Health and Drinking Water Supply Vulnerabilities to Climate Variability in Coastal and Drought-Prone Areas of Bangladesh

The objectives of the study are to understand the relationship among climate variability, waterborne disease, and the drinking water supply vulnerabilities in coastal and drought-prone areas of Bangladesh. The study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Qualitative data were collected by conducting stakeholder interviews and focus group discussion. Quantitative data were collected using survey and from hospital records. The study was conducted in three sites, one in a drought-prone area and two in coastal areas. Correlation analysis provided the relationship among climate variables, health outcomes, and water supply system. The regression analysis was used to determine the health vulnerabilities of the communities with time. Temperature, rainfall, humidity, and hot and cold days per year adversely affected the groundwater table and functionality of water technologies in both coastal and drought-prone sites, which in turn affects the accessibility and quality of water and health. Diarrhea, dysentery, and stomachaches and skin diseases were found in all sites more than the usual number, whereas, jaundice and typhoid are distinct in drought-prone areas only. Strong correlations of these health outcomes with different climatic and water supply variables were observed with different magnitude. Regression analysis forecasts annual increases of 5% diarrhea, 3% stomachache, 5% skin diseases cases in coastal sites and 5% diarrhea, 3% skin disease, 3% stomachache, and 2% jaundice cases in drought-prone sites annually over the next decade. The level of significance of linear association was found to be high only for diarrheal cases. Communities are becoming more vulnerable due to climate-change-related increases in waterborne diseases and impacts on water supply. Interventions are recommended to increase the resilience of water supply systems and to reduce vulnerabilities.

Gender and Perception of Climate Change in Ethiopia

This article empirically examines whether there is any gender difference in perception of climate change among rural women and men in Ethiopia. In particular, it investigates whether gender roles in household and farm work can expose rural women and men to different types of shocks that can sharpen their perception of climate change. It also examines how their unequal access to agricultural extension services and farmers’ networks lead to unequal access to information that can confirm or reinforce women’s and men’s experience-based perception of climate change. Finally, it explores whether female members’ voices within the household can influence climate change perception by the head of household. Using the 2004–05 Ethiopian agricultural household survey data, the study adopts the sampling probability weighted logit and general maximum entropy logit methods in its analysis. The results indicate that women are less likely to perceive climate change compared to men due to unequal access to agricultural extension services and farmers’ networks. The study findings also show that women’s experience of health shocks, access to extension services, and ability to express their views can increase the likelihood of the household head’s awareness of climate change.

Collaborative Science and Learning as Tools for Climate Change Adaptation Planning

Anticipated impacts from climate change act as stressors that motivate adaptation strategy development. And, while climate science projections extend from the global to regional scale, they can leave significant uncertainty at the local scale. In many jurisdictions, governance and environmental management professionals formulate and distribute information to guide climate change policy and preparation. In many rural or otherwise marginalized areas, however, relationships needed to promote clear understanding of impacts and to tackle cooperative adaptation planning alongside residents are lacking. This paper discusses methods used by an interdisciplinary group of scientists to help a small community of rural coastal U.S. residents enhance their climate resilience. This was accomplished via participatory collaborative science and collaborative learning processes that facilitated relationships of trust among a broad group of stakeholders. Data gathered from our network and analyses of project activities show the benefits of collaboration across a social network representing the social-ecological system. The success of our efforts is evident in five ways: a) in localized application of climate and environmental knowledge, b) in building two-way knowledge across the local/ non-local divide, c) in incorporating local community values, d) developing trust between residents, scientists, and environmental governance and management professionals, and c) in lessons learned transitioning from a learning to decision making process. We strongly advocate those working with local groups on adaptation planning efforts begin with methods that help build knowledge, respect, trust, and capacity amongst residents.