Climate change adaptation is an important policy and activity that a government should have.
The fact that we are facing changing climate, society has to adapt and mitigate it.
While looking for ideas in climate change adaptation strategies, I learned from my friend a very effective ways to adapt to changing climate.
Whether we like it or not, #climate change is real. Whether it is a foreign induced concept or natural phenomenon. Though some people would argue that its not true, but we felt it.
It is not just a term we used scientifically to refer to the variability of weather conditions that happened overtime. But it is how our world operates in a universal cosmic conflict that is not just caused by human beings but historically when there was a cosmic conflict between good and evil.
If you are looking to survive and adapt to this climate change, read on.
Not all of these climate change adaptation are suitable to all places because disasters are placed-based. So, it is advisable to look at your own situation in adopting to these practices.
In Southern Philippines, a very well documented survival list of climate change adaptation strategies were gathered.
Climate Change Adaptation Strategies of Indigenous People
According to the Jeremy Balondo – a researcher and entrepreneur, a tribe called Manobo and other Indigenous People (IP’s) had been living and are well-adapted to the flood plains of Agusan Marsh, in Agusan del Sur. Agusan Marsh is declared as a protected site under NIPAS (1994), Presidential Proclamation 913 (1996).
In his experience in documenting the study, the place is a flood prone area with a 3 month long period that its water reaches up to 4 meters.
How they adapt to it?
Climate change adaptation practiced by Indigenous People
In that place, rice and corn farming are one of the major crops in the community. They depended on that resource.
Change in Cropping pattern schedule.
Based on the report, “to adopt with the annual flooding season, which starts in December and lasts until February and to avoid flood damages to crops, the IPs have programed their rice and corn cropping schedule.
The first cropping (panuig) starts in March and harvests in May-June; and, the second cropping (pangulilang) starts in July and harvests in October-November.
Elevated and Floating House Structure
The IPs have built their houses with elevated floors, above the water level during flooding season, while others, especially those living along Agusan River, have built the entire house on top of a secured bamboo raft, causing the entire house to float during floods – keeping the entire family, their belongings, and their livestock, safe.
Early Warning System
Nowaday, with the technology supported by Department of Science and Technology (DOST), communities can now monitor hazard prone areas and even those which are affected by landslide and flooding. The project NOAH is best example of it.
In some places there are already built-in structure to monitor the river stream flow and early warning system. These technologies are products of research and development.
There is also a software that can automatically compute for vulnerability index in one or more communities. These are the advances that we have now. But for these IP’s, they have a simple early warning system.
In that documented report, “Information and communication materials are posted in strategic locations in participating and target communities throughout the Marsh. These are relevant information on what to do during floods, what to prepare, and how to avoid risks.
The most prominent, and most visible is the water level markers which are color-coded, to alert the people in case of flood: yellow is for caution (pag bantay), orange is for preparation (pag andam), and red is for the people to evacuate the place (pag bakwit).”
As you can see, these people have their own adaptation strategies to climate change. It doesn’t need a rocket science to adapt to our ever changing climate. All we need is to know what resources are available for us to adapt to it.
Science is good as long as it is mixed with indigenous knowledge.
There is no one size fits all to climate change adaptation.
Disasters and natural calamities are placed-based, so, in adaptation, there should always be a placed-based approach.
Last April I experienced a very tiresome activity and made me sick for sometime.
I thought what on earth is happening in this place.
I thought that it was just temporary because its summer time – in the Philippines the temperature is warm at this point in time. However, in June, it is expected that rainy season will come but the situation is getting worse.
I kept on fetching water for 3 pesos per container. Thankfully a woman offered the same price which is not so far from my boarding house.
I realized that I was really called to do this job as a researcher and extentionist. I thought this could be a great opportunity to educate and teach the people about environmental conservation.
I know that this is a critical issue. An issue that is not just personal but somehow political. Many people would not believe this until they felt it.
Many people denies that we have insufficient water supply and we even experiencing this from time to time.
This article is focused on the Watershed management for sustainable water service delivery. This is a sustainable solution to water resources.
The article is divided into the following parts.
Relationship of Forest and Watershed in the delivery of sustainable water supply
Why Watershed Management?
Why invest in Watershed management?
Benefits of Watershed Management
Watershed Management Policy, Issues and Concerns
Sustainable Solutions for water resources
If you want to get a copy of this sustainable water supply in power point presentation you can visit the link below.
Relationship of Forest and Watershed in the delivery of sustainable water supply
Based on the definition, “A watershed can be defined as a geographic area of land in which precipitation drains to a common point on a stream, river, pond, lake or other body of water.” http://www.vpcfiberglass.com/watershed.shtml
From this, from various scientist and organizations have concluded that “forest is a major user of water.”
According to Barnes et al (2009), forest and agricultural land greatly affect water quality and flow. The forest is a great contributor to water quality and also the quantity of water. This is the reason why conversion of forest to other land use affect water quality. Different land uses can alter the hydrologic cycle which will result to increase or decrease in water supply.
Moreover, forest provide high water quality which can be achieved through minimization of soil erosion on site, reduction of sediment in water bodies (wetlands, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers) and trapping or filtering of other water pollutants in the forest litter, particularly through the following mechanisms (Calder et al 2007).
Water delivery is also enhanced through improved water storage capacity, soil infiltration.
When I was a child my favorite movie “Ferngullly: The last rain forest” made me cry when the antagonist almost takes over the rain forest and would destroy everything.
When I found out that the relationship of these forests to our water is an important, I say, we should protect our forest.
In some studies, it shows that the extraction of trees would increase the risk of flash floods which resulted from induced water discharge.
Calder et al 2007, reported that forest removal or clear cutting increases downstream water yields or stream flow. These happens in many hydrologic process such as interception of precipitation and evaporation and transpiration from the foliage.
If cutting more trees can produce more water downstream, should we cut trees to get more water supply?
Clearing forest may increase downstream water yield, but it is only temporary and short-lived. It may also posed additional risk like flooding. Then if forest regrow, the same problem will occur – water scarcity.
Clearing of forest is no doubt an unsustainable approach to achieve sustainable water supply. (Hydrologic Effects of a Changing Forest Landscape 2008)
In 1991, I was still grade 4 then the most horrible tragedy that happened in Ormoc city and in world history. A great flash flood took the lives of many people and people believed it’s because of illegal logging.
This is the main reason why we should take care of our environment which brings me to the next topic watershed management. This sustainable lifestyle contributes to the ability of an ecosystem to produce more.
Why on earth should we manage and invest in water resources?
First, let me define watershed management.
According to DENR, this is the “process of guiding and organizing land and other resource uses in a watershed to provide desired goods and services without adversely affecting soil, water and other natural resources” (DENR Memo Circular No. 2008-05).
Scientific research shows that watershed management increase water quality. Now, in relation to sustainable development goals (SDG 2015) it suggests that by 2030 participating nations who signed the SDG should be able to:
Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
6.1 by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
15.2 by 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and increase afforestation and reforestation by x% globally.
15.3 by 2020, combat desertification, and restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world
15.4 by 2030 ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, to enhance their capacity to provide benefits which are essential for sustainable development.
15.9 by 2020, integrate ecosystems and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes and poverty reduction strategies, and accounts.
Prior to the SDGs, in the Philippines there are already established legal mandate for watershed management.
If we will not protect this one, we may miss watershed services the following values that is derived from it.
This brings me to the next part.
In economic parlance, the watershed provides use values and non-use values. These are productive use (irrigation, domestic, municipal, industrial, power generation, fisheries and livestock raising) and consumptive and non-consumptive (e.g. recreation).
While those that are not consumable, but preserved for future use and is not marketed goods and services are called non-use values. You can not buy sustainable water supply today in the market rather this is in the future generation.
If we are going to account all these use and non-use values, we will arrive at the total economic value of watershed services. This is now quantifiable.
You may ask we do we need to quantify the non-quantifiable and non-marketable goods?
If you are going to account all the benefits that is derive from watershed today that you are using such as food, water, timber, and among others – literally this has a cost.
And that cost is the amount that all people should pay if we are going to pay what we get from the watershed. But because this resource is an open access, there is a peril that it will lead to the tragedy of the commons.
You can read and download the Tragedy of the commons by Garret Hardin here.
If you are going too asked why do we need to invest in watershed management?
Does this investment water resources beneficial to human beings?
Take note of this:
What are the benefits that we can get?
Benefits from watershed functions
These are just among the benefits that is derived from watersheds:
Reliable water supply
Future generation will have water supply
Avoid flood and landslide
If we are going to pay all of these, this equals to the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for watershed protection.
In a study I conducted last 2008, I found out in the five municipalities that the benefits of watershed protection amounts to P 12,276,229.00 /yr. or P 591.87 /yr. or P 49.32 /mo. This is the individual households WTP.
However, managing watershed is not an easy task. If you are looking to be sustainable then you should consider community participation among stakeholders. In this way you can achieve more development in the country side.
But along these sustainable development initiatives, there are loopholes that we should look into the issues and concerns of watershed management which brings me to the next part.
Watershed management policy issues and concerns
Some issues in watershed management are hard to solve. Accept it or not. Though we have a very good scheme in water resources project, it is not exempted from the factors that affect this watershed protection.
The following list are some of the policy issues and concern I found out in literature and in my research.
Conflicting land-uses and practices within watershed areas threatening activities includes firewood gathering, charcoal making, selling of non-timber and timber products (Wunder, 2005) which many of the land users practiced in CPHPL (Malabarbas and Celeste, 2016).
Inappropriate land classification and disposition of watershed areas
Continued encroachment and illegal occupancy
Lack of economic incentives for watershed management and protection.
Lack of social and political considerations in implementing watershed management programs (Javier, 1999)
Conflict of interest between upland (tenured migrants) and lowland settlers (Celeste, 2010)
Limited adoption and institutionalization of the watershed as a planning unit approach (Javier, 1999)
Reduction of budget allocation for watershed management
Lack of general watershed management plan
Nevertheless, we can still achieve sustainable lifestyle through community participation in protecting our watershed.
Here are some approaches that we can use as a model.
Sustainable solutions to water resources
These are two basic and simple approach to sustainable watershed management.
Non market based
Landcare approach – combination of conservation farming, agroforestry and natural resource management (Mercado and Sanchez).
– refers to a group of people who are concerned about land degradation problems and interested in working together
Market based incentives
Institutional and financial arrangements for collaborative watershed management Market-based mechanisms should be developed to recover the operation costs of watershed management though PES schemes.
Payment for Environmental Services
Water resources project also implement this watershed management scheme PES. In fact, there are many PES programs already implemented in Latin America, America, Asia and South East Asia. However, the success of these PES depends on the community participation. Since PES is voluntary, it should be made clear to the recipients of the program what are their responsibility in return of the incentive that they got from the program.
According to Catacutan and Duqueb 2006, to have a sustainable watershed protection program for the community, it is necessary to heed to following.
Are there local financial investments?
Are there local technical and managerial capacity?
Is there a sound political culture?
Do we have clear national mandates?
In the Philippines, I found this one to be related to sustainable watershed protection.
Water Crisis Act 1995 or RA 8041
Clean Water Act
Lastly, sustainable development through watershed management for sustainable water supply delivery needs a balanced approach in watershed management. Land use management have already been explored however the hydrologic cycle as affected to land use has seldom put into consideration.
Thus, in the near future, studies should integrate land use management and water cycle.
Last August 2 and 3, 2016 the Eastern Visayas State University held the 2nd Level RDE symposium in Borongan City, Samar.
It was participated in by different SUCs in the cluster 3 RRDEN VICARP consortium in the Eastern Visayas namely: Samar State University (SSU), University of Eastern Philippines (UEP), Eastern Samar State University (ESSU), Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU) and Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU).
The opening message was delivered by the ESSU President welcoming the participants of the different competing universities.
Meanwhile, after the opening remarks, the chairperson of the review and panel evaluator Dr. Othello Capuno, inspired the researchers by a heartwarming message to the participating researchers and SUCs. The message highlights the importance of conducting quality research in the fields of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources.
While advocating this, he also added that we do not do research for the sake of conducting research but also to compete with others and emphasized the essence of competition in Research Development and Extension work. A globally competitive research is in demand nowadays and should be the norm of researchers.
In this sense, he was right because we are now in the age of #sustainable development. As an agricultural country, researches should helped not just the researcher but the entire community and would be later used as sustainable development practices in the region.
The two day inter-agency RDE was participated in by 4 SUCs which is part of the 3rd Cluster. A total of 19 research and extension papers were presented. Eleven papers were under the completed research category and five research papers were on-going research. For the extension papers presented two of which are completed and one was an on-going extension activity.
Completed research papers presented
Coastal Resource Profile of Tarangnan, Samar Phil. – SSU
Rapid Aquatic Resources Appraisal, Catbalogan city – SSU
Performance Evaluation of Country Pig-Fish Integration System in Agro- Ecosystem in Northmen Samar- UEP
Inventory if Marine Resources in the Island Town of Biri -UEP
Development of Promotion of cut flower and Ornamental Plants in Northmen Samar -UEP
Increasing Productivity of wetland rice ecosystem through integrated rice-fish culture -UEP
Fermentation inhibitor of Alcohol from tuba to vinegar using ceriops tagal (rhizophoraceae) bark – ESSU
Compressive Behavior of different parts of bamboo considering the position of nodes on test specimen- NwSSU
Consumers preferences and profitability of the native and upgraded native chicken in western samar – NwSSU
Development and Creation of Vulnerability Index Management System – NwSSU
Vulnerability assessment of Coastal Communities in Calbayog City to #Climate change: Basis for designing adaptation system – NwSSU
On-going Research Papers presented
Climate change impacts and adaptation among mangrove dependent communities – SSU
Raft and long-line culture method of Green mussel in Samar – SSU
Evaluation of different preparations of spent mushroom substrate as growing media component for potted plants – UEP
Acceptability and quality evaluation of fish bone tea – ESSU
Improved farming techniques of oyster -SSU
Extension project on no-wash, odorless, hog fattening technology-ESSU
Extension projet onbreeding and production of Meat type chicken – ESSU
Extension (On- going)
Breeding and dispersal of Meat type native chicken -ESSU
For me as a novice researcher, it was my second time to attend RDE. But I was impressed with the host in facilitating the activity.
If you can just imagine, in a matter of 7 and a half hour, 19 papers were reviewed and evaluated which lasted up to 5:30 pm approximately.
Dr. Capuno hoisted a right thumbs up for the host.
Engaging Social Night for Researchers
After the first day of presentation, dinner was served coupled with the rustic melody of the acoustic band of the ESSU. While participants were entertained with the angelic voice of the band, a singing challenge kindled when one participant challenges others to sing with the accompaniment of the band.
Fortunately our research head of San Jorge campus is talented enough to show off to all that we are not lagging behind when it comes to singing.
The second day was filled with excitement as each of participants awaits for the announcement of the winners.
Dr. Capuno said that “we should remember that this is competition”. All of us are winners because we have presented our research papers but the panel has to chose which of the entries are best amongst others.
He also reminded the presenters to present well the result and try to maximize the time alloted for the presentation.
Around 10 in the morning Aug. 3, 2016 finally the winners were announced.
Of all the entries, two were qualified to present a paper on the 3rd level symposium which will be held in Visayas State University. While others were for poster presentation.
Winners of 2016 Inter-agency In-house review
For completed research 3rd best paper were awarded to Samar State University and 2nd best paper is awarded to NwSSU.
“Vulnerability assessment of Coastal Communities in Calbayog City to Climate change: Basis for designing adaptation system.”
Indeed, in today’s ever changing climate, vulnerability assessment is necessary.
As a short background of the research, the researchers focused on climate change adaptation in coastal communities in Calbayog City.
Because environment and social systems is complex, adaptation to climate change is also a complex activity to achieve sustainable development.
Thus, socioeconomic and ecological profiles of coastal communities were gathered. In the age of sustainable development, assessing all four dimensions is salient in addressing adaptation options such as social, economic, governance and environment. These are all captured in the Vulnerability Index Management System (VIMS). The computation of the vulnerability index which is important for climate change adaptation were done using a software calculator (VIMS) which were also developed by the same researchers to compute for vulnerability.
While the panel appreciates the research, according to them this has to be shared to the community (which will be the next activity of the group).
Conducting research and extension is fun. It may be difficult at first but its reward is priceless.
The question is why do we need to assess a specific area according to its vulnerability to climate variability?
As we all know, human beings depend so much on its surroundings or environment, however, human beings have been successful destroying the earth not so much on preserving it.
The earthquakes, typhoons and many other natural disasters are also a response to human activities. What we give to the environment will be returned to us hundred folds.
While this may sound prophetic, but I heard this personally from a friend who happened to be a professor in one of the universities in Tacloban City.
She said one day to her students,
Class don’t throw your garbage anywhere or in the sea, because someday this will come back to you.
Indeed, she was right.
What happened during Typhoon Haiyan was not just an environmental thing, it has its causes. Whatever it is, God knows more than science does.
With all the disasters we encounter, if we do not know how to adapt to these changes in climate, we will suffer. However, unless we know that we are also vulnerable or not, we cannot be prepared to face our future.
In this sense, vulnerability assessment is important for the following reasons.
My top 7 reasons to conduct vulnerability assessment
1. To inform us how ready are we when disaster comes
I remember a verse in the Bible:
My people will die for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6
Sad but true. Despite we have high technology today. Many don’t have the access to information especially on local settings.
The challenge here is that: People should have first hand information on their social condition. Well, of course they know their capacities, capabilities, but talking about disaster preparedness, I am unsure to this.
Not all people are ready when disaster comes.
That’s the hard truth.
2. To prepare ourselves in these last day events
If we have all this information at hand, we can then be prepared for whatever may happen. We cannot blame another the national government nor anyone else.
We are to be held accountable for our lives as well as others.
3. Vulnerability assessments serve as early warning system
Access to early warning systems is very important. Studies by CARE shows that both in Peru and Vietnam, lacks early warning systems and was recognized as a key contributor to vulnerability to extreme events.
4. A voice to vulnerable people
Vulnerable communities are at risk when disaster strikes. However, there are many responses that the government are doing to secure the lives of people.
But often times, these strategies are way too far implementable and applicable in the locale. Vulnerability assessments thus provides people the voice especially in decision-making process where most of the times made from a top-bottom approach.
By doing participatory decision-making through vulnerability assessments, it also ensures that adaptation initiatives are responsive to their needs, priorities and aspirations. (CARE)
5. To have effective and sustainable coping capacities
Again, most of the adaptation strategies doesn’t reflect the realities especially to ordinary people. Consider this sad example. Prior to Typhoon Yolanda, there were already warnings from the national government made through PAGASA. However, these warnings seemed too technical to ordinary people and they don’t understand the meaning of it.
STORM SURGE was the word of the day.
But people in Tacloban City don’t bother to listen to it.
Yes, PAGASA did what was right but in the end they failed. If only the media and the PAGASA said it in layman’s term, many lives will be spared.
(I am not reviving the issues back in those times, this is just an example that those top-bottom approach do not fit anymore today).
If TSUNAMI were announced, for sure many people would flee from their places.
Targeting local initiatives from the voice of the local people is important in adaptation to #climate change.
Local people know what’s best and what works for them.
6. Secure our resources
Many people depend on environmental resources for their livelihood, now because of changing climate those whose livelihood depend on these are affected.
As a result, people will resort to other means that is unsustainable which in turn damage our ecosystem.
I got here another case from CARE.
In Peru, people are clearing more forest to access land for agriculture. Not only is this damaging to the ecosystem, it is increasing risks of erosion and landslides, increasing people’s exposure to these hazards. Insecurity of land tenure or lack of land ownership is also a limiting factor for adaptation, as people may not see the value of investing in strategies that sustain ecosystems and can improve productivity and resilience over time.
7. To promote gender equality
Women and children are the most vulnerable to climate change. I don’t mean here that men is exempted to climate change. But often times, programs, policies, and projects are androcentric and some don’t require women to participate.
CARE shows that equitable adaptation requires an understanding of the dynamics of vulnerability. As their case studies demonstrate, gender influences these dynamics, and therefore vulnerability assessment must take gender differences into account.
These are my 7 reason why we should conduct vulnerability assessment to places which are prone to disaster.
Do you have suggestions to consider adding it here?
With the onset of #Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Philippines adheres the four dimensions of sustainable development to achieve the basic needs of the present without destroying the future. These are the economic, social, environment and good governance. By 2030, all participating countries should have ended poverty in all its forms.
In connection to this, the Philippine Association of Extension Program Implementers, Inc. (PAEPI- Global) recently hosted 3rd International convention and annual convention themed:
“Literacy Programs: Approaches, Strategies and Practices toward Holistic and Sustainable Community Engagements”
This was held at Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman, Quezon City with participants from different schools across the Philippines shared there best practices in implementing extension programs through different approaches. The convention was also attended by its partner agency Tennessee Renewable Energy #Economic Development Council (TREEDC).
Some of the participants includes University of Rizal System, Northwest Samar State University, San Beda College, Philippine Normal University, Central Mindanao University, and Romblon State University. (Sorry if I forgot to mention other SUCs).
The conference had two plenary speakers who both successfully shared insights on literacy and how it affects sustainable development and people empowerment.
Nowadays, its is very important that people should be literate not just through reading and writing but also on how to comprehend and deal with other people.
Prof. Brent Jones shared that teachers should encourage students to internalize the lessons in the class. What I learned from his presentation was, “to be an effective teacher: we should know the level of understanding or comprehension of the students, and provide the necessary intervention to it.”
From a Flow Theory, if a teachers fails to know the level of understanding (IQ level) the student will either be bored with the topic because they are fast learners or students may have a problem on digesting the topic because they are below average.
Please follow the presentation below to know more about the flow theory he was referring to.
The international conference continues with parallel sessions with four categories: Livelihood and Business, Education, Technology and Health and Environment.
Papers presented were scrutinized to have a best paper in each category based on the following criteria:
How the project considered the relevant context of its target beneficiaries? (needs assessments, community resources and social milieu)
How the project empower its beneficiaries be it transfer of skills and valuable knowledge, capacity building and long-term personal and social development? (project interventions, strategies and methods)
How innovative, effective and relevant the concepts, models and paradigms applied in the project?
How the project improved the quality of life to its target beneficiaries? (Impact and indicators of success)
How sustainable is the program and how it contributes to the attainment of self-reliance for its beneficiaries (How sustainable is the project and are there Sustainability plans)
According to the PAEPI- Global, Vice President “Everybody wins,” through sharing their best practices in reaching out the communities. As an academician and educators; it was noted that its not about competition, its about extension – extending our help to the communities. But to have a more fruitful intellectual discourse, still best paper presenters were chosen.
Some of the best practices includes
Sustainable community development through Participatory Rural Appraisal
Digital Literacy for Barangay Secretaries
Kapit Bisig Tayo : Mess to Riches
Business Management Training-Seminar for Basey Tikog Workers Federation Leaders in Basey, Samar
Community Based Eco-tourism
Strengthening Resiliency of Romblon Rainfed and Upland Rice Farming Communities to #Climate Change
Restoration of Mt. Asog through rainforestation and agrosilvipasture approach in Iriga City
School Based and Holistic approach in fighting against malnutrition in Odiongan Southcentral School
Empowering Calamity Stricken Communities Through I.T. Training programs
The conference ended with big hopes that through sharing of the best practices, planning for publication in journals and linkage, the organization will reach more and achieve more of its goals in the near future.
Well, now that we have 17 Sustainable Development Goals, let us continue to support and extend our best efforts to achieve it through research and extension.