How can we turn the African environment tragedy into an opportunity for good?

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A man helps a woman cross a log bridge after the flash flood washed away a concrete bridge at Pentagon, in Freetown August 18, 2017. Source: Reuters.

 

Hannington Muyenje, a Senior Campaigner with Tearfund, reflects on how the climate tragedy can be turned into an opportunity.

Oscar Wilde, one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s said, ‘Behind every exquisite thing that happens, there was a tragedy.’ We have all heard about the pacifying clichés like, ‘bad things can lead to good’, ‘A blessing in disguise’ or ‘beauty from ashes’.

For people in low-income settings, the tragedy of poverty has been turned into a case of double jeopardy by climate change. It is as if people in poverty are being punished twice for the same crime: that they are poor and that due to their poverty, they are unable to address the effects of climate change. This double tragedy has shattered whole economies and forced many poor people into all forms of slavery. I regarded Tearfund’s annual international gathering that took place in June – a platform that brings together experienced and passionate leaders from over 30 poor countries – as an opportunity to grapple with ways of turning this climate tragedy into economic growth prospects.  [Read more…]

Nothing as sensitive as death and taxes

There maybe nothing as certain as death and taxes, but equally there are few topics as sensitive. Tax and wealth are difficult subjects to gain cross-party political consensus on and, given the power of tax on supply and demand within the market, everyone has a strong opinion.

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Yesterday we saw headlines on the need for an overhaul of the UK tax system, but do we have the politicians prepared to take this on? Justin Welby proclaimedOur economic model is broken. Britain stands at a watershed moment where we need to make fundamental choices about the sort of economy we need. We are failing those who will grow up into a world where the gap between the richest and poorest parts of the country is significant and destabilising.” Welby’s remarks were made as part of the Commission on Economic Justice, led by the think tank IPPR. The Commission’s full report and recommendations will be published in 2018, but will include calls for: [Read more…]

A climate act for all our futures

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Lyson and Theresa and four of their children, Dowa District, Malawi

 

This month you have a chance to input into a public consultation on Scotland’s Climate Change Bill, whether you’re based in Scotland or not. Tearfund is a member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a diverse coalition of civil society organisations in Scotland campaigning together on climate change. Read more about why we want a more ambitious climate act; one that represents climate justice for all. 

Global temperatures in July this year were the 2nd highest ever recorded . For Nepali families recovering from recent floods or farmers in Malawi fearful of another small harvest, these rising temperatures contribute towards a changing climate that is having a very real impact.

Lyson, from the Dowa District in Malawi explains: “In the past the soil here used to be very fertile. We would grow our crops and harvest a lot. But over the years the environment has been destroyed and the soil has become infertile. Because of climate change there are less rains, and we are harvesting only a little food – which is a big challenge for us.”  [Read more…]

Sierra Leone: Can an outpouring of love in the midst of tragedy help to renew our world?

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Tearfund Senior Campaigner Clare Lyons reflects on how to respond to the mudslide in Sierra Leone that cost so many lives.

In the aftermath of the tragic mudslide in Sierra Leone last week, Gaston Slanwa, Tearfund’s Sierra Leone Country Representative, told us of the ‘huge outpouring of love’ from the local community, who are caring for those in need in the midst of their own personal loss.  [Read more…]

When will Trump have his Damascus road experience?

So he’s done it. After months of speculation President Trump has announced the US will be exiting the Paris Accord on tackling climate change.

It is disappointing that President Trump does not see the opportunity for economic growth which clean energy presents; what the world is now waiting for is his Damascus road experience. We need that dramatic reversal of position in the near future. But if we have to wait 4 years, some experts say that wouldn’t be too disastrous – whereas if we had 8 years of the same rolling back progress on climate change, that would be a game changer. [Read more…]

Mission 2020: don’t be late

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Source: Mission 2020

 

Monday began with a reminder that Hugh Grant hates people being late. This montage of cinematic near misses reminds us that being late can have different consequences – for our love lives, dance careers and, in some cases, our survival. It is a light-hearted introduction to a new campaign with a weighty message: we can’t afford to be late on curbing our carbon emissions. [Read more…]

The sky’s the limit for the circular economy

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On the 30th March, the first ‘second-hand’ rocket was launched into our skies. Rockets – like many products in our current economy – are traditionally one-use only items. They are made, used and, with their mission complete, discarded. SpaceX have made history by finding a way for their boosters to return safely to Earth to be used again. Through this new approach, rockets can return to the skies again. [Read more…]

Re-moaning, Trumpgate and late night TV

Where were you on 31st August 1997? I was watching TV in the early hours of the morning when I heard the news of Princess Diana dying; I will never forget where I was then, or where I was when I heard about the Twin Towers attack in 2001.

On 23rd June 2016 I also found myself awake in the early hours with my 6 month old daughter. Tired of trying to get her to sleep, I somewhat defeatedly turned on the 24 hour news, only to get excited when I remembered it was the night of the EU referendum. As she fell asleep in her swing chair I was pinned to my seat, keen to wake my husband and tell him which way the result was clearly going, but knowing I wouldn’t be thanked if I did. I realised this was another ‘history in the making moment’, so instead I WhatsApp’d my NCT mum friends to see who else was up! [Read more…]

From India’s villages to Morocco’s talks

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Source: Peter Caton / Tearfund

Ramesh Babu reflects on last week’s global climate talks. Ramesh is Programmes Director for EFICOR, a partner of Tearfund and an Indian development and humanitarian organisation working with five million people across the country.

All the way from India to Morocco for global climate talks, I think about my childhood growing up in a rural village and my work now with communities mostly dependent on agriculture to survive. I think of every farmer’s reliance on the seasons and climate and the tragedy of another bad year. When the crops dry up, it means more than poverty – homes are locked up and families forced to leave in search of work. Farmers are ending their lives in shocking numbers because they see no way to support their families and clear debts. [Read more…]

Waste Less, Warm Less: Building A ‘Circular’ Economy Would Take Us A Long Way Towards Achieving The Paris Climate Agreement

At this critical time for action on climate change, Richard Gower, Tearfund’s Senior Economics and Policy Associate, explores how the circular economy can play a big part in a low-carbon future.

It’s been a momentous but mixed two weeks for the climate and clean energy agenda. At the beginning of the month, the Paris Agreement – a global compact negotiated in December 2015 – came into force, following much faster ratification by the world’s big players than anyone dared hope. Then a few days later, the US elected a man who has threatened to pull out of the agreement and reverse Obama’s Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions (thankfully, the US has already ratified the Paris Agreement and can’t pull out for four years). [Read more…]