Charity gives firsthand examples of climate chaos

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Sciaf is leading the charge for the Scottish Government to take strong action

1st September 2017 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) is leading calls for tough action on climate change.

The charity has firsthand experience of the devastating effects of changing climate across the world – from droughts to severe flooding.

It has launched a campaign asking for the government to set tougher targets in the upcoming climate change bill.

Sciaf director Alistair Dutton said: “We know that droughts, floods, hurricanes and typhoons happen more often now and they’re becoming more severe, costing lives, health and livelihoods. It is essential that we take this chance to play our part and really show people around the world that Scotland cares.”

A consultation on the bill – which includes increasing a cut in emissions to 90% by 2050 – runs until 22 September. Sciaf is calling for the government to commit to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a reduction of 77% by 2030.

The charity has produced a new policy report revealing their findings from across the world.

El Salvador

Dr Ricardo Navarro is the founder of El Salvador’s largest environmental NGO and SCIAF’s partner CESTA (Salvadoran Centre for Appropriate Technology). An engineer by training, Dr Navarrohas led the fight for climate justice in his home country and abroad .

“In El Salvador, climate change is already killing people. In the last decade we’ve seen a huge increase in floods, droughts, storms and hurricanes and we’re expecting it to get even worse, affecting mostly the poorest people in society.

“The injustice is that the people who are being affected the most are not responsible for creating the problem of climate change. The UK is responsible for more than seven times the amount of carbon emissions as El Salvador.

“Richer countries like Scotland must rapidly cut their greenhouse gas emissions if we’re to stop climate change running out of control.”

Nicaragua

The Central American country Nicaragua has been ranked fourth in a listing of countries most affected by climate change over the last 20 years.

The analysis, conducted by think tank Germanwatch, estimates that the country has lost over £180 million due to climate change in this period.

The impacts of global warming are evident in the lives of Nicaraguans - farmers are struggling to cope with the changing weather, and prices for staple foods are fluctuating drastically.

Dominga del Carmen Sotelo Vazquez said: “Climate change is affecting us. Drought is a big issue; we have lost crops, and rivers have dried up.

“The water-table has dropped, meaning there is less water in the wells for us to use… I would like to ask the Scottish Government to support us.”

Zambia

With the help of SCIAF and partners in Zambia, farmer Titus Kalembwe , 39, from Nagasuka village now trains other farmers in his community with the skills he learned. However, he said climate change is making life even more difficult.

The father-of-five said: “The main challenge we face is the weather itself.  The rain hasn’t been good this past season. Getting enough water is a problem. It’s affected us.  My family get water from a bore hole in the next village which is 1.5 km away.

“Farming to us as a family is very important. It’s where we get our food and the money to pay for school fees, for transport and the new house that we’re building.  If we could no longer farm it would be a major challenge because farming is the source of life here.”

Malawi

Climate change is making life harder for farming families like Mercy Malango’s from Namkumba village, Mangochi District, Malawi.

The mother-of-four said: “Before, rains fell in predictable patterns. You could go out to plant your seeds after the first rains and the rains would continue falling. But now, the rains can stop early. It is very erratic and unpredictable. I don’t know when to plant. If we plant, the rains dry up after a few days and the plants die.  It’s very hard to plan.

“When the first rains come, we are deceived into thinking that it is now planting time when it really is not. We end up losing our seeds and we find it hard to find more.”

More information on Sciaf’s work to prevent climate change can be found on the charity’s website.

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8th September 2017 by Lok Yue

Or is it that there simply more people living in more densely populated conditions. The recent hurricane hitting the US was the first in ten years to strike the US Mainland