An Overview Of Our Solution
- Population Impacted:
- Continent: North America
GUILLERMO PRIETO 1016
Local resources the community depends on, and for what purpose
Local threats to resources
Level of sensitivity
Level of adaptive capacity
The city of La Paz is very vulnerable to these changes. Current infrastructure is maxed out. Our official urban plan in the municipality expired years ago and has not been updated. Current development and economic expansion is highly dependent on current climactic conditions and realized for short-term outputs. Drastic climate change will have a profound effect.
Economic Indicators used to measure benefit
La Paz is at a cross-roads. We can choose the path of consumption, of man versus nature, of short-sighted development, and of dependence. We can also choose the path of community empowerment, of consideration for our natural environment, and of long-term planning. We are happy to say that our activities help residents to consciously make these decisions and give them tools to make a difference.
Community/Social Indicators used to measure benefit
We see more wildlife around gardens and reforested areas that were once vacant lots.
There are not many social costs in gardening other than time.
Ecological Indicators used to measure benefit
There is increased awareness of water and resource use, less organic waste being sent to the landfill, more interaction between community members at the gardens, more nutritional awareness and varied foods available.
What were/are the challenges your community faced in implementing this solution?
We have over 1500 participants attending our events per year. They come from all demographics from pre-school to adults, families and singles, teenagers and elderly, rich and poor. Gardening is gratifying, uncomplicated, and beautiful and so it appeals to many people.
Describe the community-based process used to develop the solution including tools and processes used
The city is heating up due to climate change and the removal of local vegetation and installation of pavement. We have created a "heat-island" effect. Intensifying hurricanes cause loss of human life, economic damage, and ecosystem damage. Rising sea-levels destroy coastline for human-use, tourism, and increase flooding of residential areas. A substantial area of the city will be under water in the next 20 years.
Climate hazard of concern
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the ecosystem affected?
Many of these changes will be catastrophic. La Paz is located on the Baja Peninsula. We are geographically and socially isolated from mainland Mexico. Our municipal government is in serious debt, which limits the amount of help that we can get from the federal government until we have a better credit rating. We are reaching our population threshold and while we can receive more migrants in the short run, we are only biding time before we over-draw on our natural resource account and the repercussions become critical. At the same time, we although our population is growing quickly, we are still in the least densely populated state in the nation. La Paz functions as a small town in some ways, and so alliances between different sectors in the society can be achieved for the common good.
How has your solution increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to potential climate changes?
Baja California Sur suffers from high unemployment compounded by a high cost of living. At the same time, it's isolation makes it difficult to acquire a varied diet. Thus, we are experiencing an epidemic of nutrition related diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Raiz De Fondo models methods of cultivating one's own healthy vegetables and preparing them. We also provide workshops on sustainable living that include water saving techniques, rain-capturing, and alternative construction. We have seen participants go on to use these acquired skills to create new economic activities. One member was hired to install an herb garden at a local restaurant. Other participants are organizing a cooperative gardening store for the growing population of home gardeners. Finally, by raising awareness and training a population to grow its own food, we are building capacity for food autonomy in an isolated and thus vulnerable region of Mexico.
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the communities affected?
Changing temperatures and weather patterns
How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the communities affected?
We are teaching residents to conserve water while beautifying and reforesting the urban landscape. Part of this comes from producing food locally, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of importing food over thousands of miles. The other part comes from our emphasis on learning to read local conditions, plan accordingly, create small-scale operations, and use less resources with a biointensive method. Finally, we are giving workshops on rain-water harvesting. grey-water recycling and urban reforestation. We live in a heat-island with extreme summer temperatures and lots of pavement and concrete. By planting native trees we could significantly lower the temperature. This would raise the quality of living and reduce the need to use air conditioners, an energy-intensive solution which uses lots of water and carbon for electricity production. The sequestering of storm water also reduces storm-surges and the damage they cause to man-made and natural infrastructure.
How has your solution increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate changes?
We are teaching strategies to reduce the quantity of water extracted from aquifers, the use of electricity for cooling, and the import of food. This will create a city that is less dependent on fossil fuel, a contributor to global warming. Community members are the focus of these activities, as oppose to government or the private sector, they will not only be able to change their activities, but be empowered to advocate change, accommodate new situations, and create new models.
Can this solution be replicated elsewhere?
Our organization runs three community gardens, 10 gardening workshops, 8 nutrition workshops, 22 school visits, and 4 events for about US$115,000 per year. We are comprised of 7 part-time employees. All of our workshops are free and open to the public with a suggested donation (not obligatory).