El Nino - a looming disaster

Date Posted:18 December 2015 |   Author: Fiona Morrison |  

The sobering news of climate impact in Timor Leste and what we can do about it.

We've just received this sobering report from Andrew Mahar, who works with us on WithOneBean:

I have been in Timor for the past 3 weeks. I have been a regular visitor for the past 12 years. I have been here in every month of the year. For the past few years because of the WithOneSeed program I have spent November/December here counting trees (By the way we now have just over 50,000 mahogany trees under farmer management). I can't recall a hotter period. It is oppressive. I think I am pretty resilient and I recognise my age, but I have struggled. I drive between Dili and Baguia, which is between an 7 and 9 hour trip. I pass through the different landscapes and terrains. I have not seen it so dry. My fear is we will witness hunger and thirst on a scale not imagined.

Is this the reality that this is the new reality? 

I drive through farming country where subsistence farmers have prepared their small plots for planting crops with the idea that the rain which has traditionally come in early November, will come. It is now mid December and there has been no rain.

Andrew Mahar, December 12, 2015

My immediate response was: What can we do? And I wanted to share three things we can do immediately.

  1. Buy WithOneBean coffee. We're working directly with farming families to develop more sustainable farming practices.
  2. Support our Timor Leste Student Scholarship program which is providing support for young Timorese people from subsistence farming families, to undertake tertiary education. This may not be an immediate answer to the problems being faced by rural Timorese, but in the longer term it is creating opportunities for these students from farming families to get jobs outside agriculture which will provide support for the family and often the whole community.
  3. Andrew's answer is: Planting trees is one of the key strategies to addressing the impact of climate change in the short term. As is education and training. You can directly support these strategies by purchasing beautiful gifts from WithOneBean. The impact of buying a t-shirt (for example) is: 10 trees will be planted in Timor Leste, reducing carbon in the atmosphere, returning forests to their natural state and helping to end poverty and hunger in one of the worlds poorest regions.

So, in Australia, as we endure the sweltering temperatures which are surprising for this time of year, spare a thought for those for whom such climate changes pose a life threatening risk. And take action by supporting us in the work that we do.


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