Community-based adaptation to climate change focuses on people and their relationship to the resources around them.

EMG currently works with small-scale farmer organisations and artisinal fishers in exploring how they can build their community's resilience to the impacts of climate change. Together with each group, we try to gain a deeper understanding of the particular impacts of climate change on their lives and livelihoods, explore the questions that concern them, and develop a set of action-research activities they want to pursue. Apart from bringing benefits to the participating groups, the work aims to test and promote an Action Research methodology.

The impetus for some of this work came out of the testimonies made to the Pan-African Climate Change Hearings, hosted by EMG and Oxfam in Cape Town in October 2009. Click here to read the testimonies from South African participants.

West Coast Artisanal Fishers

A group of artisanal fishers in Doringbaai and Lambert's Bay have begun to collect data on their fish catches, the sea and weather conditions and their income.

The fishers are all members of Coastal Links and have enthusiastically embraced the process of building their own stock of knowledge about the near-shore marine eco-system and the potential climate change impacts. Their observations include catches of warm-water fish in their area, regular "swarms" of jelly-fish and storm-surges which threaten their slipway and boathouses. EMG facilitates regular workshops where the fisher's data is discussed and climate change's impact on their livelihoods are explored.

Cape South Coast Artisanal Fishers

The tiny fishing community of Buffeljagsbaai on the Cape south coast is highly dependant on marine and coastal resources and also extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surges. They are keen to learn more about their local coastal ecology and the potential impacts of climate change, so as to be able to build a more sustainable future.

Heiveld Co-operative and the Suid-bokkeveld

Small-scale rooibos tea farmers of the Suid-bokkeveld meet every 3 months to review past climatic conditions, their impacts and what the farmers were able to do to counter-act negative impacts. They also critically assess the Weather Bureau's forward predictions and share with each other what steps they plan to take to minimise the impact on their tea cultivation.

Ericaville Farmers Association

The Ericaville farmers cultiveat organic honeybush tea on their farm near Plettenberg Bay. In recent years they have been plagued by sequential droughts and floods which have devastated their yields. EMGs intervention includes regular workshops with the community, technical advise -- and recently, the installation of a temperature and rainfall recorder to allow for better forward planning.


EMG's work with these 4 community groups is done in partnership with Indigo Development & Change, Masifundise and Coastal Links and is made possible with funding from the DG Murray Trust, Comic Relief UK, and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF)

high res logo smallVisit the National Lotteries Board website to find out about other projects supported bythe NLDTF 



Climate Change - Resources

This easy-to-read, 4-page "beginners guide" to climate change. Climate Change and Global Warming (2011) by Heidee Swanby & Stephen Law, EMG, will tell you all you need to know.
... Ook in Afrikaans - 'n kort-en-kragtig, maklik om te lees stuk Klimaatverandering en Aardverwarming
NEW! NEW! isiXhosa...  Ukutshintsha kwemozulu kunye nesomiso

Want more? Download these Six Facts about climate change... then move on to A brief guide to Global Warming (2007) by Jessica Wilson & Stephen Law (published by Robinson, London). We have no more copies in stock, but it is available from Amazon and Goodreads in hard copy and e-book format.

EMG is part of the consortium responsible for planning, writing and launching this fantastic resource for anyone involved in community-based adaptation work. Participatory Adaptation Handbook : A practitioner's guide for facilitating people centred adaptation to climate change (3.1MB PDF) , and a set of facilitation cards Experiental Learning for Adaptation  (945KB). Alternatively contact us for a hard-copy (R100) while stocks last.

EMG has worked alongside small-scale rooibos farmers of the Suid-Bokkeveld for many years. Download this summary of our work and approach entitled Adaptation with a human face: Lessons learned from an ongoing adaptation and learning process (2012) by Noel Oettle, EMG (380KB) or contact us for a copy of the full report.

Into history? Download this 2-pager summary of the most important scientific and political milestones in the debate.... The Science and Politics of Climate Change - A summary timeline Stephen Law and Jessica Wilson 

These thoughs on how climate change may impact food security, were first presented to a Public Forum 2010 hosted by AIDC

This report was commissioned by Both ENDS, The Netherlands. The title says it all. The social and environmental consequences of coal mining in South Africa: A case study (2010) Victor Munnik, EMG