October 22, 2020
The Environmental Studies Department's Earth Issues Seminar Series continues with a presentation of student-faculty research funded by Dickinson College’s Center for Sustainability Education. Dr. Shamma Alam (International Studies), Dr. Heather Bedi (Environmental Studies), Aisha Rodriguez (22’, Environmental Studies), and Amir Zawad (22’, Computer Science) will present "Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation among Bangladesh Agriculturalists."
With support from a CSE grant, two faculty members (Dr. Shamma Alam and Dr. Heather Bedi) conducted collaborative research with students Aisha Rodriguez (22’, Environmental Studies) and Amir Zawad (22’, Computer Science) during the summer of 2020. Their research questioned if and how climate change impacts agriculture, with a focus on Bangladesh. Agricultural lands feed the world’s population, provide ecosystem services, and if managed properly can promote biodiversity and mitigate climate change through carbon dioxide sequestration. These lands are vital to food security, which is imperative to the no global hunger objective of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Global food security is at risk from climatic change related increased temperatures, fluctuating precipitation levels, and greater frequency of extreme weather. Bangladesh’s low topography, high population density, high poverty levels, and economic dependency on agriculture indicates a higher vulnerability to climate change, despite the nation’s minimal greenhouse gas emissions.
To examine these trends in Bangladesh, the research group analyzed a survey of 800 Bangladeshi farmers to understand how they experience and adapt to climate change. The group quantitatively collated the data, analyzed it, and put the findings in conversation with literature on climatic agricultural adaptations and sustainable development efforts. Through this analysis, the group determined that over 90% of farmers reported changing their practices because they observed long term shifts in climate. The majority of these farmers reported significant changes to important agricultural practices such as changing the variety of crop they produce, irrigating their farms more, and increasing their fertilizer application.