The bases of mitigating climate change are: to reduce or eliminate practices that generate greenhouse gases (GHGs) and increase the global temperature of the planet, and to increase reserves of carbon storage so that they are not released into the atmosphere.
In the meantime, adaptation consists of all the actions that individual, group and business must take to adjust to the new conditions of extreme cold or heat, prolonged droughts, intense frost or hail storms, etc. The goal is to no longer see these extreme weather patterns as threats that can cause harm, but to learn to manage them and live with them.
"Both mitigation and adaptation must go hand in hand," said Jonathan Schwars of the United States Agency for International Development's Low Emission Development Project at the Second National Congress on Climate Change held in the city of Quetzaltenango, another department of the Western Altiplano of Guatemala and also being affected by climate change.
In order to know where to mitigate and how to adapt, the threats must first be defined, said engineer Rolando Gómez of FUNDAECO. It’s also imperative that municipal mayors prioritize the conservation of green areas in the urban center, restoration of fragmented areas, and harvesting of rainwater. He added, "The more natural resources are taken into account in mitigation and adaptation strategies, the more environmental services will be provided to the population."
According to Marta Pérez de Madrid, Climate Change Officer of the International Union for Climate Change (IUCN) for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, "municipalities have to be involved from the outset in the processes of adaptation to climate change", because adapting is "making decisions and fostering the solutions that nature gives us and raise the profile of ecosystems as a response to climate change," she explained at a virtual seminar for journalists on Ecosystem-Based Adaptation.
In the 48 cantons of Totonicapán, Guatemala, local leaders are actively involved in the implementation of projects that benefit their communities, including mitigation and adaptation to climate change. They are well organized in five different boards of directors and for one year they carry out community work in favor of their municipality and without payment.
Many people in the rural areas of the 48 cantons of Totonicapán live in poverty and use firewood as the main source of energy in their homes. One of the ways to contribute to the preservation of the natural resources of the community, to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to help improve their living conditions is by using a fuel-efficient stove that reduces consumption of firewood and helps to prevent respiratory diseases, because the kitchens are not filled with smoke.
Together, Ecologic and the Board of Natural Resources of the Ancestral Community Organization of the 48 cantons select the families that receive a fuel-efficient stove.
In order for the beneficiary families to value and take care of their fuel-efficient stove, they must make a contribution consisting of 2 sacks of sand, 20 blocks and 2 sacks of mud, as well as pay for the labor of the assistant mason who builds the stove.
They also commit to participate in reforestation days, environmental awareness talks, and “healthy home” workshops. In a “healthy home” workshop, through demonstrative and experiential methodologies, they are taught from the correct handling of food, to the use, hygiene and maintenance of their new conserving stove.
EcoLogic provides the cement, the bricks, the tubes for the chimney, and the iron where the food will be heated. EcoLogic technicians make regular visits to the homes to evaluate the use and care of each stove. This is they verify that the model constructed in each home is the most appropriate and accepted by the people in the communities.
Follow this link to read Lucy's full story and see a video of Dora, from the canton of Chiyax, who thanks to the help and solidarity of her neighbors managed to obtain a house and a fuel-efficient stove: