Using climate information to protect vulnerable populations in Bangladesh | 12/21/2018 | Staff
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While traveling to Europe, Asia, and Africa as a graduate student, Melody Braun saw the effects that climate change was already having on vulnerable communities, and she realized that she wanted to work closely with these communities. Now she is a senior research staff associate at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia's Earth Institute. She is also one of the six country leads on a project called Adapting Agriculture to Climate Today, For Tomorrow (ACToday), which is led by IRI and supported by Columbia World Projects.

Braun is helping local partners in Bangladesh make more informed decisions by improving their access to and use of climate information. ACToday is introducing state-of-the-art climate information and prediction tools in five other countries as well: Ethiopia, Senegal, Colombia, Guatemala, and Vietnam. It aims to improve the production, translation, dissemination and use of climate information.

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After graduate school and before joining IRI, Braun worked for three years for WorldFish Bangladesh, a research center part of the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) that addresses hunger and poverty issues through aquaculture and fisheries.

At IRI, Braun serves as a liaison between climate science and society. We sat down with her to learn how she helps bridge that gap in communities that are vulnerable to climate change. The conversation has been edited and condensed for space and clarity.

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Q: How did you get inspired to work in the climate change adaptation sector?

A: During my graduate education, I had the opportunity to go to the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009 for a volunteer project. I met with a lot of farmers who had been accredited but could not get inside the conference center because of poor management and lack of space inside the conference center. They were saying, 'We experience climate change...
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