Agriculture is a major driver of land use change, with negative impacts to existing biodiversity and natural resources, yet it remains the only means to feed a growing, hungry population.
Dr. Henry Neufeldt (left) with other panelists during the side event in Durban, South AfricaTo maintain a balance between increasing the ‘food basket’ while conserving the environment, Dr. Henry Neufeldt, head of climate change at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), says there is need to shift from a business as usual approach to one that is pro-poor and climate-smart in agricultural production.
Dr. Neufeldt was speaking at a side event organized by ICRAF at the ongoing UN climate talks in Durban.
As drylands ambassador of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Dr. Dennis Garrity, a Distinguished Board Research Fellow at ICRAF, highlighted success stories of the evergreen climate smart agriculture initiative at the Dryland Forest Summit and Land Day 5 events in Durban, South Africa.
Dr. Dennis Garrity (left) with the Deputy President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe, at the opening of Land Day 5 which was held at the margins of COP 17 in Durban, South AfricaThe events were held at the 2011 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 17th Conference of Parties.
When I first heard those words by Prof Wangari Maathai, I was too young to comprehend what she really meant, but I remember it was a phrase that impressed and stayed with me. Now that I am full grown, I only know too well the import of the words, more so now that I report on climate change and environmental issues. A good friend of the Worldagroforestry Centre (ICRAF), many staff will fondly remember her visits and spirited discussions. Her memory lives on, not just in the trees of neighbouring Karura forest and others elsewhere but also in the people she inspired to take care of Mother Nature. Indeed, as illustrated in her favourite hummingbird story, each one of us need to ask ourselves whether we are the hummingbird that tried to stop the fire in the forest even with its seemingly limited ability, or are we the huge animals like the elephant, with what it takes but watching from the side.