The Climate Change Issue

22 Apr 2019

Today is Earth Day. It is a day when we can really sit and think about how we can improve the health of our world. The buzz word of the moment is climate change – so how does climate change impact our lives for the future?

The Problem

Climate change is here, and it is not going to be ignored!

The increase in extreme weather events we have witnessed in recent years, i.e. hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires, tsunamis, and cyclones; is wreaking havoc amongst us all – these weather events do not discriminate. Studies have shown that although these severe weather events affect everyone it is often the poorest who suffer most, and more often than not it is the developing countries who are severely affected.

Livelihoods are being disrupted as food supplies are being threatened, homeowners are forced to relocate – causing families to separate –  this is the reality we live in. 1.3 billion people earn a living from agriculture however, deforestation has made it so the soil is not fertile enough to yield the enough for them to live on. The families are now experiencing water shortages as well – leading to a vicious cycle of hunger and extreme poverty (living on less than $1.90 a day).

A UN report regards “Climate change is among the leading causes of rising global hunger. Gases, such as methane and CO2, are trapping the heat in our atmosphere causing the temperatures to continuously rise at a worryingly fast rate.

Reality Check

The problem will not be fixed until we accept that we have a hand in the reality that faces us in the very near future. The reality is not real enough to us for it to make a difference in our lives now, but what world are we leaving our children, nieces, and nephews to inherit? A world where one cyclone can displace 2+ million people, death toll unknown, devastating 3 countries. Countries that were already suffering from poverty, extreme temperatures, unsafe water supply.

As I am writing this a group called extinction rebellion are protesting for change in a world that is so caught up on Brexit that they are paying little to no attention to suffering of millions of people who, through no fault of their own, are living through drought, hurricanes, floods, extreme rise in temperatures as well as displacement – increasing the refugee crisis.

Many of those who suffer most are from the poorest countries – Oxfam stated that “people in poorer countries are at least 5 times more likely to be displaced by the after-effects of extreme weather”.

One protestor was heard remarking “There is something very serious happening to our planet and we cannot continue the way we have been up to this point.”

ADRA-UK Responds

And indeed we cannot, that’s why ADRA-UK, as part of the global ADRA network, we help through the programmes we run in various countries – Zimbabwe, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Rwanda – such as our project on renewable energy in Somalia (Somali Energy Transformation project), which came to an end in March 2018, or our ongoing climate-smart agriculture (CSA) project in Eswatini (ELIVES).

We saw a need in Somalia, where more than 95% of the rural population had no access to energy – a total of 39,800 households and 100 small businesses benefited from the project. By promoting access to modern energy services in rural and peri-urban Somalia we were also able to help fight climate change through providing community electrification, solar water pumps in health facilities and schools; solar cook stoves.

We are currently working in Eswatini, Swaziland, a country that suffered a severe drought in 2016 causing severe food shortages. 400 smallholder farmers (295 women) are being trained in climate-smart agriculture and post-harvest management skills to enhance food security in Lubombo (which is drought-prone) and Shiselweni regions. The project will support the production of drought-tolerant crops, including sorghum, sweet potatoes, and cowpeas. As an added bonus 8,000 school children are also benefiting from vegetables grown in school gardens used in school meals.

How you can help

The programmes we deliver and projects we are able to run is only possible because of you. Your continued support has helped change the lives of many farmers who had no hope of being able to provide for their families, and given mothers the knowledge required to provide the nourishment required so they can build a sustainable future for themselves.