After Global Warming Hits Vietnam: “We Live Better Now”

(p. A9) On a chilly January day recently, Do Van Duy slugged back another shot of rice liquor. It had been a good year for raising fish in the Red River delta of northern Vietnam. He and other villagers in Nam Dien had gathered to toast their success as the Lunar New Year approached–and question whether climate change is such a bad thing after all.
“We live better now,” said Mr. Duy, 31 years old, who now farms grouper, shrimp and crab in the brackish waters of the delta after giving up rice a few years ago. “If you can make the switch there’s a lot more money to be made.”
Nearly three-quarters of households in Nam Dien have abandoned rice farming, said Bui Van Cuong, a fisheries official with the People’s Commune in Nam Dien, as salt water flows farther into the delta’s farmland. “The changes are very apparent over the past 10 years,” Mr. Cuong said.
The shift is focusing attention on a difficult question: Is it better to invest resources in fighting the effects of climate change, or in helping people adapt?
. . .
“Their competitive advantage is changing,” said Le Anh Tuan, a director at the Institute for Climate Change Studies at Can Tho University. “The delta might not always be the best place to grow rice, but people can raise shrimp instead.”

For the full story, see:
JAMES HOOKWAY. “Vietnam’s New Tack in Climate Fight.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., Feb. 25, 2016): A9.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has title “Vietnam Tries New Tack in Climate-Change Battle: Teach a Man to Fish.”)

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