While America is witnessing rising obesity rates, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world continues to escalate in the Horn of Africa. Some 500,000 children are on the brink of starvation as years of drought have laid waste to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. A drought believed to be a result of rising temperatures and weather disruptions related to climate change. The greatest impact of climate change is on poor and developing countries and small island states. Thus, those least responsible for climate change are suffering it’s greatest impact. Adding to this crisis, food prices continue to rise, especially for corn and wheat, which are central to the diets of poor people in developing countries and in our own towns and cities. Interesting that the movement to create Genetically Modified crops, originally touted as a means of ending world hunger, has actually back-fired as witnessed by crop failures and rising food costs. And the detrimental impact of these GM foods on the health of humans and the environment has yet to be fully realized!
Climate Justice is an approach to eliminating the unequal and inhumane burdens of climate change. It ensures the right of all people to live in healthy, clean and safe environments. Bringing greater balance to the world seems like an idea that is long-overdue. The greatest impact of climate change is severe drought and rising coastal waters with flooding. Huge populations are affected by these conditions with loss of safe drinking water, crops for food, and income produced by local jobs. It is felt that if temperatures rise above 2 degrees celsius, the effects will be devastating. Already, some areas of Africa are experiencing temperatures at 4 degrees celsius.
The production and use of fossil fuels is believed to be at the heart of climate change, with developed countries and industry creating a serious burden on the environment. While the Kyoto Protocol established acceptable, legally-binding emissions targets, most would agree these targets are inadequate, and the US has opted out of compliance! I would also suggest adding the factory farming (CAFO’s) of beef cattle to the burden of emissions. It has been established that ruminants are responsible for large “emissions” of methane gas which create over 50% of greenhouse gases, more than CO2 emissions. And where does most of that beef go? To fast food restaurants of course.
In a recent lecture I attended by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, the need for immediate action was poignantly addressed. Mrs. Robinson is a champion for human rights, as her many achievements demonstrate. (Founder/President of “Realizing Rights:The Ethical Global Initiative”, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, recipient of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders…to name a few) As a result of her extensive experience with human rights work, Mrs Robinson established her own foundation as a vehicle for education and advocacy in securing global justice for victims of climate change, the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice. She is also a member of the prestigious group formed by Nelson Mandela “The Elders“, who work together for peace and human rights.
Robinson cites the following four resources, in order of import, as suffering the greatest impact of climate change:
- Education of Children
There is no doubt that potable water faces the greatest threat on our planet today. The continuing global warming trend resulting from climate change, coupled with high water usage in developed countries, will result in severe water shortages in the next 10 years. This issue alone demands our attention and response.
Mrs. Robinson believes the most important approach to dealing with climate change is education and responsibility. Repeating a familiar phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle“, Robinson emphasizes that we are already very late in responding to this crisis, our efforts are urgently needed now.
So what are you doing TODAY to help prevent continued climate change on our planet? Would you support Climate Justice? And what is your vision for a more balanced world? Your thoughts and comments count!