rural road Ian Cumming/ZumaPress

Siapa yang paling dirugikan akibat Perubahan Iklim?

SEATTLE – Beberapa tahun yang lalu, saya dan Melinda mengunjungi sebuah kelompok petani padi di Bihar, India, salah satu daerah yang paling sering terkena banjir di negara tersebut. Mereka sangat miskin dan bergantung pada padi yang mereka tumbuhkan untuk memberi makan dan menghidupi keluarga mereka. Saat musim hujan terjadi setiap tahunnya, sungai akan meluap, mengancam ladang pertanian mereka dan merusak tanaman di lahan tersebut. Namun, mereka tetap percaya dan rela bertaruh bahwa lahan mereka tidak akan terkena banjir. Seringkali mereka kalah dalam “taruhan” ini. Tanaman mereka rusak, mereka lalu akan pindah ke kota untuk mencari pekerjaan serabutan untuk memberi makan keluarga mereka. Pada tahun mendatang, namun demikian, mereka akan kembali – seringkali lebih miskin daripada saat mereka pertama pergi ke kota – siap untuk menanam lagi.

Kunjungan kami merupakan pengingat yang berharga bahwa untuk para petani yang paling miskin di dunia, hidup adalah seperti berjalan di titian kabel yang tinggi – tanpa jaring pengaman. Mereka tidak memiliki akses terhadap bibit, pupuk, sistem pengairan, dan teknologi berguna lainnya yang memiliki kualitas lebih baik seperti yang dipakai oleh para petani di negara kaya – dan tidak ada asuransi tanaman pertanian untuk melindungi mereka dari kerugian. Satu kemalangan saja – kekeringan, banjir, atau jatuh sakit – cukup untuk menjerumuskan mereka lebih dalam ke lubang kemiskinan dan kelaparan.

Saat ini, perubahan iklim juga menambahkan resiko baru dalam kehidupan mereka. Suhu yang meningkat di dalam satu dekade mendatang akan memberikan gangguan yang besar terhadap pertanian, khususnya di wilayah tropis. Tanaman tidak akan tumbuh karena hujan yang terlalu sedikit atau terlalu banyak. Hama berkembang biak dengan pesat di iklim yang lebih hangat dan menghancurkan tanaman.

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