Addressing Climate Change and Grassroots Level Adaptation Measures to Food Security in Northwestern Bangladesh
Climate change is no longer a new phenomenon; it is one of the foremost challenges of the 21st century and is a dire threat to all of humanity. Although it is an international spectacle, its impacts are not equally distributed throughout the world. Several factors make the Global South more vulnerable to its impacts, such as extreme population pressures, rural-urban and refugee migration, and lower financial resources, amongst many other dynamics. It is known that in developing countries such as in Bangladesh, which is commonly known as the ‘ground zero for climate change’ and where four fifths of the land is floodplains, the consequences of climate change will be devastating. In Dhaka there are approximately 1,115.62 people per square kilometer, which makes it rank tenth highest in the world, in terms of its population density (World Population Review, 2017). It has been predicted by the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2014) that global sea levels will rise by up to ~60cm by the year 2100. Therefore, the need to find solutions to climate change has become acutely urgent. Adaptation measures in developing countries, such as Bangladesh include “any adjustment - passive, reactive, or anticipatory - that can respond to anticipated or actual consequences associated with climate change" (Alam et al, 1999). This paper has relied on extensive literature review, case studies and long distance telephone interviews to explore the following: i) observed climate change in Bangladesh: ii) climate change impacts on crop productivity, mainly on rice: iii) Bangladesh’s government policies on climate change: iv) local grassroots level adaptation measures in the agriculture sector. Overall, I have found that there has been a very positive trend towards adopting adaptation measures such as floating gardens, high yielding varieties of rice and sand bar cropping; however only certain regions have been using such measures. The challenges climate change poses for Bangladesh remain staggering.