Will Rio create a climate of change for poor communities?

We’ve blogged today on Alertnet about a new Tearfund report, Dried Up, Drowned Out. In 2005, we spoke to local partners and communities about the impact that the changing climate was having on their lives.  We heard about land that had been flooded, crops that were failing and changing weather patterns which were pushing already vulnerable people further into poverty.  7 years later we went back to many of the same communities, and some new one, to find out if things had improved.  Sadly, in many cases, they have got worse.

Priambandhu Roy’s land in Bangladesh has been devastated by floods, cyclones and rising sea levels, turning his once thriving farm into a fight for survival

The report includes lots of quotes from amazingly resilient people who are adapting their lifestyles in attempts to survive, but who are calling on the developed world for faster emission cuts to stop the situation from getting worse, and for more help to adapt for the future.  They frame this clearly as a justice issue.  They weren’t responsible for the emissions that have caused climate change.  Whilst we know the world’s economy now needs to move on to a more sustainable trajectory, this cannot be done in a way which penalises those who still need to develop in they way that we have, although we did it with no regard for our shared environment.

As leaders gather for next week’s Rio+20 Summit, and consider the development of new Sustainable Development Goals, it is vital that they look to shape a future which is not only greener but also fairer.  If this Summit is successful it could potentially start to build trust between nations with different interests – trust which will be vitally important if life is going to be breathed into the UN Climate talks which are edging forward at a frustratingly slow pace.

Do have a look at some of the fantastic stories and photos that are captured in Dried Up, Drowned Out, and pop along to some of the Rio events organised by Tearfund and SCC, if you haven’t already.

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