Saturday, April 17, 2010

Outside scientific community, climate change largely not understood

VietnamNet: Ask a farmer about climate change and you are likely to get a blank stare, but ask about changes in crops and everyone has something to say. Tran Van Thanh, a farmer in Cai Lay district, Tien Giang province, said that he’s never heard of climate change but he knows all about poor crops, the encroachment of salt water into the mainland, prolong drought and shortage of fresh water which have all happened recently in his hometown.

Like Thanh, many people in the Mekong Delta don’t know about climate change because they are busy with its consequences. They can’t fight the causes of climate change so they focus on fighting its effects, like pumping water from drilling wells to irrigate dry fields or buy fresh water at high price when their clean water has been exhausted.

…Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Van Duc said that coping with climate change is urgent and vital for Vietnam because Vietnam is among the five countries that will be hit hardest by changes in sea level.

Farmers and provincial planners do not understand such information, though scientists have been discussing it fervently… Perhaps the farmers and planners didn’t go to the right seminars. Government encourages scientists to get out of the lab and into the farms

Dr. Le Anh Tuan from the Institute for Climate Change said that the ways that the people cope with climate change are unscientific. Some measures, like watering crops from wells, can even make things worse. Dr. Tran Thuc said that restricted understanding of climate change by a majority of people in the Mekong Delta is one of the biggest problems in implementing the national scheme to combat the effects….

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