Gardens and libraries – how they help communities

Along with community-wide improvements around the world, individuals in the United States are growing their own food at home, creating positive environmental change household by household.

1. United States

“Climate Victory Gardens” feed Americans while contributing to a healthier environment. During World War I and World War II, some 20 million families across the United States planted victory gardens, supplying 40% of the country’s produce at its peak. During the pandemic, home gardening has once again grown in popularity. Green America, a nonprofit that helps people grow their own food as a way to fight climate change, has seen the number of gardens registered with the organization grow from 8,670 in 2021 to 14,655 over the the first two months of this year only.

Why we wrote this

In our roundup of progress, communities around the world have pursued goals to improve the lives of their own residents. But the positive impact of their self-improvement plans often goes beyond that.

According to the organization, what makes a garden a garden of climate victory is its regenerative impact, avoiding harmful pesticides and chemicals and nourishing both the gardener and the pollinators. This type of farm, no matter how small, can sequester more than 25 tons of carbon per acre, according to methodology adapted from the nonprofit Project Drawdown and the Environmental Protection Agency. Although many gardeners have not officially registered, Green America estimates that the gardens it is aware of have offset emissions from the equivalent of 39 million miles traveled.

A volunteer weeds the Pounder Vegetable Garden, a demonstration space for studying the impacts of climate change, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

2. Colombia

A public library in Colombia keeps indigenous stories and traditions alive. The mountainside town of Atánquez in the Kankuamo Indigenous Reservation had never had a library, which meant there was nowhere to store a box of books delivered by the National Library Network public in 2013. Residents adorned an abandoned building with tables, chairs, and bookshelves, creating a makeshift library. But they didn’t stop at the books.

Today, children in the community regularly take part in library programs, from outings where they try their hand at drawing ancient petroglyphs to meeting elders who share traditional music, recipes and history. . During the pandemic, the library gave children recorders to document the stories of their family members and distributed seeds and groceries to those in need.
For decades, many indigenous peoples in the region have moved away from their culture to assimilate into mainstream Colombian society. This project is helping to change that. “Little by little, our people are falling in love and appreciating who they are as indigenous people,” said Ener Crispin Cáceres, an elder from Kankuamo. In 2017, the library won the National Library of Colombia award and gained international recognition.
The Guardian

3. Italy

An Italian city with a violent past has made a new name for itself by promoting cultural tourism. Mamoiada is in the heart of the island of Sardinia in an area that the Romans once called Barbaria. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mamoiada became infamous for a series of murders related to a family feud. But instead of abandoning the troubled city, where economic opportunities were scarce, residents and local administrators tapped into the region’s cultural assets.

For two years, a local nonprofit worked without pay to revamp the inventory of the small town museum, shifting from traditional local masks known as viseras to artifacts from across the region and creating a cultural center. Then the group teamed up with artisans, wine producers and tour operators to show visitors how local products are made. In 2011 and 2014, two museums opened to showcase the city’s history and archeology. Slowly but surely, Mamoiada has placed itself on the tourist map, allowing new restaurants and inns to open and also benefiting nearby towns.

4. Nigeria

Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters/File

Miners search for gold in fine dust in Anka, Zamfara, Nigeria in 2016. A safety program in the area trained workers to guard against lead exposure.

A mining region in northwestern Nigeria has effectively managed a lead pollution problem. When gold boomed during the financial crisis, small-scale, unregulated mining became an important source of income for rural residents in the mineral-rich but impoverished state of Zamfara. But the gold was processed with few safety precautions, and lead pollution created significant health risks for community members. The crisis came to a head in 2010, when 400 children died of lead contamination in six months, with several hundred deaths in subsequent years.

In response, government officials partnered with three international organizations to improve mining conditions. More than 5,000 local miners and workers have been trained to prevent lead exposure, and new processing sites equipped with showers a few miles from residential areas are helping workers avoid bringing mineral deposits home in the end. of day. Efforts have been complicated by conflict in the region and poverty still limits opportunities for locals beyond mining, but the changes have nonetheless heightened safety standards for miners and their families. There have been no lead poisoning-related child deaths since October 2021.
The Guardian

5. India

Mumbai has become the first city in South Asia to present a roadmap to net zero emissions. The financial megalopolis, home to 19 million people, plans to eliminate or offset all carbon emissions by 2050, two decades ahead of India’s national target. Without intervention, climate change could cost the city $920 million by mid-century, with rising tides flooding informal settlements and fishing villages along the coast.

Civil servants, residents, scientists and businesses have all contributed to Mumbai’s climate action plan, which aims to cut emissions by 30% by 2030 and 44% by 2040, from a baseline of 23.42 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019. In the short term, Mumbai will electrify its public transport and help low-income households install energy-efficient equipment. A full switch to renewables is a more daunting undertaking, with detailed proposals yet to come. But as India’s wealthiest city, Mumbai is perhaps better equipped than other parts of the country to make the transition, thanks to access to investors. For Aaditya Thackeray, environment minister of the state of Maharashtra where Mumbai is located, the reasoning behind the new plan is simple: “We don’t have the luxury of time.

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