By: Frank Rijsberman
Published: Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 25, 2013
 

As a lifelong scientist I have attended climate change meetings for over 30 years. Our aim was to convince scientists and policymakers to take climate change seriously. The message was: ‘Take action now, to leave a better world for your grandchildren.’

In the past, many of my colleagues working in development were not convinced – poor and hungry people cannot afford to worry about climate change. Such was the conventional wisdom.

The conference on “Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice” that I attended in Dublin this month has shown a hugely significant development. Finally, grassroots activists, smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fishermen are being given a voice and placed at the centre of climate change discussions.

Participants from 60 countries, many from Africa and Asia, were not discussing some vague threat in the distant future, but the serious challenges of managing risks to their livelihoods from extreme weather events, droughts, floods and hurricanes happening today. Evidently, climate change has caught up with us.

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