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Inno Friday #12: No-nonsense Disaster Prevention -- a Bottom-Up Approach to Climate Adaptation

Rising summer heat may be the greatest impact felt by the Hong Kong people when it comes to climate change, but the damages brought by climate change are far more acute than that. In fact, extreme weather is a serious concern to impoverished people around the world, bringing great sufferings to them due to the lack of resources and inadequate knowledge.

On 17th June 2016The , Inno Friday talk :“ No-nonsense Disaster Prevention -- a Bottom-Up Approach to Climate Adaptation” was held on 17th June 2016. We invited Carmen Lee, Senior Project Officer of Oxfam Hong Kong and Carlitos Escueta, Senior Partner of EX:CHANGE (an international development consultant) as guest speakers to share their experiences of community education on its adaptive capacity against climate disasters. On that day, The talk was followed by a discussion among all participants on what are the feasible plans for the Tai O community in Hong Kong to adapt to climate change impacts was also held.

The international NGO Oxfam has recently published the “Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change Actions Handbook: Example of An Agricultural Community”, which introduces a bottom-up approach commonly used in many places of the world for building a community’s resilience against climate disasters.

Carmen from Oxfam emphasized that climate change affects the world in many different wayscauses many different impacts to the whole world, yetbut it is often the low- carbon-e mission areas that are usually paying the price for the high-carbon- emission zones. Many Ppoor areas acountries, and especially the disadvantaged groups, are sufferingr from more serious climate change impactsdamages. than others, This gives rise to the issue of causing the problem of “climate injustice”. Therefore, everyone has the responsibility to figure out solutions and to act in conjunction with those affected areas,. Carmen cited the case of a and never underestimate one’s power on causing the change. For instance, a remote area inmountain area in Vietnam, where is a flood-proneing is frequent but area without any a flood warning system is lacking. A villager, in a bid to help, thussets up develops a broadcastingcommunity radio station to broadcasting daily news and successfully attracts other villagers to listen to his radio. Whenever a flooding is imminent, villagers can receive warning through his broadcast. This method bears a low cost case but effective.illustrates that creativity Even a resource-limited area can can contribute to improve climate adaption even with limited resources, so everyone should do.

Another guest speaker Carlitos Escueta supplemented the talk with more concepts and methods regarding climate response, such as what is the difference between “mitigation” and “adaptation”, the “Tree and Forest” concept and Participatory Capacity and Vulnerability Assessment (PCVA).

The last session is theA group discussion was then held to discuss part on how to empower Tai O, a highly vulnerable community in Hong Kong under climate change. CarbonCare InnoLab (CCIL) is collaborating with the Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute (HKJCDPRI) to assess the disaster prevention capabilities of Tai O, a community most affected by climate change in Hong Kong. Following background briefings by Debby, Project Manager of CCIL, first shared the existing problems in Tai O. the Pparticipants were divided into 4four groups. , These four groups were assigned to in which participants role-play middle-aged and old senior Tai O residents, government officials and young community workers, in each grouprespectively. After several rounds of discussion, the groups came up with various creative suggestions to help on Tai O cadapt to climate limate change. adaption methods, some creative suggestions have came out. FirstOne suggestion is to build a Tai O water sports center, which can . This suggestion not serve only can to attract morevisitors people to come so as to make profit,and use the revenue to buy but also can use the life boats forfor emergency use. Another Secondidea is to set up a Mmahjong centre for the elderlyr, which can be turned into a relief centre to gather the elderly during daily or before any flooding or other . This can facilitate the rescue work during any disasters. A Tthird suggestion is to establish a to matching system between the elderlyy withand other Tai O residents, in order and the latter will serve as to helpcarers each other during disasters.

More suggestions and solutions are likely to emerge if more people are interested to contribute their ideas. Those interested to join CCIL's Tai O climate projects as volunteers, please leave your personal particulars here.