The devastating effects of climate change are never far from the news headlines, but only when looking at the developing world do we find out the true reality.
Practical Action, a Rugby-based international charity, is working with some of the poorest communities in the world, as they face the devastating effects climate change is already having on their fragile existence.
The world’s poorest are on the frontline of disaster as they are hit by droughts, floods and other extreme weather events. According to Practical Action, this is an injustice because climate change is caused by the richest nations, pumping out excessive emissions. Practical Action’s ‘Stop Climate Injustice’ campaign raises awareness of the link between climate change and poverty. It urges people to lobby MPs and politicians to take urgent action for the sake of the world’s poor.
Communities in the developing world often depend on farming and fishing; the slightest change in the weather can affect their livelihoods. In areas of drought, children spend time collecting water rather than attending school.
Sharon Looremeta, Practical Action’s Kenyan Maasai project officer, told Wembley stadium at the global LiveEarth concert: “My people do not drive four-by-fours or pump out excessive emissions, yet are suffering from the terrible effects of changing climate, making our survival even more difficult.”
Recently, Bangladesh suffered horrific flooding, leading to hundreds of people losing their lives and millions forced to seek shelter elsewhere, living off government and charity handouts. Yet someone watching four hours of television daily for a year in the UK produces the same amount of CO2 as an average person in Bangladesh.
Practical Action is working with people to adapt; from flood resistant housing and ‘floating gardens’ in Bangladesh; to working with Maasai communities in Kenya to diversify livelihoods; and micro-hydro and other low carbon energy schemes in Peru and Nepal.
However Practical Action warns that adaptation alone will not be enough; the international community has a duty to cut emissions if we are to address this moral imbalance. The UK can take a lead on this by implementing a strong Climate Change Bill. As Sharon told the LiveEarth audience: “I have hope; together we can stop climate change getting worse.” Practical Action’s message is very clear; this is a question of justice; those who helped cause climate change must play an important role in cleaning up their mess.
More information about Practical Action’s Stop Climate Injustice campaign can be found at: