Local knowledge crucial to prevent climate change

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El Solis

12.10.2015 - In the tiny community of El Solís in rural Guatemala, traditional knowledge on biodiversity and growing practices has been handed down through generations, an important survival tool in hard times.

In these harsh conditions, the community of 306 people cultivate corn and beans, an essential part of their daily diet. Success depends on water, weather and seeds availability. In 2014 the farmers of the area estimated crop losses at over 60%. Predictions for the future are not positive either therefore the community has allied itself with the Partners for Resilience (PfR) and created the Native Seed Bank.

«With this Seed Bank we have the opportunity to store our basic grains or basic seeds so that they can be reproduced and exchanged at any time. I am thankful for this opportunity for our people, our farmers, with a vision towards assuring food security, which is priceless» says Javier Antonio Ortiz, Mayor of de Cabañas.

Local knowledge of the impacts of urbanization, population growth, eco-system decline and greenhouse gas emissions is especially important in an era when more and more disasters are climate- and weather-related. That is why El Solís have been nominated as a Community Champion for the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

2015 hashtagThis is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of disaster risk reduction. It's also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

«On this International Day, let us recognize the efforts of communities, large and small, who put their wisdom to use in reducing disaster risk and sharing their precious ‘knowledge for life’» says Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

He uses the Arctic as another example of a region where local knowledge is crucial.

«We depend greatly on the local knowledge of indigenous peoples to understand the impacts of climate change, because what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. Changes that affect the availability of traditional food sources highlight the challenge that climate change presents for all of humanity, not just people living in the Arctic» says Mr. Ban.

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UNRIC’s Related Links:

•   PreventionWeb
•   Partners For Resilience
•   UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
•   International Day for Disaster Reduction

Photo Credits:

•   Cover -  Photo: PreventionWeb
•   Second -  Photo: United Nations