10 Facts You Need to Know About Climate Change

June 5th is World Environment Day, a day recognized by the United Nations to encourage awareness and action to protect our environment worldwide.
Empty wheel chair in nature

Tackling climate change is an important action we must take in order for us to secure a more sustainable future.

Light for the World deems it important to hold ourselves accountable to our donors and beneficiaries and to ensure that the implementation of our mission does not contribute to environmental degradation or harm. Therefore we will include more stringent environmental standards within our organisation, policies and programmes.

We actively contribute to breaking up the nexus of environmental degradation, poverty and disability. All of our policies form a ‘Sustainability Triangle’ that underpin our activities in the field of disability, development and human rights.

In our offices, we want to reduce our environmental footprint as much as possible. Several measures have already been put into practice.

Among our mandate areas, Eye Health has one of the highest impacts on the environment due to medical waste production, therefore proper waste management is essential. We will closely follow recommendations from the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. 

Travel will remain an integral part of our programme and advocacy work but we want to reduce our CO2 emissions and to compensate emissions we cause by supporting a Gold Standard certified project which provides families with safe clean drinking water in Uganda. 

Climate Change is an Emergency, the biggest crisis that humanity has ever Faced.”  

- Greta Thunberg, a 16-years old Swedish Climate Activist with Asperger Syndrome

 children at watering hole

10 Facts You Need to Know...

  1. Migration and population ecosystems will be impacted on a large scale as a result of climate change. Where and how food is grown, people settle and cities exist are all impacted by climate change.
  2. The negative side effects of climate change are not a thing of the future. Many cities and citizens are already facing the problems that arise with temperature and sea level change. 
  3. As of 2018, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere has been the highest it has ever been in 3 million years.
  4. It has been 3 - 5 million years since the earth reached concentrations of CO2 like we have today. Back then the earth's temperature was 2-3°c warmer and the sea level was 10-20 meters higher.
  5. Major contributions to climate change include:
    -Cutting down the forest
    -The food industry
    -Burning Coal, oil and gas
  6. Vital every day needs such as clean water, food, shelter and clean air are negatively impacted by climate change.
  7. An estimated 250,000 additional deaths per year are estimated to occur because of malaria, diarrhoea, malnutrition and heat stress between 2030 and 2050. These factors are all results of climate change.
  8. Around 600 million children (1 in every 4 children worldwide) will live in a region with very limited access to water resources by 2040.
  9. There will be an increased number of migrants looking for a place to relocate to, away from their home countries and regions. More climate change litigation will occur in the global south.
  10. Even though Africa is estimated to produce just 4 % of global carbon emissions – compared to 80 % by most industrialised countries, it is the continent that pays the highest price.

 

Powerful and frequent natural disasters like Cyclones Idai and Kenneth (only several weeks apart) is a prime example of how climate change can severely impact populations like in Mozambique. The case of Idai also shows us how a natural disaster scenario in a developing country can impact people with disabilities the hardest since they often experience more difficulty accessing aide and support. 

homes destroyed by cyclone idai

What You Can Do 

  • Cut down on long-haul flights and consider the pros and cons before attending international meetings
  • Take public transport, ride a bike or share a car
  • Avoid single-use plastics
  • Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you are not using them. 
  • Reduce your consumption of animal protein by half, you can cut your diet's carbon footprint by more than 40%.
  • Consume locally grown food to reduce the amount of fuel, air pollution and emissions required to move the food you eat from the farm to your table. By doing so you will also support local farmers and merchants in your own community.
  • Eat organic meat and products keeping pesticides and chemical fertilizers off your plate and out of our rivers.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and shaving.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle

 

Sources:
Climate Transparency
WMO (World Meteorological Organization)
IOM (International Organization for Migration) 

UN agencies:
UN Environment
UNICEF
WHO