Global warming and local action

February 27, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 02:07 am IST

Technology can help not just the farmer, but also research institutions in sharing knowledge, says Nancy Anabel of M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)

The fag end of February is a good time to wonder why it felt so much like June. Why daytime temperatures averaged at 35 degree Celsius in Tiruchi (according to in a month meant to be the dregs of winter.

The point about global warming, is well, that it is global, and therefore as local as it gets. But we seem to be more comfortable living in an air-conditioned bubble where the Earth’s rising temperature is always happening ‘somewhere else’.

Making space for discussing climate change and learning how to adapt to it are just some of the goals of Chennai-based M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) that held a media workshop on the issue in Tiruchi recently. Organised in collaboration with research body ClimaAdapt, the February 23 event explored ways in which print and electronic media in the region could place the effects of global warming in a local context. Nancy J. Anabel, director, Information, Education and Communication (IEC), MSSRF, spoke to MetroPlus about on a range of issues affecting the State’s farming community.


Tell us about IEC and your work in Tiruchi district

MSSRF has six programmes, of which one is Information, Education and Communication, by which we are using multiple technologies to give demand-driven knowledge down to the last mile in rural pockets.

We work in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Maharashtra and Kerala, focusing on agriculture, fisheries, animal husbandry, health and education.

When we started in 1992, technology was not used to change lives and livelihoods of the farming community. People didn’t have any means to get timely information so that they could take informed decisions.

We were among the earliest organisations to prove the transformative power of information communication technology. Then Professor Swaminathan, who pioneered this project, took his ‘Mission 2007: Every Village a Knowledge Centre’ to the national level, where it was renamed as Grameen Gyan Abhiyan.

Currently we are working with agencies to help people adapt to climate change in Tamil Nadu, Andhra and after bifurcation, Telangana. Everybody has tried to solve this issue in isolation, even though it is a task that requires lot of integration between various departments.

This project aims at bringing about changes in the rural areas specifically in increasing water use efficiency. Since water is getting scarce, we have taken up research in water-rich and drought-prone areas.

When we started in 1992, technology was not used to change lives and livelihoods of the farming community

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