The following interview with Mr. Minh Ny concerns the local effects of climate change in his community in Sandan district, Kampong Thom Province.
Where do you see climate changes in your local community?
I see climate changes in the whole area. Especially the district of Sandan suffers greatly from these changes, now more than ever before. We experience big floods when it is not rainy season and when it is rainy season there is no rain at all. The weather is very hot and humid all the time, back in the day we did not experience that.
Can you describe the change you have seen happening in your community since you were a child?
When I was a child we had regular seasons. There was dry season, rainy season and everything was much easier back then. Now we cannot count on the rain to fall or the drought to come, and this is not good for our farming and the crops. The flood is bigger than before and it destroys crops and vegetables. These changes affect our animals as well. In the village we experience people getting strange diseases which take long to recover from, that did not happen earlier on.
What are your concerns for the future in terms of the climate changes you see?
I am very concerned for my community. Especially, I am concerned because of the strange diseases caused by the flood and drought. Many people have died because of this and it worries me a lot. This is primarily caused by the deforestation of the forest, we lose the forest and its wildlife and this is a disaster for the environment. We rely on the forest and the crops because we need to grow rice to make a living. We have to grow the rice when it is still dry season, but now we cannot count on the seasons. This has consequences for the economy of the families living in the local communities.
What are your hopes for the future?
My hope for the future is for the government to take serious action against deforestation and mine exploration. This causes severe environmental damage. If the government does not take action, it will get worse and worse. We need to stop the cutting of trees and stop allowing companies to trade with wood from the forest. We need to educate local communities on how to do the farming in a healthy way without using damaging chemicals.
In your opinion – what does it take to change this? And who is responsible for changing it?
In my opinion the government is responsible for everything. They have the resources to take action and protect the forest and the environment. They have access to educate people about sustainability and healthy environment. It is not their fault that they have no education, and they sometimes do things which may have a bad effect on the environment, but they need to survive and they are not educated well enough to know about it. The government has all the resources to stop this damage to the environment.