Climate change is disproportionately affecting the world's poorest people. It is estimated that 90% of the burden from climate change effects will be felt by the world's poorest- urban dwellers and, especially, small landholders. We believe we can reduce the negative impact and help vulnerable people learn to adapt their practices in order to live the lives that they want to lead.
I am starting an international non-profit that is using what we know about climate change science to help the world's poor living in highland mountain areas adapt to the effects of climate change on their own lives. These areas are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, both ecologically and socially. I work now primarily with Indigenous peoples. We are working with local experts on the ground to find solutions for a sustainable future that honor community and family traditions; and strive for a diversity of practices to maintain a secure supply of food and fresh water. Our work will potentially help hundreds of thousands of people learn to adapt their lives as subsistence farmers and small communities to the pressures of changing rainfall, biodiversity loss, rising temperatures, increased soil erosion and fires, new agricultural pests, and other direct climate threats to their ability to generate food and income for their families.
The money will be used to fund my living and basic office start-up expenses until the end of the year 2016, by which point I expect to be fully incorporated as an international non-profit and have collaborations with several other service and research institutions in the Central and South American highlands. I have so far paid for my master's degree in resource economics, my climate research, and my start-up costs; out of pocket using my own time and money. We are currently involved in several community empowerment, research, and art projects that the money will keep going.
I am the only scientist working to categorize, model, and graph the types of impacts that poor people living above 8000' are experiencing in this region of the world. Our work will help groups as diverse as the Nature Conservancy, the FAO, regional governments, community leaders, and other international aid agencies plan for climate change risk. We use an innovative approach and model that considers all aspects of human well-being, including the human-environment interaction and the value of the voice of participation. Our work touches on several key vulnerabilities faced by Central Americans: cultural isolation, economic opportunity, gender, food insecurity, water scarcity, crop loss, migration, loss of biodiversity, and government voice.
I thank you for any and all assistance, be it monetary, a kind word, critique, or helping us spread the word. Thank you very much!