I am currently in San Salvador, on a Simon Cumbers Media Fund supported project on climate change. Myself and my colleague James Redmond spend our days visiting people and places affected by climate change. We are making a short documentary and I am writing a number of feature articles for TheJournal.ie.
Climate change has caused severe economic and social damage to El Salvador. We have visited a number of projects in the key coffee sector, including co-operatives and Government ran pro-cafe. They have spelled out the damage caused by roya, a new disease caused by increased rainfall. This disease leads to decreasing yields. Pro cafe is working to develop coffee plants which are resistant to the disease. El Salvador has a huge co-operative movement, supported by the Government, where organic, environmentally friendly production is encouraged.
We have visited a number of grassroots projects working to combat the affects of climate change, against huge odds. In one project in the colonial town of Suchitoto, we were of the affect of droughts on local rivers. On our first morning in San Salvador, the country’s capital, we encountered a large demonstration organised by groups of indigenous women, calling for more action against climate change.
Last week, we interviewed members of a turtle conservation project, near La Libertad. The turtle population of central America has been affected by rising sea temperatures.
El Salvador is very vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change. According to El Salvador’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), the country will lose somewhere between 10 percent and 28 percent of its coastal territories in the next century as a result of rising seas. After decades of indiscriminate logging, only 2
percent of El Salvador’s original forests remain. The result is that when sudden heavy rains occur, there a few natural protections.
This is the reality we are trying to capture through our work here. We hope to tell a story not just of the damage caused by climate change, but of climate change resilience.