As climate change is becoming a reality in many countries around the world, locals have been forced to adapt and come up with new ways to grow crops and provide their families with food. With little money and resources, these communities have found ways to improve food security and reduce the impacts of climate change on them. These solutions for climate change might be low-tech, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful.
Drought prediction Tool, ITIKI
A computer scientist in Kenya, Muthoni Masinde, created a website to warn farmers when a drought is likely to occur. This gives them time to prepare and minimize the damage to crops. It is used by thousands of farmers in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, and more.
Drought can cause severe damage to communities and without preparation there wouldn’t be enough food for everyone.
Salinity tolerant crabs
In coastal areas of Bangladesh, flooding is a big problem. Shrimp fishing, which is a major industry in Bangladesh, is heavily impacted because of it. It’s becoming harder to farm shrimp as the water becomes warmer from climate change and saltier from all the floods.
Many fishermen are now switching from shrimps to the resilient mud crab. The crab industry in Bangladesh is having some success but to make this a sustainable livelihood, the government needs to invest in hatcheries because depending on only the wild stock is not feasible.
This is a good example of how people are adapting to new conditions and situations. It’s something that humans are very good at.
A Toyola cookstove is environmentally-friendly since it produces fewer emissions and it is made from scrap metal. This also makes it cheaper. Usually, food is cooked on an open fire which requires large amounts of wood leading to more deforestation. Open fires also produce a lot of pollution and are harmful to human health.
This highly-efficient cookstove requires less fuelwood and they are less harmful to their health. Less trees are needed to be cut down and so forests are not disturbed.
In deforested areas, little rainwater is absorbed as there are no roots to take it in and the water just washes away. Also, the dry and arid soil can’t absorb water very well. But once again a cheap low-tech solution was found to overcome this and reduce the effects of climate change.
Locals collect stones and build a small wall to stop and trap the soil from flowing downhill. It also slows the water down so it has more time to be absorbed. Plants can then be grown on the soil that has collected uphill and increase water absorption even more.
Zai is a technique brought from the past to overcome desertification in western Africa in particular. It involves digging pits for each plant, so water is collected and infiltrates down to the roots. Otherwise, water would just run off the dry land with little of it being absorbed. Each pit has a diameter of around 15-30 cm. Manure is then added in the pits.
This technique, while labor-intensive, gives great results. In the long-term, fertility is increased and desertification is reduced. Farmers who have used this technique produce high yield crops and have had an increase in production.
Climate change is making farming harder and harder for communities. Coming up with simple techniques like these go a long way.
This is a hand pump that is fitted to wells and allows locals to get clean water out easily. This a good example of appropriate technology. No specialized knowledge is needed and it is made out of parts that don’t wear out with continual use so nearly no maintenance is needed. If repairs are needed after a few years, it can be easily done by the locals. This pump is widely used in Madagascar and has been very successful.
Access to clean water is becoming harder in certain countries and prolonged droughts make it difficult for communities to survive. Everyone deserves to have access to water and this makes their life much easier.
The maize stalks which are usually thrown away can be turned into an eco-friendly version of charcoal. This is saving a lot of trees. Deforestation is a huge problem in Uganda for example, so using the maize briquettes instead of the trees as fuel is a great option.
The main cause of deforestation in Uganda is fuelwood for cooking. These maize briquettes can be used at schools and universities however if they want to really reduce the rate of deforestation, they will need to build more machines to make it more large-scale.
It’s also cheaper than fuelwood making them overall very sustainable.
In addition, briquettes can be made from different types of biomass so it can be used by different communities who grow different types of crops. Sugar cane, coconut husks, rice husks can all be used. This job also provides an income for many people.
This is proof that humans can find a solution to every problem no matter how poor. As a race, we have evolved to be very resourceful. These low-tech innovations might not look like much but it’s helping many fight and adapt to climate change.
Yes, we can continue to make advances in technology and make products more efficient but we shouldn’t rely on it. We can make use of what we have because we can’t wait for some piece of future technology to save the earth. Using low-tech solutions and methods of the past will help us a great deal. We don’t need advanced design to save the world. Just a little creativity.