As the climate crisis unfolds it is increasingly pushing people into desperate, but inventive directions.  This fact is apparent in the Sundarban region of southern India and Bangladesh. It is a biodiverse landscape covering a vast area of swamp and mangrove. The region extends to 10,000 square kilometres where the Bay of Bengal meets the land and seeps inward through a network of winding rivers.

It is a place where people have spent generations living alongside water and the rhythm of the seasons. But the Sundarbans are now feeling the force of climate change as it faces regular extreme weather events and the devastating impacts of cyclones. The waters here are rising by an average of over 3 cm a year and storms have increased by 47% in the past decade.

Floating farms
The huge amounts of water coming off the bay during these cyclones deposit an equal amount of salt onto farmland and in groundwater, destroying crops and putting clean drinking supplies at risk. Increased extreme weather is forcing communities into greater conflict with natural wildlife – in an area with a sizeable population of tigers – and leading to greater urban migration. In response, communities are looking at new ways to protect their livelihood and the environment they depend on.

Conventional farming methods in the region are chemically intensive, harm nature and remain at the mercy of rising sea levels. One innovative project is instead seeking to work with the water, lifting farms onto floating platforms which support sustainability and restore community life.