Acción sobre la vulnerabilidad climática: Lecciones de Quito

English version: here

Les comparto mi último artículo: historias-por-dentro-quito….

Mensajes clave

● La ciudad de Quito es un buen ejemplo de cómo la información sobre la vulnerabilidad, puede generar conocimiento en el desarrollo de políticas e implementación de acciones concretas sobre el terreno. Quito ha demostrado que desarrollar indicadores a escala de ciudad y preguntas clave relativas a las políticas de una manera participativa, involucrando a las autoridades locales, expertos locales y apoyo externo, puede construir confianza y facilitar la apropiación institucional de la información generada.

● La evidencia de la vulnerabilidad de Quito se ha legitimado y se ha asumido efectivamente dentro del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito por dos razones principales: la metodología y los resultados finales respondieron a la demanda, necesidades y prioridades del Municipio; y sus autoridades técnicas fueron participantes activos en el proceso y no sólo receptores de la información.

● Quito mejoró la aplicación práctica de las soluciones de adaptación al cambio climático in situ, mediante la identificación de opciones que tomen en cuenta la diversidad de opiniones y fuentes de evidencia, así como la comprensión individual tanto de mujeres como de hombres ante la vulnerabilidad al cambio climático.

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Urban Agriculture and biodiversity

Did you know that recent studies show that urban ecosystems present a higher richness of species than intensively managed agricultural ecosystems?  This could suggest that the conditions in the cities are giving these species a place to live without the threats of pesticides, disturbance from machinery or clear cuts after harvesting… isn’t that great? our cities are giving biodiversity a home!

With a growing population, the food demand will also increase. And maybe using urban spaces for food production could be an alternative to avoid agricultural intensification and enhance urban biodiversity. Boom! what a combination! 😉Lettuce

Cuba is an example worth mentioning…Evidence shows that the country has 8000 agro-ecological gardens managed without any chemical pesticide or fertiliser. Such gardens promote the diversity of crops and species, recycle and uses local inputs, and produce considerable amounts of food. In the case of La Habana city, these agro-ecological systems provided with 8500 tons of food, including 7, 5 millions of eggs, and 3650 tons of meat in 1996. Not bad right?

In a pot, in a garden or in an allotment close to your place…lets’s do it!

Tomatos

Urban biodiversity conservation

Why bother with urban biodiversity? … I can mention at least four reasons for knowing, caring and doing something to protect  all the species in our cities….

1.- cities offer an enormous niche and an opportunity for biodiversity conservation

2.-  urban settlements are inevitably growing in size and density and are one of the major threats to nature conservation.

3.- cities tend to be located in important biodiversity hotspots

4.- urban ecosystems provide a platform for citizens to understand the natural processes that govern global sustainability and provide them with several different social and psychological benefits.

Wanna do something about it? Get involved in urban planning and development in your home city! There is a lot of room for biologists, ecologist and conservationists in general. For example, green infrastructures such as green roofs and walls for food production, carbon sequestration, regulation of temperature could be the perfect scenario for the restoration of ecosystems, and the reintroduction of some native plants, birds, small mammals, insects that otherwise would not have a chance to co-exist with cities. It is true that many native species won’t resist to urban conditions but such technologies have the potential to restore the ecosystem’s functioning and to reconnect cities with the natural cycles.

How many species live next you? do you know them? Go out and explore!!!!! See below a beauty you can find in the North of Quito-Ecuador  😉

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Hope and innovation for conservation

There are great examples of successful conservation and sustainability efforts around the world that give us hope (Balmford, 2012; Bernard, 2010) and demonstrate that things can get better and will get better.IMG_0880 However, it is time to be honest in tackling the root causes of the problem from a conservation perspective.

Waste and our current consumption and production patterns are the major drivers for biodiversity loss, pollution, poverty, climate change (Orr, 1994).

What if we think  out-of the box for substituting something with nothing (Pauli, 2010)? and we create solutions that move away from pollution and waste and that use the resources that we already have?

The Blue Economy (Pauli, 2010) is a great example  showing that it IS possible to do so. In a nutshell, Gunther Pauli proposes the use of the waste produced by the coffee industry to grow mushrooms to feed vulnerable communities. Producers could grow coffee in a way that is compatible with biodiversity and responsible with the producer’s wellbeing. Responsible coffee drinkers could pay a fair price to producers, and in addition, new entrepreneurs could use the coffee waste to grow mushrooms to feed people (Pauli, 2010). The result would be that we wouldn’t need more land to grow more coffee or more resources for the creation of more goods, more jobs and more money. Check out more about this idea here.

With the same reasoning , there are many other examples of innovation in conservation. It is essential that we keep innovating our actions to tackle waste, production and consumption in the Anthropocene era (Steffen et al., 2011).  Keep checking the blog!!! new ideas coming soon… 🙂

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Art and Conservation

“ Drawing strength and inspiration from Nature ” -Gunther Pauli-

How important is to understand that conservation needs to be tackled from all the possible angles you can think of. Conservation is by nature interdisciplinary but we still tend to believe that it can be achieved by hard sciences alone. The truth is that the issue is so complex, that it needs the understanding and the contribution  from all us, no matter the position you are in or the subject you studied at college.  Everybody can make a difference from wherever they are. I find that one of most engaging, colourful and fun approaches to conservation is through visual arts. From scientific illustration to photography, video, documentaries, street art to name a few.  The purpose is to  make conservation more inclusive. To make the matter visible to non-experts, catch their attention,  INSPIRE them and invite them to contribute. When these visual arts are combined with the intuitive wisdom from my female  entrepreneur fellows it becomes even more motivating to me 🙂 (sorry if I am biased)

Diana Troya

Diana Troya-Visual Communicator

I am proud  and happy to introduce you all to Diana Troya and Noemi Cevallos, ecuadorian biologists, artists, innate communicators and friends. They are both doing an amazing job by organising workshops to spread the word about conservation through visual arts in Ecuador.

If you want to know about their work, like their Facebook page and check out the videos about their last two workshops held in Quito.

Botanical Illustration

chiqui

Noemi Cevallos-Scientific Illustrator

 

 

 

 

 

Do NO Harm…

Lake Malawi Malawi

Lake Malawi-Malawi

Too many times I have heard that development aid implements millionaire programmes to tackle one issue and accidentally causes another problem. This time, I want to share with you the case of mosquito nets, lake Malawi and the endemic endangered Chambo fish. Imagine for a second this amazing lake full of fishes…. thousands of people  depending on Chambo as a source of protein and as a source of income. Imagine now,  a huge amount of mosquito nets impregnated with toxic pesticides (to kill the mosquito) been distributed in the country to prevent Malaria and other mosquito-transmitted diseases.  Not a direct relation between these two facts right? well, these facts are very closely related…. People are sleeping without mosquito nets and are using the nets to capture baby Chambo fishes in the breeding areas.  Such practice has almost driven the specie to extinction. Ooooops!!!?

Chambo Fish

Chambo fish

I am not saying that a strategy for preventing Malaria is a bad thing, because it is not! .. but c’mon people! let’s pay attention to the implementation process of such strategies. The solution is not to distribute mosquito nets without proper education and communication about how to use the nets appropriately.  Let’s always be aware and prepared to mitigate the unintended consequences of our actions in any field. Luckily some actions have been taken to conserve the breeding grounds of the fish and people are now actively involved in the process. Local people are aware of the importance of protecting the baby Chambo fishes to ensure their food security and their jobs.

Country-Views--Chambo