this when he spoke about the failing water table in his region that he had seen over the past couple of decades. “Traditional varieties of crops, especially rain-fed crops that we have been used to growing are now slowly decreasing or have even disappeared. This is simply because the weather is not predictable or there is little or no rainfall here. Animals are also prone to increased diseases due to increasing warmth” he lamented.
Ms Nancy Anabel, Director IEC, MSSRF shared how technology was being used to help communities manage or adapt to climate change so that their life and livelihood could be protected. “Through the use of technology, we pass on need-based information to the community so they can take measures to know what is happening and take appropriate action. We need to think globally but act locally on the issue of climate change,” she said.
A CD containing a compilation of reading and reference material on Climate Change for the use of media persons was released on the occasion. Ms B Jayashree, Head MSSRF’s Media Centre and Dr Rajkumar, Senior Scientist, MSSRF spoke on the occasion, requesting journalists to contribute to public awareness of climate change and its impact through their media outlets.
Over 45 journalists from Tiruchirappalli, Pudukkottai and Thanjavur districts attended the workshop organized by The Hindu Media Resource Centre, MSSRF and the Clima Adapt project.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.