Posted by: r.m. | December 4, 2008

shutting out the ones most impacted

So, while approximately 8,000 delegates sit  – and stand – in Poland to discuss the discussion of climate change pre-post-Kyoto, other communities are left out in the cold.

Global efforts to combat climate change will lead nowhere as long as the indigenous peoples’ representatives have no say in discussions to lay out future plans, say activists who are attending the international conference on climate change being held in the Polish city of Poznan this week. “Indigenous peoples have for centuries adapted to changing environments and would be able to contribute substantially to adaptation strategies the U.N. is trying to include in a new climate change treaty,” said Mark Lattimer of the London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG).

Ahead of the conference on climate change, which started Monday, MRG researchers released a new study concluding that a new climate change deal would be “seriously compromised” if governments continued to shut out the voices of those most affected by global warming.”

Meanwhile – climate change is significantly impacting health, and particularly the health of children. “The incidence of the mosquito-borne disease was increasing in proportion to the rise in temperature.” But it is not just climate change. “The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned in a report that the loss of forests, the building of roads and dams, the spread of cities, the clearing of natural habitats for agriculture, mining, and the pollution of coastal waters “are promoting conditions under which new and old pathogens — bacteria, viruses and microorganisms causing diseases — can thrive.” A study by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland says that even a one percent increase in deforestation in Peru increases the number of malaria-bearing mosquitoes by eight percent. The study also reported that the mosquitoes “ran wild” after 30 to 40 percent of the forest was destroyed.”  All in all: More malaria, diarrhea, and asthma: these diseases are on the rise around the world because of environmental destruction and kill some three million children under five and two million adults a year.

Unfortunately, deforestation is increasing.Latin America and the Caribbean hold more than 33 percent of the planet’s forest biomass, 50 percent of the jungles and 65 percent of tropical forest biomass….But the region produces 12 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases — and half of the emissions are the result of deforestation, with Brazil and Mexico leading the region in terms of climate-changing pollutants. … Mexico, for example, loses some 500,000 hectares of forest annually, and Nicaragua loses about 75,000 hectares. … By 2050 the region could lose 11 percent of its existing natural areas as a result of farming, infrastructure expansion and climate change.


Responses

  1. How refreshing! however this has always been the case, the poor are shut up and the rich get to wallow in self pity about whatever they have on their minds – which most often is not much- and i’m just talking about rich countries, not people, just so i’m properly understood.
    i have to say i’m surprised at the health related impact of climate change, when it’s put in terms of diseases it somehow takes a whole new dimension for me.
    This brings me to another subject, which is the way the issue of climate change in particular, and ecology in general are related by the media -in the broad sense of the term- to the lay person – not lay man, this is how un-sexist i am-. if there is a way to make it much more meaningful and real to me, who is more involved and aware than the average person, then there must be ways in which to make it touch everyone intensely enough that they start thinking about seriously.

  2. Probably the most effective way of drawing everyones attention to the growing harm is to bring it to their level. If we say deforestation will cause an increase in greenhouse gases and lead to global warming, leading to the melting of polar ice caps etc etc….its not going to get as much attention as: one percent increase in deforestation will cause an 8% of malaria bearing mosquitoes, and this many would die. It came as a shock to me, I had no idea the effect would be so immediate, you always think there’s time.


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