Climate Resilience Toolkit: A Framework For Understanding And Addressing Climate Issues.

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Photo shows the coastal area of Horseshoe Beach, Bermuda.  Photo by Touristang Pobre.

Earthniversity would like to share the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit which is now available on-line.

According to its website, “The Climate Resilience Toolkit provides resources and a framework for understanding and addressing the climate issues that impact people and their communities.”

While this Toolkit is prepared for use of the different communities in the United States, this can also be a very helpful tool to enable the various communities and Local Government Units, specifically in the Third World Countries and other parts of the globe in their planning and implementation of programs and projects designed to mitigate the effects of the Changing Climate.

This Toolkit covers the 5 Major Headings:

1.  GET STARTED  – this is the Overview covering the five (5) steps:

The (5) steps with this acronym – I DIET.

Step 1 – Identify the Problem – Focus on climate stressors that threaten people, buildings, natural resources, or the economy in your area.

Step 2 – Determine Vulnerabilities – Identify specific populations, locations, and infrastructure that may be impacted by the climate problem you identified.

Step 3 – Investigate Options – Compile a list of potential solutions, drawing on the experiences of others who have addressed similar problems.

Step 4 – Evaluate Risks & Costs – Consider risks and values to analyze the costs and benefits of favored options. Select the best solution for your situation and make a plan.

Step 5 – Take Action – Implement your plan and monitor your progress. As necessary, adjust your plan to move toward your desired outcomes. Be prepared to iterate, if needed. (Iterate means – to say or do again and again and again. Similar to reiterate.  Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary.)

Major Heading number 2 to 5 are as follows:

2.  TAKING ACTION – presents the Case Studies of Resilience In Action.

3.  TOOLS – Examples are: Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service; Airborne LIDAR Data Processing and Analysis Tools; Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI); Beach-fx; Carbon Tracker; Climate At A Glance and 30 other tools.

Here, you need the services of an expert that maybe available outside your LGU (Local Government Unit) or Office or maybe a member of the staff who can undergo training with well-known and accredited trainers in the area.

4.  TOPICS – the acronym is CEFH and these are:  Coastal Flood Risk; Ecosystem Vulnerability; Food Resilience and Human Health.  From these suggested topics, you can start your discussion on what Issues you will tackle first and what strategies, targets, programs and projects, you are going to implement and who are the people that will be involved, among others.

5.  EXPERTISE – This covers Training Courses and Finding Experts.  Capability Building is the term used in most LGUs to mean, a training of  personnel who works for the mitigation of Climate Change.  An LGU may tie-up with Foreign Governments Assistance Window on Climate Change to avail of funding and training support.  You can check the websites of embassies of foreign government in your area and check the assistance window available for this purpose.  The Local Chief Executive may write a letter of intention to ask for assistance, as a start.  If the LGU can finance its own programs for Climate Change, the better.

For a detailed discussion and guide, please refer to the link stated hereunder.  Thank you.

http://toolkit.climate.gov/

Additional Information:

1.  In order to have a common frame of reference of the word “Mitigation”, we will use the description adopted by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the United States.  According to FEMA, mitigation is described as “the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. Mitigation is taking action now—before the next disaster—to reduce human and financial consequences later (analyzing risk, reducing risk, insuring against risk).  Effective mitigation requires that we all understand local risks, address the hard choices and invest in long-term community well-being. Without mitigation actions, we jeopardize our safety, financial security and self-reliance. ”

Source: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit at this link:

http://toolkit.climate.gov/

2.  Also, as an additional input on the evidence of climate change, we will use the nine (9) evidence of Climate Change as pointed out by NASA.  These are:

1.  Sea Level Rise – Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.4

Source: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit at this link –   http://toolkit.climate.gov/

2.  Global Temperature Rise – All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880.5 Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years.6 Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.7

3.  Warming Oceans – The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.8

4.  Shrinking Ice Sheets – The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.

5.  Declining Arctic Sea Ice – Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades.9

6.  Glacial Retreat – Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.10

7.  Extreme Events – The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.11

8.  Ocean Acidification – Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent.12,13 This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.14,15

9.  Decreased Snow Cover – Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier.16

You can also check these current issues in this link:

http://toolkit.climate.gov/topics/coastal-flood-risk

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Photo shows the afternoon clouds that shelter the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda.  Photo by Touristang Pobre

To learn more about the impacts of climate change and variability in COASTAL AREAS, visit the subtopic pages:

The foregoing list can also help planners and implementing agencies in  the formulation of programs and projects aimed at mitigating the effects of the changing climate.

In closing, Earthniversity would like to thank our sources of information such as:

1. The White House Facebook Page and the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, through this link:

http://toolkit.climate.gov/

2. NASA through this link:

http://www.climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

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Photos by Henry Libo-on

Traveling to Bermuda Island?  Please visit this link

http://www.touristangpobre.blogspot.com

URBAN LECTURE SERIES BY U.N. HABITAT LECTURERS

Activity: Lecture Series on Sustainable Urbanization by the People and Partners of U.N.- Habitat.

This lecture series is very timely for those Local Government Units that are on the stage of developing their cities. This is also an important information for the city’s staff and employees, urban planners and developers to consider as they formulate urban planning and design that could be more relevant for the future. Let us welcome this opportunity to hear the ideas of experts from all over the world in just one video.

Earthniversity would like to thank U.N. Habitat for sharing this video on youtube.

Also, this lecture series is parallel to Earthniversity’s topic entitled Human Settlements.

Inland Waters and the Local Community, Lecture Series #4

Bago River, Minoyan, Murcia, Philippines

Bago River, Minoyan, Murcia, Philippines

Kampoosa Bog Drainage Basin, Eden Hills, Rockbridge, Massachussetts

Kampoosa Bog Drainage Basin, Eden Hills, Rockbridge, Massachussetts

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Today’s topic will focus on Inland Waters.  The discussion is part of a series of lectures-0n-line from Earthniversity.  This is also a continuing advocacy on the issues that face our planet Earth, specifically those major categories listed in our “About” page.   To a certain extent, inland waters are much protected in some developed countries.  The challenge of conservation and protection of Inland Waters is a reality in other countries and most probably in the Third World countries where resources for its protection and conservation is wanting.  Specifically, on the sides of the rivers, lakes, bays, creek, canals and estuaries, encroachment of human settlements faces a big challenge for the Local Government Units.

In most cases, these settlements  contribute to the pollution of inland waters when residents dump their garbage on it.   Flooding,  contamination of mine tailing if a mining exploration is present in the community, over exploitation such as sucking of water by irrigation pumps, and many others, are not the only threats to the health of Inland Waters but the invasion of certain species of organisms – flora or fauna that may damage if not destroy its biodiversity.

So, how could these inland waters be conserved or protected?  Before we tackle on these issues let me first present a few backgrounder.

Water is the result of  hydrologic cycle.   It is described as “the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth.  The mass water on Earth remains fairly constant overtime but the partitioning of water into the major reservoirs of ice, fresh water, saline water and atmospheric water is variable depending on the wide range of climatic variables.  The water moves from one reservoir to another such as, from rivers to the ocean or from the ocean to the atmosphere, by physical processes of evaporation, condensation,  precipitation, infiltration, runoff and subsurface flow. In so doing, the water goes through different phases – Liquid, Solid (ice) and gas (vapor).”   (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)

When the water falls to the ground, it will seek its level, forcing it to form inland waters such as lake, pond, basin and others.  Water flowing from the upland may flow through the channels of river systems, creeks, canals and others.  For bigger rivers where its upland source of water is so huge the LGU may capture it in the form of a dam and process it as electricity, potable water and irrigation. Examples are Angat Dam and Ambuklao Dam in the Philippines.  Hoover Dam in the state of Nevada, which I visited a few years ago.

According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Inland Waters are aquatic-influenced environments located within land boundaries. This includes those located in the coastal areas, even where adjacent to marine environments. Inland water systems can be fresh, saline or a mix of the two – brackish water. In other countries, inland waters maybe located in the interior part of the country or huge body of land but it is saline and another inland waters located near the coastal area but the water is fresh.

According to the government website of the United Kingdom, the link is cited at the end of this page, “Inland Waters include any area of water not categorised as “sea” example: canals, tidal and non-tidal rivers, lakes and some Estuarial  Waters (an arm of sea that extends inland to meet the mouth of a river.)”  

Example of Inland Rivers that are used for navigation are: Mississipi River and Hudson River in the U.S.  Pasig River and Agusan River in the Philippines.  In my province Negros Occidental, there are a few rivers that are navigable such as: Quinaorian River in Victorias City,  Bago River, Talubangi River, Ilog River, Sicaba River and Himoga-an River, among others.   Tributaries of these rivers are the uplands, passing through several farmlands and dump into the Visayan Sea in the East, Guimaras Strait in the West and Sulu Sea in the South of Negros Occidental. Himoga-an River in Sagay is also a tourism destination because of their 2-hour river cruise.

Classified as Inland Water, Ilog River in Negros Occidental is also an estuary linked to Barangay Andulawan and Barangay Bocana waterways.  It is the home of various species of resident and migratory birds and wildlife.  A few are endemic and endangered species.

The Free Dictionary by Farlex describes Inland Waters as follows:

“canals, lakes, rivers, water courses, inlets, and bays that are nearest to the shores of a nation and subject to its complete sovereignty. Inland waters, also known as internal waters, are subject to the total sovereignty of the country as much as if they were an actual part of its land territory. A coastal nation has the right to exclude foreign vessels, subject to the right of entry in times of distress. Whether or not particular waters are to be regarded as inland waters has traditionally been dependent upon historical and geographical factors. Certain types of shoreline configurations have been regarded as confining bodies of water, such as bays. In addition, there has been a recognition that other areas of water that are closely connected to the shore may be regarded as inland waters based upon the manner in which they have been treated by the coastal nation, although they do not meet any exact geographical test. Historic title to inland waters can be claimed only in situations when the coastqal nation has asserted and maintained dominion and control over those waters.”

What are the possible threats to inland waters?

Rivers, creeks, water courses, inlets, bays, canals and other forms of inland waters face possible threats from pollution such as garbage, chemicals from nearby  farms using fertilizers, factories, uncontrolled multiplication of other organisms in the water like water lilies, the rushing of mine tailing to inland waters, floods and so on and so forth pose a great threats to inland waters.

Book Abstract on Inland Waters  taken from the book entitled, Aquatic Conservation by W.D. Williams.

I placed hereunder the Abstract of this book. It focuses on Conservation of Inland Waters, Management of Inland Waters, Community Groups, and Public Participation.

Abstract:

1. Many international and national bodies have stressed the need for community participation in the conservation and management of inland waters. Community participation is needed for three basic reasons: to implement management measures difficult to enforce without community support; to act as a mechanism in protecting inland waters through support of conservation bodies; and, through voluntary actions, to monitor, restore and rehabilitate inland water-bodies.

2. It is important to conserve and manage inland waters because of their many values and uses. To participate fully in conservation and management measures, the community needs to (a) recognize the importance of inland waters as a part of the global hydrological cycle, (b) have some knowledge of the nature and effects of major human impacts on inland waters, and (c) be aware of certain legal issues.

3. The ‘community’ is heterogeneous in nature but community groups of similar interest can be recognized. They vary from small, local action groups, through national groups to international bodies. They provide advice to and support government actions; others oppose and seek to change government actions. Community involvement can be at various levels, from the relatively inactive to the vigorously proactive.

4. Environmental education of the community should begin in childhood, continue at school and other educational institutions, and last throughout life. Information on the conservation and management of inland waters is available from many sources, but a powerful, modern source is the World Wide Web.

5. Four case studies are discussed with particular reference to community participation: Lake Washington and Mono Lake in the US (successful outcomes), the Aral Sea in central Asia and Lake Pedder in Australia (unsuccessful outcomes). Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.  (Reference cited at the bottom of this page)

Is there any way humans can do to conserve and protect Inland Waters?

Precisely there is.  Local laws and cooperation between government and stakeholders can improve the chances of Inland Waters from becoming healthy and promote the conservation and protection of Inland Waters for the use of the present as well as the future generations. If you are thinking  of doing a project to begin with your local community, you can read your local environment code or any environment plan of your LGU, local government unit – town, city, province.  These documents have data where you can base your local initiative or project.

For example:  Inland Waters Conservation and Protection Project may focus on rivers, creeks, water inlets, lakes and others.  The most common project but very laudable one is Waterways Clean-Up Project.  The public information campaign to educate the local residents about the four R’s could also help minimize the landing of rubbish or garbage into the waterways.  In this activity, the local community will learn the value of reuse, reduce, recycling and rot or composting.  You can look for volunteers with expertise on these topics to talk about the 4 R’s.

You may also involve the expertise of local waterworks personnel as resource person on watershed conservation and protection.  On the higher level, sewage treatment and water treatment issues can be discussed with the local community and local government officials on what strategies to take to put these facilities in place. One best practice that can be used as a model here is the  Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre located in Australian Capital Territory – Canberra.  (ACTEW Website)

Sewage Treatment.  Sewerage treatment is a complex process where sewage is treated to remove poisonous or toxic substances. Solids are separated out and the remaining water is cleaned for release back into the natural water cycle. Many different approaches to wastewater treatment exist around the world.

In Canberra, the main sewage treatment plant is the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre (LMWQCC) where sewage is treated and released into the Molonglo River. It then flows into the Murrumbidgee River and drains into the Murray-Darling Basin river system, ultimately discharging into the ocean south of Adelaide. Water leaving this plant has been thoroughly treated, so it returns to the natural water cycle free of pollution and can be reused by other towns further downstream, specifically the farmers.  Other organisms in the rivers have a feast on clean waters flowing in the river.  I saw how a platipus enjoyed the river at Queanbeyan City, NSW, Australia.

In 2000, our Professor for Designing Sustainable Development from the University of Canberra took us on a field trip to Molonglo. It was a surprise for me to learn that from Canberra’s Molonglo water treatment facility, the water flows down to South Australia, specifically the capital Adelaide which faces the Southern Ocean.  I was in Adelaide for a short visit to my mother and sisters. I saw a few rivers where Canberra’s water reaches in the south benefiting not only farmers but tourists who ride the river cruise over clean waters.

Kampoosa Bog Drainage Basin (KBDB)

 The State of Massachussetts identified the KBDB as an ACEC or Area of Critical Environmental Concern.  ACEC is a conservation program in Western Massachusetts  managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Kampoosa is a low and marshy land that is frequently flooded.  As a Bog, it is also a muddy ground, too soft to support a heavy body.   Never attempt to walk on the bog.  It is also known as a Fen – a low and flooded area.  It is approximately 1,35o acres and located in the towns of Lee and Stockbridge in Western Massachussetts.  I have been to one of these bogs or fens, specifically in Eden Hills, Stockbridge when I visited the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.  Incidentally, the ground zero of KBDB happens to be in this Marian Order’s property.

When I saw this area in Eden Hills, it immediately caught my eyes, because I thought of the different species of plants and animals that make this bog as their habitat and is this a protected area?  These were the thoughts that were running through my head  as I survey the place with my eyes.   Scientists refer to KBDB, technically, a Lake Basin Graminoid (grass-like) Calcareous Fen.  Due to its critical ecological importance it is now a protected and preservation area because it is the habitat of 19 rare species of plants and animals.  (Energy and Environmental Affairs, Massachussetts.Gov website)

For me, this is a Best Practice that can be replicated in any LGU (Local Government Unit) specifically in my country, the Philippines.  The Kampoosa Bog Drainage Basin also reminded me of Ilog River Estuaries in Negros Occidental.  It is the home of migratory and resident birds which scientists believed to be endemic and endangered species.

If you wish to know more about KBDB this is the link   –  www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/conservation/acec/kampoosa-bog-drainage-basin.html

Suggested Activities:

A Strategic Planning Workshop on the Protection and Conservation of Inland Waters may  be conducted by the LGU or a volunteer organization to enable the community to produce its own plan involving all the stakeholders which also include the community where the Inland Waters may be located.  In the Strat Plan, specific programs and projects can be listed and how it should be implemented will be stated. Focus will be on the Protection and Conservation of Inland Waters.
Tapping the resources of foreign governments.  Implementation of programs and projects that deal with the protection and conservation of Inland Waters may be too costly for any LGU specially in the Third World countries.   But, they can also look at the several “windows” of  grants or loans from  foreign governments through their embassies, specifically those  environment related programs and projects.  This grant or maybe an extension of Loan will require a capability building or  training component for the project personnel.
In 1998, Bacolod City participated in the PRMDP-AusAID Project.  Included in this project is the Public Information Campaign on Solid Waste Management with focus on the 4 Rs. Waterways clean up was also conducted.  A ten-year solid waste management plan was also completed.  A Feasibility Study on the improvement of the city’s drainage system was also prepared.     In its Comprehensive Land Use Plan, a proposal for a Sewage Treatment Facility was suggested by the city stakeholders to be constructed along the city property located near the coastal area of Jalandon.  Water leaving this facility will be returned to the sea as clean water.  The same principle that was done in Canberra’s Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre.
In the province of Negros Occidental as well as in the Central Visayas and other parts of the country, several programs and projects designed to protect and conserve the Inland Waters had been conducted and sustained by their respective LGUs through their Environment and Management Office.  But those lacking in implementation is the focus of this initiative.  Something has to be done by concerned groups in the community.
Finally, there are so many ways and means where you can be a part of the solution to conserve and protect Inland Waters.  Your leadership in your local community may make a difference.  Why not start mobilizing your community towards doable plans and implement them with the support from the community?  Your acts today will benefit not only the present generation but the future generations too.
References:

ACTEW  Canberra, Australia, Website

Comprehensive Land Use Plan of Bacolod City, Philippines

Convention on Biological Diversity website

The Free Dictionary by Farlex.

https://www.gov.uk/inland-waterways-and-categorisation-of-waters

Williams, W. D. (2002), Community Participation in Conserving and Managing Inland Waters. Aquatic Conservation: Mar.Freshw.Ecosyst.,12:315-326.doi:10.1002/aqc.510

http://www.cbd.int/water/inland-waters

Wikiepedia, The Free Encyclopedia

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/conservation/acec/kampoosa-bog-drainage-basin.html

Abbreviation:

PRMDP-AusAID – Philippine Regional Municipal Development Project-Australian Agency for International Development

Photos by Henry Libo-on

1.  Bago River, Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental, Philippines.

2.  Kampoosa Bog Drainage Basin, Eden Hills, Stockbridge, Massachussetts