Bangladesh: the cash crop of climate change

22.07.2016 - Tony Henderson

This post is also available in: Greek

Bangladesh: the cash crop of climate change
rainy days in Bangladesh (Image by Aiko Fujioka Henderson)

It was recently reported on Pressenza that, asked about the impacts of climate change in Bangladesh’s coastal regions, eminent environmentalist Professor Ainun Nishat disagreed with those other experts who claim that internal migration may have already started due to the effects of climate change.

In the interview carried by IDN-INPS and repeated on the pages of Pressenza he says that “the land protection embankment at Char Fasson is 14 feet (over 4 metres) high [Bangladesh has similar embankments across its 700 km stretch of coastal zone], while the threat of storm surge or tidal waves is about 3 feet (90 cm). So, it is quite absurd that people would migrate in fear.”

This is yet another example of the ‘experts’ disagreeing with each other and in the end, fear mongering.

Having been a traveller into Bangladesh for decades with the activities of the Humanist Movement I am well acquainted with the long standing problem of salinity in coastal waters causing a necessary change in agricultural methods, a creeping problem exacerbated by a reduction of the flushing waters of the great rivers that run down from Nepal and India and that are siphoned off damagingly before they reach Bangladesh, the classic example being the Farraka Barrage.

Lower riparian joint meetings between India and Bangladesh have always been exercises in prognostication with the major force, India, merely giving lip service to the Bangladesh government which body simply took the perks and left the problem.

It has been well attested by critics that the IPPC, relying on computer modeling, makes all kinds of projections, always in the negative, yet Mother Nature in her wisdom confounds the findings time and time again.

Why doesn’t the government make provision for river bank erosion taking away people’s land so that some people can take that land opened up by those same river changes, as when one side is washed away another side starts drying out.

Changing the height of a length of cropping area – mas mentioned in the quoted article – seems insufficient if the ground water is increasingly saline so not sure about that example of farmers growing nicely on raised beds… which can help against flooding but little against salinity.

May subsistence farmers have lost their likelihood because of prawns for export practices that robbed them of paddy usage for the remainder of the year when prawn farming was in abeyance when they could grow drops for their own use but the latest demands for exports has benighted their more sustainable agricultural methods of tradition, leaving them economically adrift but assuring city-dwelling intermediaries of continued profiteering.

The good professor ends his interview with, “… What we need now are more funds and technology to improve our climate change strategies.” This gets at the crux of these announcements to the press, the money.

Climate change is being mis-used because extra-national funding is at stake and where does that money go, never to those immediately affected, only to the consultants manned by academics. Now no one is defying the worth of Professor Ainun Nishat who is defiantly one of the good guys, but for one like him there are hundred hangers on not worth their salinity.

Also see: IDN-InDepthNews – 22 May 2016

 

Categories: Asia, Ecology and Environment, Opinions
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