Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary
Environment - the Basis of Livelihoods
About the Cyberlibrary
The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary was developed by Mick Kelly and Sarah Granich on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development, with sponsorship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site, and on other sites that are referenced here, is accurate, no liability for loss or damage resulting from use of this information can be accepted.
Africa’s social and economic development is now in even more danger because climate change threatens to undermine the integrity of the continent’s rich but fragile ecosystems. These natural systems provide the foundation to most countries’ economies, and form the base upon which the majority of the population derives its livelihoods. Africa contains about 20 per cent of all known species of plants, mammals and birds, as well as one sixth of amphibian and reptile species.
Biodiversity in Africa, which principally occurs outside formally conserved areas, is under threat from climate change and other stresses. Savannahs, tropical forests, coral reef marine habitats, freshwater habitats, wetlands and East African montane ecosystems are all at risk.
Poor people in Africa, especially those living in marginal environments and in areas with low agricultural productivity, depend directly on genetic, species and ecosystem diversity to support their way of life. As a result of this dependency, any impact that climate change has on natural systems will threaten the livelihoods, food intake and health of the population.
With the extinction of plant species used in traditional medicines in Africa, it is expected that climate change will affect people’s ability to cope with illness. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 per cent of the world’s population in developing countries relies on these plants for primary health care. In Mali, traditional medicines have declined because many medicinal plants have been wiped out by constant drought. Livelihoods built for generations on particular patterns of farming may also quickly become unviable.
If left unaddressed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that climate change will place an additional 80 to 120 million people at risk of hunger. Some 70 to 80 per cent of these will be in Africa. With increasing temperatures and extreme weather events, climate change will further erode the quality of the natural resource base, thereby reinforcing conditions of poverty.
On the Web
General Electric plans to cut solar installation costs by half
Project 90 by 2030 supports South African school children and managers reduce their carbon footprint through its Club programme
Bath & North East Somerset Council in the United Kingdom has installed smart LED carriageway lighting that automatically adjusts to light and traffic levels
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Public Gardens Association are mounting an educational exhibit at Longwood Gardens showing the link between temperature and planting zones
The energy-efficient Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel is powered by renewable and sustainable sources, including integrated solar photovoltaics and guest-powered bicycles
El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, plans to generate 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources
The green roof on the Remarkables Primary School in New Zealand reduces stormwater runoff, provides insulation and doubles as an outdoor classroom
The Weather Info for All project aims to roll out up to five thousand automatic weather observation stations throughout Africa
SolSource turns its own waste heat into electricity or stores it in thermal fabrics, harnessing the sun's energy for cooking and electricity for low-income families
The Wave House uses vegetation for its architectural and environmental qualities, and especially in terms of thermal insulation
The Mbale compost-processing plant in Uganda produces cheaper fertilizer and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
At Casa Grande, Frito-Lay has reduced energy consumption by nearly a fifth since 2006 by, amongst other things, installing a heat recovery system to preheat cooking oil