Tag Archives: climate change

World Environment Day

Did you know that many islands such as the Maldives are likely to disappear below rising sea levels during our children’s lifetime? This Thursday, 5th June 2014, join thousands of people across the planet doing their bit for the planet and to protect it for future generations.

What is WED?

World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations Environmental Programme’s main push to encourage worldwide awareness of the problems facing our beautiful and precious planet and a call to action. Over the past few years the movement has grown in size, popularity and power and it now reaches across the globe, mainly though social and traditional media. It also serves as a ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, hopefully leading to lots of individuals, businesses and organisations doing something for good and becoming a collective power that creates a strong and positive impact on the planet.

Small Islands and Developing Nations Under Threat:

“Planet Earth is our shared island, let us join forces to protect it” declared UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the launch of the 2014 International Year of Small Islands and Developing States. Small islands and developing nations are those places most at threat from environmental disaster, mainly due to climate change and rising sea levels. There will be the Third International Conference on SIDS in September and WED is being used to encourage a greater understanding of the urgent need to help protect these islands in the face of growing risks and vulnerabilities. Ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising and the oceans are becoming more acidic killing off vital marine life. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes and tropical cyclones are more frequent and severe. This winter’s floods in the UK were appalling but we can survive them and eventually rebuild our lives. On small islands and in poor developing nations the chances of surviving let alone rebuilding are much slimmer.

Call to Action:

This Thursday is the day to make your voice heard by governments and organisations around the world.  The challenge this year is to recognize that we all face the same challenges and are connected and united by our common goal of a sustainable and prosperous life for all on this planet. The call is to raise our voices in solidarity with one another, particularly with the citizens of the small island states who lack the economic and political clout that we are lucky to have here in the UK. Many ideas being shared include clean up campaigns, food waste reduction initiatives, walk-to-work days, plastic bans, art exhibits, tree-planting drives, concerts, dance recitals, recycling drives, social media campaigns and different contests to name but a few. Remember that every action counts no matter how small. The effects of our actions can ripple out either as awareness, education or action itself and when multiplied on a global scale the result can be huge in its impact.

So what will you be doing?

You can spread the word through social media. Last year, World Environment Day was one of the top 10 most tweeted topics on Twitter. This year, make your voice heard together with the millions who will show their solidarity for the islands, climate change and the environment.  Raise your voice not the sea level!

You can make a public pledge to reduce energy consumption, shop locally, eat seasonally, reduce plastic bags and packaging when shopping, shop second-hand, recycle and reduce landfill, conserve water(share a bath!), become a paperless office, grow your own, make your own, walk to work/school, and much, much more, although maybe not all at once! There are all sorts of interesting events going on around the world from school recycling days to trash fashion shows, 10k races to concerts. In Kenya the Kiribati forest was the location of tree planting activities done together by NGOs, UN employees and local government representatives and other tree planting is going on across Africa.

If you want to show solidarity with the UN’s environmental campaign to save our planet and to support our fellow man under threat from climate change then you can organise an event, make a personal pledge or spread awareness around through social media. It all helps. Register your participation on the website at http://www.unep.org/wed/. You can join a celebrity on their challenge or make up your own challenge, it’s up to you!

Posted by Ruth Bolton

 

 

Climate Change Meeting in Africa

01 December 2011.  African leaders are at this very moment engaged in talks in Durban, South Africa about climate change and its effects on not just Africa but the world. The UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) encompasses 194 countries. The talks are to continue for 12 days with the aim of finding a solution and discussing methods of dealing with future problems resulting from climate change.

South African President Jacob Zuma attended the initial talks and said:  “For most people in the developing world and Africa, climate change is a matter of life and death. We are always reminded by the leaders of small island states that climate change threatens their very existence. Recently the island nation of Kiribati became the first country to declare that global warming is rendering its territory uninhabitable. They have asked for help to evacuate the population,” he said.

The problem is that Africa is much more vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to widespread poverty which severely limits the means to deal with floods, droughts, crop failure etc. Zuma himself noted that agricultural output in many African countries is expected to decrease by as much as 50% by the year 2050, which will cause serious food shortages. This in turn leads to volatile political situations with displacement of populations and huge numbers of refugees in turn adding increased pressure on limited resources in neighbouring countries. Such is the case at the moment in Kenya with the severe drought in Somalia. South Africa has had some extreme weather conditions leading to severe flooding which can affect the country but they are luckier in being in a better position than most African nations.

President Zuma called for a re-affirmation of the Kyoto Protocol and activating the Green Climate Fund.  “The expectation is that you must work towards an outcome that is balanced, fair and credible,” the President said. “We also feel strongly that as an African Conference of the Parties, the COP 17 outcome must recognise that solving the climate problem cannot be separated from the struggle to eradicate poverty.”

South  Africa is making an effort in the global programme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they have committed to reducing carbon emissions by 34% in 2020 and by 42% in 2025, but that it would only be attainable with strong financial and technical support from developed countries.

We need to keep the issue of climate change at the forefront of people’s minds. Even during this time of economic recession we all have a responsibility to be careful and remember our impact on the developing world.