The Storm

Early February, we had some unusual weather in our area. At the beginning of the dry season, we had very strong winds and downpours. It was the effect of a tropical cyclone many miles away.

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We had been expecting a dry season, so we were not prepared for torrential downpours. Since we had all been sleeping in tents, we had to evacuate the farm and spend the night in town.

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We had some damage on the farm. Our nursery got completely knocked down. Even though we had stabilized the PVC poles with earth and cement, the winds were too strong for our shadehouse to withstand.

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So began Operation Rebuild, and our GIs were on the job the very next day.

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In my few years working the land, the weather has gone from being just a casual observation to being of absolute and dire importance. Those who live closely to and depend directly on nature (very often the poor farmer of the ‘Third World’, though I dislike that term) will experience these climate changes first and foremost. Livelihoods directly dependent on natural weather patterns, such as farming, are most directly affected by environmental degradation and climate change. Not to mention the confusion it creates for farmers… If it rains in the dry season, then will it be dry in the rainy season? Should I plant now with the rains or wait until my usual planting time? So far, so good. We have not seen widespread crop failure due to changing weather patterns, in our area anyways. My only question is, once weather loses its general predictability, how many questions will this raise for our society and mankind? How much harder will our lives, and those of millions of farmers be?

This is our future now. We will need to design stronger structures, save resilient seeds and build strong community ties. The need for sustainable food production for local self-sufficiency in the forms of community gardens and food forests is great. Not to mention the desperate need for more trees to withstand floods, prevent erosion and sequester carbon dioxide. Luckily this need is already widely recognized and there are many initiatives world-wide working towards meeting these needs! It is up to us in our daily lives to do what we can to support and, where possible, create these initiatives to amend a global situation.

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