Fighting against climate change: not without or against the poorest

Everybody knows that the fight against extreme poverty and the fight against climate change are linked.

It is the poorest people that suffer most from the consequences of climate disruption (although their carbon footprint is the lowest). However, there is less awareness that they are sometimes also the victims of the measures taken to combat global warming.

What do you think? Let us know about your experiences and views by leaving a comment...

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9 comments for this discussion

The Rural Organisation for Social elevation (R.O.S.E) in Kanda is still working at a grassroots level appealing to the community to become active participants in developing a better life for themselves.

Our projects in eco and rural development maintains cultural integrity and an ecological balance. We promote organic farming by using traditional methods such as composting. We want to save the planet through eco development and to reduce poverty through small village livelihood practice such as farming, vegetable growing, poultry and goat rearing. These activities help to make the soil fertile and uses less water which help us to conserve water.

Jeevan V., India

The recent deluge of rains and floods has taught us lessons which should adhered to for our well being. We have learnt about compassion and supporting each other during this crisis.

Most importantly about how not to mess with nature, yes, we have stolen away water bodies and converted them into mansions, property holdings and dump yards.

Water bodies could be a lake or a pond. We adore and worship the manifestation of nature yet when nature comes close to us, we abuse it.

Our NGO Shabnam Resources which works in the Tiruvallur and Chennai districts usually works for the welfare of disadvantaged children.

Recently they created a new campaign project. Team members along with other volunteers took it upon themselves to clean, enhance and bio-shield water bodies in and around the city.

Six waterbodies at Singalchery and Salikuppam have benefited. A total of 150 people have taken part. Children have been picking up pieces of plastic garbage. We want to plant trees and protect these areas of water bodies from any onslaught of encroachment and neglect. We want to stop the dumping of waste.

Michael H., India

Shabnam Resources

To our friends of the Fourth World

We are a learning circle of four ladies. We send you greetings from Klipheuwel, a small, mostly informal settlement in the wine, wheat and cattle farming district between the towns of Malmesbury and Durbanville in the Western Cape, a province of South Africa.

Thank you for your e-mail dated 7 December 2015 about global warming. We have been discussing the issues and would like to share our thoughts with you.

Firstly, we notice that our world is changing. We experience discomfort in the increased heat. It feels as though even the air is hotter than normal. South Africa is experiencing a drought but we also see a shift of rainfall patterns. We would like to sleep outside because our houses are very hot and uninsulated but drug addicts threaten us so we remain indoors. We feel a strange restlessness.

Secondly, we are dismayed because our landscape is littered with plastic. We don’t want to add to this problem of plastic everywhere. We are starting to re-use plastic bread bags because the food we sell needs to be packaged. Recycling provides us with packaging which we cannot go and buy from faraway suppliers. This does not solve the litter problem and we are using the attention of politicians and social development officials prior to the upcoming elections to raise concerns and mobilize the community. We really want to address the litter issue and we are engaging with authorities on the issue. Thirdly, we are very conscious of water wastage. It rains less and when it does rain, there is not much rain. We long for the winters with long days of soft rain, but things are changing. We try to water fruit trees and vegetables with water that we have used for washing in our houses.

Finally, and most importantly, through our learning circle and increasing knowledge we are finding a loud and convincing voice. Our voices are our lives. We are living parsimoniously and wisely, not because we do not have much, but because we wish to conserve and respect the Earth. We are the change in our community.

We look forward to hearing from others who, like us, are making the small plans that collectively will help the Earth. We are eager to hear of plans others are making.

Regards Anna, Melonie, Mynie and Rhoda

South Africa

The poorest populations in Bangladesh are those most affected by the effects of climate disruption. As a matter of fact, rural populations, and most notably poor coastal populations, unwittingly find themselves on the front line when flooding or deadly cyclones arise. Coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion further marginalize rural families who see their productive agricultural lands disappear.

But far from being passive victims, many Bangladeshi people try to set up survival strategies or adaptation strategies against climate change. Those who can afford it migrate to cities or to the capital Dhaka (where many of them will have to crowd into urban slums), or to neighboring India.

Monica J., France/Bangladesh

In this spirit, I'm writing to let you know that CADF is preparing a nursery of more than 9,000 ornamental seedlings which will contribute to a reforestation program run by farmers. This will allow people living in extreme poverty to profit from the sale of these ornamental plants to more affluent communities. It will also contribute to the absorption of greenhouse gases (CO2). This modest participation is also a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals to have a more responsible and sustainable planet. I am attaching some pictures of the ornamental trees in the nursery which also helps to raise awareness and support the farmers.

Dieudy M.,

Saving the Life of a Child is our Solemn Duty


Democratic Republic of the Congo

I am extremely sorry for the late reply as I was stuck in floods for several days! Chennai has had no electricity, no tower and water logging. The trains and buses was not functioning and the airport was closed for 3 continuous days and the normal life of the people was affected! And yet for the past two days Chennai is regaining its condition due to lots of help from NGOs and volunteers! And yet situations like this prove the unity amongst citizens as everyone started helping each other.

The people who lived below poverty line face the extreme impact as they are without houses and food! Bhagya Paribartana Foundation (BPF) team are helping as much as possible!

Regards, Sirisha JP, India

"Still a few years ago a Cameroonian rural farmer could say with precision that the rainy season begins in August and ends in November and the dry season goes from mid-November to mid-March. Nowadays we wait indefinitely for rain."

Blaise N., Cameroon

In the case of Peru, of the 215 social conflicts reported by the Ombudsman for August of this year, 142, or 66.7%, were rooted in problems related to the environment. Similar trends have been found in other countries in the region. In the case of Peru, these conflicts are concentrated in the poorest regions, those dependent on subsistence agriculture, which are the most affected by the negative effects of climate change."

Alberto D., Peru

"The Housing Authority used Katrina to push more and more poor people out of New Orleans. A senator said, “What we have not been able to do (demolish the four housing projects), God did for us.”

Maria V., United States