Adapting to climate change: experiences from Nepal

ByA village in the valley of Manang, Nepal I-Hsien Porter

Last week, the Environmental Audit Committee published its latest report, Adapting to Climate Change. This report argues that due to past emissions, changes in climate are already “unavoidable.” Hence the focus on making homes and infrastructure more resilient to future changes.

The report draws on global climate predictions, which suggest hotter summers and wetter winters for the UK. But without accurate local-scale predictions – at scales relevant to individuals – it is difficult to identify the specific adaptations that need to be made.

In a forthcoming paper in Area, Tor Aase and others examine how subsistence farmers in the valley of Manang, Nepal, have adapted to environmental change. There is a great deal of flexibility in the Mananges’ farming system; practices can be adjusted (e.g. a greater dependence on different crops) or relocated altogether. Over the past two centuries, this flexibility has allowed the Mananges to maintain food security in changing environmental conditions. Aase et al. have shown that local groups have the agency to adapt to environmental change. Working between scales in this way allows geographers to inform our response to global challenges.

Read the UK Environmental Audit Committee press release and report

Tor Aase et al. (2010) “Farming, flexibility and food security under climatic uncertainty: Manang, Nepal Himalaya.” Area [early view]

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