Prepare: In this discussion post you will be discussing the role of women in the use and management of water resources. The required readings this week will provide you with a background on climate and how hanges to the hydrological system and the availability of freshwater impacts human health. The following summary will give you a good starting place for answering your discussion post; however, this is a complex issue and you will need to have a detailed understanding of the key factors and consequences of water scarcity before moving into how it disproportionally affects women. This information is also relevant to discussing land degradation and desertification next week.
Although water may appear abundant on Earth, only 2.5% of all water resources are fresh water. However, 70% of that freshwater is frozen in icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland leaving only 30% (0.7% of total water resources) for human consumption (Water, Climate Institute). Of this 30% of water available for consumption, 87% is used for agricultural purposes (Water, Climate Institute). Given these statistics it is easy to see how changes to the hydrological cycle can greatly contribute to water scarcity and impact human health.
As you learned last week climate change is associated with the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere; this affects the hydrological cycle in many ways including changes in precipitation and draught patterns, melting glacial ice, water quality, and increased coastal inundated and wetland loss from sea level rise (Water, Climate Institute). There are also many human factors that contribute to water scarcity including population growth, urbanization, and higher levels of consumption. These changes to the hydrological systems and ultimately the amount of freshwater available for human consumption puts pressure on food systems and creates unpredictable and extreme weather patterns (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (ncdc.noass). As you will see in the movie, India Water Crisis, these weather patterns can lead to flooding which can cause death and destruction to homes, cities, and agricultural crops.
The required report, Gender, Health, and Climate Change, will help you gain a better understanding of how women are often key water users and water managers in their community. For example, droughts and soil erosion disenfranchises farmers in Africa, the majority of who are female. It also impacts hygiene and sanitation which affects maternal health, women’s economic productivity, and girl’s education (Women and Climate Change Factsheet). You will use this information to create a discussion post on how women are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but also how they are often agents of change in their communities. Women constitute the majority of the world’s poor and often depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. Their expertise in using and managing natural and household resources is used in climate change mitigation, disaster reduction and adaptation strategies (Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, 2015).
First, read the following required resources
Then, watch the following video
Reflect: As you read the two articles and watch the video consider the following:
Write: Women as Water Users and Water Managers in Communities
The World Health Organization’s provides numerous case-studies on managing water resources for health on their website: Water, health, and ecosystem: directory of resources. http://www.who.int/heli/risks/water/waterdirectory/en/index1.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. These case studies explore innovative policies and practices that are being implemented around the world.
For this discussion post you will need to find one case study listed on the website and examine how women are not only vulnerable to changes in the hydrological system and water scarcity but how they are also effective agents of change in their communities. In your response, summarize the key issues related to water resources and health discussed in the case study. Then discuss the role of women as stewards of natural and household resources and their role in climate change mitigation and/or adaptation to changing environmental and health situations in their communities.
Guided Response: Your initial post should be at least 300 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts in no less than 100 words by Day 7.
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