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Environment

With Climate Change and Poverty, who is suffering the most?

– by Sophie James

 

Everyone living on planet earth is affected by climate change. It has got to the point where we cannot stop it, just prevent it from happening sooner.

Climate change is affecting people in poverty because according to geoscience and international affairs Professor Michael Oppenheimer, it makes it harder for people to escape of poverty and makes “poverty pockets” in rich and poor countries.

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They are already not getting enough nutrition, but with the weather conditions suddenly changing, more will be starved of the nutrients they need to survive.

Director of the Red Cross, Maarten van Aalst, said that he was already seeing that the people who are being hit the hardest by weather disasters are the poor. He goes on to say in The Guardian, “It’s the poor suffering more during disasters, and of course the same hazard causes a much bigger disaster in poorer countries, making it even poorer.”

It has got to the point where we cannot stop it, just prevent it from happening sooner.

What is even more scary is that the number of natural disasters between 2000 and 2009 has risen 3 times more than in 1980s. “The growth is almost entirely due to ‘climate-related’ events” Aalast states.

On the landfill there is every imaginable type of refuse, from kitchen scraps to animal parts, plastic, old film strips, broken ceramics, fabric. The diverse army of scavengers?billions of insects, a herd of cows, men, women and children?all move constantly toward the top of the pile with every new truck load. The pickers work the pile using home fashioned picks to move useless garbage aside in their hunt for anything reusable, recyclable, saleable?clothes, shoes, plastic, human hair...There is no such thing as a safety zone here. If you are talking to your friends, you are ripe for getting run over. Full attention is required?the dump trucks could bury you, the bulldozer could run over you, the pile, spongy and hollow in places, could consume you.

In landfill, there is every imaginable type of refuse, from kitchen scraps to animal parts, plastic, old film strips, broken ceramics, fabric. The diverse army of scavengers – billions of insects, a herd of cows, men, women and children – all move constantly toward the top of the pile with every new truck load. The pickers work the pile using home fashioned picks to move useless garbage aside in their hunt for anything reusable, recyclable, or saleable – clothes, shoes, plastic, human hair… There is no such thing as a safety zone here.

If you are talking to your friends, you are ripe for getting run over. Full attention is required – the dump trucks could bury you, the bulldozer could run over you, the pile, spongy and hollow in places, could consume you. These people are the least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions, yet because of climate change it is changing the way they hunt for food and life with the resources they have survived with for years.

As World Bank writes, a 25-year survey of households in India’s Andhra Pradesh found that 14 percent of households were able to escape poverty while 12 percent of households became impoverished; of those who slid into poverty, 44 percent cited weather events as a cause.

There are a lot of ways the government is trying to help people living in poverty and in the mist of the climate change crisis. Carbon pricing is one of those ways, and is set out to provide support and help for people living in all different kinds of poverty and help them with energy costs.

Unfortunately, though they do barely anything in terms of contributing to climate change, it is the poor that are suffering it, as if they did not have enough to worry about.

 

Photo credits: news.yale.edu, rippleeffectimages.org, youtube.com

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