It is now certain that climate change is getting our world flat-footed. We can no longer tell with accuracy how long the dry season will last. We are not sure anymore if the first rains of the year start in March or if the second rainy season ends in December. Nowadays, it goes well beyond January, unlike many years ago when things were more certain.
So we cannot prepare well these days – to cultivate crops and do other activities. Therefore, preparing for crop agriculture in March is now difficult.
This is how unpredictable the weather has become. The globe is facing significant changes in weather patterns. It sways from a hot extreme to another cold one in a short time. In days gone by, the terms cyclones, typhoons and tornadoes were not common. But extreme weather events are becoming common. Look at what residents of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are going through.
Their homes have been washed away. Livelihoods have been destroyed.
We will most likely see these conditions regularly, as huge shifts in the timing and lengths of the rainy and dry seasons continue. High temperatures, strong winds and heavy rainfall will happen more frequently, to our disadvantage.
A big chunk of land in Uganda is either arid or semi-arid. And the green grass that gives food for cows, goats, and other livestock is no longer green all year round, much to the dislike of pastoralists. So pastoral communities have to force their cattle to move long distances to find grass and water. They occasionally run into water-points and land conflicts with communities. Those that are not able to take their cows to far places give up and hope for miracles.
We saw some communities watching helplessly as cows died due to lack of water. Some livestock owners were forced to slaughter their frail and thirsty animals and sell the meat cheaply. Yearly, they do it in order to cut losses when the rains delay. We must find answers to severe dry conditions, or heavy flooding. As part of the climate change adaptation means for communities in the arid and semi-arid areas, cattle keepers are now thinking about some quick action.
Communities have taken to planting and watering grass so that they can be able to feed their livestock. Somehow, they are now storing water in readiness to irrigate the land and provide water for their cows when the rains do not return in time. Other communities with deep pockets have drilled boreholes in their farm lands to water their animals. But this one cannot be afforded by everybody – think about drilling 90 meters below the ground to reach the water table. You must have the money.
Now is the time to seriously consider climate change adaptation strategies so that we avoid environmental migrants.
Simon J. Mone,