Within the COY10, many were the topics discussed by hundreds of young people which, representing their organizations or just individually, have decided to attend this event.
By Camilla Forti
The program was always very intense, with several sections, many seminars, debates and various parallel activities that have enriched these days with a touch of creativity. In addition to the huge number of people from around the world, from different backgrounds and experiences, but all united by the common goal of protecting the environment in which we live from the threat of climate change, there was also a farm! (The COY10 was held at the National University of Agriculture “La Molina” in Lima).
We then thought, it would be interesting to understand how climate change and environmental issues are perceived by those who actively participated in the COY10 but suffer in first person, in their work, the climate problem. Leaving the world of COY10 we need to find out what farmers think.
First, you need to understand the relationship between climate change and the world of agriculture. This connection is natural, since agriculture is mainly for growing plants for food products, and not only that.
Therefore, depends largely on natural resources like land and water, which in turn are strongly influenced by environmental conditions. Solar radiation, temperature and precipitation are some of the main factors influencing crop and, as you know, are closely related to climatic variations (http://www.climate.org/topics/agriculture).
As what to livestock concerns, it is clear that animals depend on weather conditions around. Not only in relation to their physical condition, but also to the negative impacts that occur in the production of food. We returned, therefore, to speak of agriculture and the cultivation of plants.
During our visit, we met some zootechnics students along with Eleuterio, the carer of llamas and alpacas, we have been told how they live the climate issue. One of the main problems cited was the drastic and radical change in temperature, with a strong impact on the health of the animals that get sick more easily, sometimes contracting respiratory problems. One of the animals that suffers the most from increasing temperatures is the llama, who is used to live on much lower temperatures.
Talking to a former student that now has began to work his land and raise animals in the region of Cajatambo in the highlands of Peru, he stated that the main problem is the production of food for their cattle. He mentioned, for example, a decrease in the production of alfalfa, an important food produced in Peru, due to increased heat and decreased rainfall. Farmers in the region, however, do not connect these changes with the climate issue. They do not wonder about what is happening and how to deal with the problem.
Therefore, the agricultural sector is one of the most affected by climate change because of their close dependence on the environment.
Personally, I find very interesting (sometimes even more interesting!) to hear directly from those working the land what is climate change and how it really affects their lives.
This is the best way to realize what is really happening and the need to immediately find a way to cope with the dramatic climatic situation we are experiencing.