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Bouncing back against all odds: El Salvador and climate change

Jorge, El Salvador fisherman For communities in El Salvador, climate change is an ever-present threat, with some predicting that the country could lose up to 28% of its costal territories to rising sea levels. 

With a constant threat of wave surges and the encroaching ocean, it is very hard for fishermen to fish. 

But Jorge and his community are determined not to let the threat of climate change destroy a livelihood that many families depend on. A fisherman by trade, Jorge lives in a community working on a kitchen garden project supported by Christian Aid’s partner UNES. Little by little they’ve defied the myth that you can’t grow crops on dry land, and have developed an alternative to relying on the sea for their livelihood.

Hope springs from dry earth

With the help of UNES, Jorge’s community has received training on climate-resilient farming techniques, such as making organic and bio-fermenting fertilisers, giving them the opportunity to grow crops in a way that were never thought of before. 

  • We started with very little, but every year we’re still able to produce more.’

Previously, the community used chemical fertilisers, which were expensive, dangerous to health, and bad for the environment. Using natural resources in innovative ways, such as animal manure as an alternative fertiliser and coconut palms as roofs to reduce the impact of the sun, Jorge’s community are successfully growing crops on land that was considered to be barren. The community is now growing over 20 different kinds of crops, including spinach, green peppers and cucumbers. 

Wave surges

In May 2015, huge waves triggered by intense Australian storms hit the Salvadoran coast and in some places pushed 150 metres inland. The waves wiped out homes and have left many people afraid of the sea. 

Thanks to the help of UNES, some communities in El Salvador were able to rapidly mobilise in the face of this emergency. Through constant monitoring of the situation, UNES were able to warn communities in advance, enabling people to prepare for what was to come. UNES also supported communities in the aftermath of the surges, by rebuilding affected homes and teaching groups about the effects of climate change and disaster mitigation. 

Jorge said: ‘We know it’ll continue [the wave surges], but if we’re always supported by UNES, we’ll always be a step ahead.’

Climate change is not something that can be resolved overnight. But with the help of our partners like UNES in El Salvador, communities can make sure they are prepared and adapt to such threats. 

A million ways to tackle climate change

There are a million ways that people are using innovation to cope with the effects of climate change in their communities.

And there are a million things we can do, alongside our partners in El Salvador, to reduce climate change and its effects.

Whether it’s consuming less energy in our daily lives, supporting our sisters and brothers across the world to deal with the consequences, or urging our political leaders to act now – the actions you take do count.

Get involved >Find out what steps you can take.