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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Climate watch: Your views

David Shukman reporting from Switzerland
BBC World travelled the globe to hear your stories of climate change
Thousands of BBC News website readers have been sending us their personal experiences of climate change.

BBC World TV chose a few. They went all over the world to hear their stories and the BBC's environment correspondent David Shukman brought them together for television and the web.

Here are some of the the stories they heard:


Our climate is definitely changing.

In the summer the temperature is much hotter than normal and the rains have become unpredictable.

The monsoon always used to start in early June, now it can be weeks earlier or even later.

Sometimes it stops altogether.

Gopi Parayil telling his story
Fishermen in Kerala say the sea is getting warmer

This year we have had enough rain and a good harvest but for seven of the last 10 years, the rains stopped early.

Few people have enough savings to see them through a crisis like this.

I grew up in a village on the bank of Nila river. I spent most of my childhood swimming there with friends.

Now, it's like a dying river. Most of the river bed is like a desert.

Near where the river meets the sea, there is so little freshwater that the sea is now flowing up into the river, the groundwater is becoming contaminated.

These used to be fields, but it's impossible to grow rice here anymore.

Fishermen are complaining the sea is getting warmer. They say it's too hot for the fish and their catches are falling.

But it's not just the temperature of the ocean that is changing. Our shoreline is also vulnerable and rising sea levels are a problem.

Sea walls don't seem to help. Every year the sea takes a little more land, destroying or burying the houses in the way.

People living on the shore live their lives in constant retreat from the ocean, few of them have the money to move to safer places inland.

Kerala doesn't contribute much to climate change but we are certainly feeling its effects.

Twenty years ago, one man and his family were suddenly engulfed in water which had actually risen from the sand beneath their feet.

No-one had seen anything like this before.

In the last five years, there have been two more similar freak events.

Although Kerala doesn't contribute much to climate change, we are certainly feeling its effects.

A lot of the people on the front line have low incomes and adjusting to these changes will be challenging.

We need a grassroots movement where we all participate to find ways to make the best of this new situation.


Howard Andrews travelled to Greenland
Mr Andrews spoke to BBC World about climate change in Greenland
In the last 10 to 15 years, the ice in Greenland has deteriorated enormously.

Speaking to the locals who are used to working the land, it is clear how much their environment has changed.

One fisherman told me that in the 1980s, the ice thickness would be two metres at the very least. Now, it's no more than a metre.

He told me stories of when they would cut steps into the ice in order to get to the water to fish.

It might sound as though this change might make life easier but the reality is that if the ice pack in Greenland melts and rolls into the sea, this will have a dramatic effect on sea levels.

Once frozen bay, now flowing water
Three years ago this bay would have been frozen over

Fresh water in the sea will affect salinity levels.

This could affect the currents in the North Atlantic which in turn affects our climate.

Peoples' lives are directly affected by climate change.

It's very real and the affects will be within our lifetime.


Hank Duyverman
Conserving water is now part of everyday life for people like Hank
I would say the last time this area of Adelaide saw a decent amount of water was around 12 months ago.

We have had a bit of rain over the last few days, this has given the land a tinge of green but this just hides the fact that there is no water in the subsoil.

Recently, we went for a 60 day period without any rain at all.

Private gardens have suffered significantly, they are covered in dead plants and dead lawns.

Amenities like local government parks have suffered too. Areas that were once covered in green grass are now more like brown dirt.

Conserving water has become a normal part of life to us here.

You quickly realise everyone can save a few litres here and there every day without any effort at all.

I put a bucket in my shower to collect the water. I then use this water in my garden.

Dry land in Adelaide
Locals believe the land in Adelaide is drier than ever before

Local farmers in a small community called Mallala told me they were optimistic to begin with.

They planted their seedlings and everything seemed to be going well.

All of a sudden, the rain stopped.

It was like the crops lived on air, it's amazing they came to anything at all.

The Kangaroo Creek dam feeds the whole of the metropolitan area of Adelaide. It would normally hold 19,000 mega litres but right now, there's only 6,000 mega litres.

Thirty percent of what we actually need. This is the lowest level recorded in a long time.

Despite everything, I don't believe the situation is all doom and gloom.

I think it's a lesson. We need to be more in tune with conservation, particularly water conservation.

We all play a part in making this environment more sustainable for this generation and that of the future.


Becci Senior
Winter sports will suffer, Becci Senior told BBC World TV
I was sat in my office in the Falcon Hotel, going through the BBC website looking at peoples' comments about climate change.

Out the window, I could see spring flowers on brown fields and I just had to write in to say 'look, it is happening, it's happening here'.

I was reading emails from so many people saying they don't care about the environment. How can you not care? It's everywhere, it's vitally important that we look after it now and then it will look after us.

I've seen an increase in temperatures in winter. There is less snow. Although green grass this time of year is normal, it's been like this the whole season.
Chunks of the mountains are starting to fall off because permafrost is melting.

One glacier near here is retreating by 50 metres a year.

The hikers and the climbers observe these changes. There are certain passes you can't go to anymore because they've collapsed from melting glaciers.

Chunks of the mountains are starting to fall off because permafrost is melting.

We had spring flowers in January. That's unheard of. The grass shouldn't be green at that time of year.
Wengen landscape
This view would normally be covered in snow in winter months

The worst case scenario is that in two decades the temperatures will increase by 1.8% in winter and 2.6% in summer

This would be good for summer trades but in ski resorts, it means the snow will retreat by 250 to 270 metres.

This may not sound a great deal but there is only 800 metres as it is.

A couple of solutions to ski resorts running out of snow is to dismantle lower lifts like the one here and to build higher altitude lifts.

That isn't necessarily going to work - the skiing carves up a lot of the vegetation which causes landslides and that type of thing.
This place heals the soul. You're not stuck in the city with concrete and brick walls, you're seeing nature as it should be.

That's not best solution, there is huge investment in this area - 100 new snow cannons which will provide good snow over higher altitude resorts which is fantastic but they do use an extraordinary amount of water.

The railways are investing 5 million francs into water technology in the next couple of years - a third of their budget on infrastructure, but is it going work?

If its gets worse, the snow cannons will not be able to make snow and chemicals will be added to make snow freeze at warmer temperatures.

It does worry me that it seems to be inevitable now that glaciers will melt.
Mountains of Wengen
A view from higher up the Wengen mountains

I would like to try and stop this happening.

It's so beautiful here, my main concern is that people won't be able to see the beauty of this place if the glaciers melt.

This place heals the soul. You're not stuck in the city with concrete and brick walls, you're seeing nature as it should be. That's how I want my kids to see it.

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