The Impact Of Climate Change On Cambodia


23 Mar 2015 17 May 2017

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Cambodia is one of the countries on the mainland of Southeast Asia. Cambodia is 181,035 square kilometer in total area, and the total number of population is nearly 14 million in 2008. Cambodia shares the border with the three countries in Asia such as Thailand, Lao People's Democratic Republic, and Socialist of Vietnam and about 6400 kilometer in total border.

Actually, 80 percent of the total populations are farmers. They grow crops, especially rice paddy, for daily use in the families and sale the surplus products to the market places to earn money for the future needs. Besides the doing agriculture, people are usually work for other people either in the rural or in the urban to make money for the families. These kinds of jobs are commonly about building, garment sectors, electricians and so on. In addition, Cambodia is one of the countries has the tropical monsoon in the region in which classify the climate in Cambodia into two different seasons respectively, the dry season and the rainy or wet season. Actually, the dry season in Cambodia commonly starts from the month of November to the month of April; and the rainy or wet season start from the month of May until the month of October, to which provide easy going for Cambodian people in doing agriculture. In fact, they can do the agriculture more than one per year.

However, since there was a change in climate, most of fields in Cambodia were not usable for growing such a crop, rice paddy. Actually, in order to make it easier, we should firstly understand what the term of climate change is. The answer is that climate change is one of the most concerning global issues that have severe impacts on human securities. It is truly a long term change of climate in a specific areal or locations or we can say that climate change is the increasing of temperature on the earth that we commonly cannot see through our naked eyes. Obviously, such a dangerous issue, global warming, is not take place incidentally. There are always the factors that encourage or facilitate it to take place. In order to make this topic easier, I would raise two major factors that cause to the changing of climate; those factors are the human's activities and from the natural activities.

First of all, all human's activities always affect to the environment either on the large scale or in the small scale. For example, greenhouses gases are the major actor that cause to the to the change climate. What is a greenhouse gas? Greenhouse gas is gas that happened by the construction of greenhouse. Actually, the people who are living in the cold areas have not access to grow crops and vegetable as usual. Therefore, the constructions of greenhouses are inevitable for them. Scientifically, the greenhouses are built to trap the sun's heat for growing crops. Obviously, not all the heat that trapped by the greenhouse returns to the atmosphere. Therefore, it keeps warm in the houses, and it is usable for growing crops. However, these kinds of heat will lead to change of climate or called global warming. Another factor that human's activities cause to the change of climate is the wealthy of the people. Actually, when people become wealthier, they would change their behavior of consumption of goods or services to the new products to facilitate their daily living standard. For a real example, in order to make lives more comfortable, people use modern equipment such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and cool agents, and so on. Actually, these kinds of equipment are the main factors that exploit to the environment because of the chemical substances inside are dangerous to the environment that we usually called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It is actually the main substance that exploits the ozone layer. What is ozone layer? Scientifically, the ozone layer is layer that can be found in the atmosphere about 30 kilometers above the earth surface. It plays a very crucial role in keeping the earth not so hot, for most of Ultra Violet (UV) is absorbed by the ozone layer. Therefore, the temperature on the earth surface will be cool. In contrast, what will happen if the ozone layer is exploited? Scientifically, when ozone layer is lost, the large amount of Ultraviolet will go directly to the earth. Therefore, the temperature will be increasing on the earth.

Another factor that people do affect to the climate change is through the cutting a large amount of the tree or we call deforestation. As we can see that, forest is the main actor and plays a very significant role in keeping temperature on earth cool. Actually, most of the carbon dioxide (CO2), a main actor in increasing the temperature, is usually absorbed by the trees, and the trees convert such a bad substance to Oxygen (O2) to which useful for human beings. Moreover, forest also plays a very important role in balancing the number of carbon dioxide. However what will happen when a large about of the forest is cut down? Actually, when the number of population increases, their demands for daily lives also increase. Therefore, they have to cut down the forest for building house, to make land usable for growing crops. Scientifically, when the trees were cut or burned down, the carbon dioxide will immediately go back to the atmosphere. Obviously, Carbon dioxide is the main actor that helps accelerate the processing of trapping the sun's heat. When there is a large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the temperature will be hotter and hotter.

The second major factor that cause to the climate change is through the natural activities. First of all, I would raise the case of forest fire. Forest fire sometimes happen when the temperature in the forest is hot or when there is lightning. Scientifically, Carbon dioxide is easily backed to the atmosphere when there is getting involved with the fire. Obviously, forest fire may take long time, so the number of Carbon dioxide that releases to the atmosphere will be larger. Therefore, the temperature on the earth will gradually increase. Another factor that cause to the climate change is the eruption of volcanoes. When there is eruption, the environment in the region will be polluted. In fact, the smoke from the eruption consists of toxic substances that affects to the environment such as gases, carbon dioxide, and sulphur oxide and aerosol.

Most interestingly, climate change has severe impact on human being around the world, especially for the people living in the developing countries. Obviously, for most the developing countries like Cambodia is not a main factor that cause to the climate change. However, Cambodia is still affected by the changing of climate on the same level as the main contributors. Specifically, Cambodian people are facing some problems under climate change.

First of all, people in some provinces in Cambodia have no access to grow crops, especially rice paddy. There are drought and flood in the provinces to which delay people from growing crops. For example, Kampong Speu is one of the provinces in Cambodia that experienced in drought. People find it hard in growing any kind of crops because of the drought. It was difficult to plough the field because the soil is too dry. At the same time, the land became unusable, infertile, for crops to grow. Therefore, a large number of people immigrated to the city to look for jobs. Some people immigrated to the third countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and currently Korea to earn for the families that are waiting for their money. Another example that affected by the climate change is that for some provinces such as Prey Veng and Kampong Cham experienced in flooding. In fact, people in these two provinces usually do the agriculture during the rainy season, in September of the year. Because there was flood in the rice field for long time, people late in practicing in agriculture. Therefore, they have to wait until water become lower. Obviously, the late of doing agriculture may cause many problems for the farmers such as there is not enough water for the rice to grow, there are pests that eat and exploit the rice stalk and the field becomes infertile. As a result, many people immigrated from the provinces to work in the city. Actually, when large numbers of people keep going to the city, it would make the city unstable and difficult for the government to take control.

Similarly, climate change also affected to the human security in Cambodia for a few consequences. First, most Cambodian people, especially to the young people under the age of five, are affected by the diseases. Obviously, most of Cambodian people, especially the people who are living in the rural areas, are depending on the water from the nature sources such as rivers, lakes, ponds, and stream and so on. When there is a changing in climate, it causes the quality water in those sources become shallow the water become more polluted. When people took the water to use for cooking, drinking, and washing, they were affected by this factor, especially for the young people, because they had a weak anti-bacterial system in their bodies. Moreover, one of the most serious diseases that have severe impact on the young people was diarrhea. Statistically from the Ministry of Health of Cambodia, around 12,500 Cambodian people die per year.

Because of the bad impact of the climate change in Cambodia, both state and non-state actors have found out new strategies and solutions in reducing the serious effects of the climate change. First, non-state actors are playing a very crucial role in fighting against the climate change. Actually, there are a few strategies that non-state actor such as NGOs practicing to reduce the climate change's effects. Initially, NGOs are trying to promote education system for the poor people who are living in the rural areas in Cambodia. They believe that educational system is key role that help people escape from the poverty. When people become literate, they will stop cutting down the forest. They will change their perception of cutting down forest and think about important factors of forest for lives for lives to live harmoniously, for it helps reducing the effects of climate change. At the same time, they may look for other jobs that can also make money for their families such as ecotourism. Another strategy that NGOs in Cambodia help reducing the effects of climate change, they promote reforestation for people living in the rural areas. Actually, if people want to cut down a tree, they have to grow another to for the future use. When the people keeping practicing this strategy, there will be a stability of forest in Cambodia and climate change will gradually be reduced.

Similarly, Royal Government of Cambodia is trying very hard in looking for the solution that can deal with the effect of climate change on Cambodia citizens. First thing that the government of Cambodia uses to reduce the effects of climate change is conservation of forest. They try to keep the amount of forest cover to about 60 percent by promoting on both private and public institutions to reforestation. It is one of the affective ways to cope with the expansion of the climate change. Second, the government keeps their eyes on community forestry. Obviously, community forestry helps preventing from any kind of illegal deforestation and land enlargement activities. Finally, in order to make the awareness of Cambodian people, especially for younger generation, the government of Cambodia has inserted the subject of climate change to the formal study subjects. The government wants people to be aware of the climate change and what are the strategies that help protect the environment.

In conclusion, climate change totally affected to everyone one round the world. Although a country such as Cambodia was not the main contributor to the climate change, the effects of climate change still affected on Cambodia on the level as the main contributor once. The climate change causes the rice fields in Cambodia became infertile and did not usable for growing rice. Also, a large number of people moved from the rural areas into the city to look for any job to support their families. Moreover, diseases were taken place under the effects of climate change. However, climate change was immediately responded by the two actors, state and non-state actors, NGOs. Both played very important role in reducing the effects of climate change respectively. Finally, if these two main actors standstill on their commitment, I optimistically believe that the word climate change will gradually be eliminated and the environment will be as normal as the ancient time before there was getting involve by word climate change.


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