Yvette Nicholas of Haiti hasn’t been farming long, but she knows that things are different today than when her parents were young.
“The older people taught me that rain started in April,” says the 20year-old. “Now people are planting their gardens in June and July because there’s no rain.”
Yvette lives in Kabay in the Desarmes region of central Haiti. Through its member, Mennonite Central Committee Canada, Canadian Foodgrains Bank is assisting 200 people in the community to adapt to a changing climate with agriculture and reforestation initiatives—things like seeds, trees to hold soil on the steep hillsides, fencing to keep animals out of gardens, and farming advice.
Yvette appreciates the help. But one thing the Foodgrains Bank can’t do is make it rain.
Across Haiti, rainfall patterns have become erratic. Farmers say they can no longer predict when rain will come—their agricultural calendar is in disorder. In 2015 the situation was exacerbated by El Niño; the country was in the grip of one of the worst droughts in living memory.
Despite the lack of rainfall, Yvette saw progress with her garden.
“These peanuts that I planted, there wasn’t much rain and I didn’t get as much as I wanted, but I bought two chickens with what I made from them,” she says.
Yvette’s experience is not unique—across the developing world, small-scale farmers are challenged by a changing climate.
According to NASA, since the late 19th century the earth’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius). This change has been driven largely by increased carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The consequences are heat waves, droughts, unpredictable and erratic rainfall, flooding, and stronger storms such as hurricanes.
Unfortunately, the people most affected by a changing climate are those who are least able to adapt to it—the poor in the developing world. This is especially true for poor small-scale farmers, who are dealing with erratic rainfall, powerful storms and drought that disrupts their ability to grow crops and earn a living.
But what to do? Living in Canada means we need to drive cars, fly, and heat out homes, other buildings, and churches. One response is to reduce the amount of carbon we generate—drive less, turn down the thermostat, etc. Another is to track the carbon we generate and make a donation to efforts to help people in the developing world adapt to climate change.
You can do this through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank Climate Fund.
By supporting the Climate Fund, you can acknowledge the carbon you create in the course of your daily life, and at the same time help small-scale farmers in the developing world to adapt to a changing climate.
About the Climate Fund
The Climate Fund was created in 2013 as a way for the Foodgrains Bank and its supporters to recognize the impact climate change has on the small-scale farmers we work with around the world, and to help them adapt to its effects.
Money for the Fund comes from individuals, churches and other organizations that donate based on the amount of carbon they produce (at the suggested rate of $25 per tonne). Money also comes from the Foodgrains Bank and its members, which track their travel, utilities and paper use, and then annually transfer funds to the Fund to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions created (also at a rate of $25 per tonne).
Money raised through the Fund is made available to Foodgrains Bank members for projects that help people in the developing world adapt to climate change. To date, four projects have received funds. This year (2017-18) the project is an agro-ecology project in Guatemala supported by our member Presbyterian World Service & Development. Through the project 325 families affected by erratic weather patterns will receive agriculture training to help them adapt to the changing climate.
Through the project, new types of fruit trees will be introduced, maize and vegetable production will be improved, and sustainable reforestation practices will be developed. Click here to go to the Climate Fund.
An Invitation to Support the Climate Fund
Ways to support the Climate Fund include:
Individuals can track a month’s worth of energy, driving and fuel use, then make a donation based on the amount of carbon used on a monthly or annual basis. It’s also a great opportunity for children to do an energy audit of their homes and help other children in the developing world!
Churches can calculate the amount of carbon generated to heat and cool their buildings, or calculate the carbon generated by the distance people travel to church on Sundays. A donation can then be made to the Climate Fund. A Sunday school class or youth group could take this on as a project!
Businesses can calculate the amount of carbon generated to do their work and heat and cool their buildings, along with any costs for transporting products.
Carbon calculators to help you track your carbon are available on the Climate Fund page on our website.
Individuals, churches or businesses can also make a donation of any amount to the Climate Fund. All donations are matched 3:1 by the Canadian government. To make your contribution, click here.
Thanks for considering how you can do your part to help those affected by climate change!