With each day the consequences and the information we have about climate change are becoming more numerous and obvious. Climate is changing, which means that the life of everyone on this planet is changing too. Unfortunately, small local and rural communities will be at the front line of these changes and that is why it is important to protect their way of life in the fight against climate change.
Climate changes pose a serious threat to small farmers and farming areas and communities. Even a small change in local temperature might lead to loss or reduction of yields, thus affecting the quality of life in the community. This usually results from droughts and decreased water resources. Extreme whether events such as storms, tempests, downpours and floods further exacerbate the threat. It is estimated that by the end of 2020 as many as 49 million people around the world would be on the brink of starvation due to events linked to climate change.
Even though there is no easy and simple way to prevent climate change and its consequences, experience shows that the best way to mitigate changes is to directly engage local communities in the planning and the implementation of planned activities. Cooperation with local communities, associations of stock-breeders and farmers, and municipalities is of key importance for successful management of future changes.
Agriculture and forestry have an important role in mitigating the impact of climate change and increasing the significance of local communities. Greenhouse gases can be reduced with proper forest management and afforestation, modernization of animal husbandry and application of extensive and traditional stock-breeding, promotion of local autochthonous varieties of fruit and vegetables, rehabilitation of abandoned farming land, maintenance of pastures and protecting the soil from erosion.
Rural communities are guardians of natural resources and are well acquainted with nature in their immediate vicinity, but due to poverty they often abandon these habits and apply new, unsustainable practices in their daily lives. That is why it is important to dedicate attention and time to their needs in order to preserve traditional knowledge and practices which are essential in the fight against climate change.
Rural communities might be far from large urban centres, but they are key for their survival. Almost all resources for the cities come from villages and rural areas, particularly food, water and natural remedies. The link between cities and villages is vital and key for the fight against climate change. They should help each other with the aim of achieving sustainable development where neither side would be affected negatively. The years to come would require from us better cooperation and commitment in order to preserve our way of life.