Incremental Learning and Gradual Changes: “Science Field Shops” as an Educational Approach to Coping Better with Climate Change in Agriculture

Incremental Learning and Gradual Changes: “Science Field Shops” as an Educational Approach to Coping Better with Climate Change in Agriculture

Yunita Triwardani Winarto (Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia) and Kees/Cornelis Johan Stigter (Agromet Vision, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 36
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8764-6.ch004
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Abstract

The environmental consequences of climate change in agriculture have been degrading farmers' livelihood and welfare because of their inability to cope with the unusual risks and livelihood crises due to climate change. However, state policies addressing farmers' needs to develop their coping mechanism towards the unusual consequences of climate change have not been defined appropriately. To continue relying on their conventional ways of farming would not effectively help them to survive in the midst of unusual weather conditions. A long-term educational commitment to improve farmers' agrometeorological learning is urgent. The authors present their inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborative works in providing climate services to farmers through Science Field Shops. Improving farmers' anticipation capability has been carried out through various means of learning. The authors describe the incremental learning process and the gradual changes the farmers in Indramayu Regency have gone through since 2010.
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Introduction

Various parties in Indonesia have great concerns regarding the environmental consequences of climate change, notably including the agricultural environment. These worries, however, extend to people’s degrading livelihood and welfare as a whole because of their inability to cope with the unusual risks and livelihood crises due to climate change (e.g., Fox, 2014; Stigter, 2011a; Stigter, 2014; Winarto & Stigter, 2011). It has also been found that some local knowledge systems to predict weather and climate patterns were becoming unreliable, and that traditional emergency preparedness systems need to be adapted to accommodate the unprecedented contemporary climate change (Crate, 2011; Zuma-Netshiukhwi, Stigter, & Walker, 2013). The challenge is how to assist local people appropriately in such increasing variability and vulnerabilities. This article examines a collaborative effort between scientists and farmers to find a more appropriate approach to assist farmers to cope better with climate change, increasing their climate resilience (Winarto & Stigter, 2011). The authors argue that bringing new knowledge to farmers, to increase their understanding of the ongoing changes of climate and their consequences for their own habitat, must address the ways farmers learn incrementally. Shifting their conventional farming strategies gradually into more adaptive ones of responding to uncommon changes needs an ongoing dialogic knowledge exchange between farmers and scientists and among farmers themselves (Stigter & Winarto, 2012a). This should include extension intermediaries where they got thoroughly trained on climate change and other environmental issues (Stigter & Winarto, 2013b). Farmers are the active observers and learners (see Winarto & Stigter, 2013a, 2013b). The authors’ collaborative efforts in developing farmers’ agrometeorological learning through “Science Field Shops” (SFSs) reveals their incremental learning and the gradual changes of their mind and their practices in response to climate change.

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