Ten million people across the world took part in climate protests last September. Across the world people demanded that we work together to save our planet. Many scientists, politicians and protesters have said that it is up to the rich countries to clean up the mess they caused. As the global quarantine lifts, and the cogs of industry start whirring once again, we need to make sure that the new normal is a better normal. This balanced and informative video entertainingly discusses “Who Is Responsible For Climate Change?”:
Years of burning petrol for cars, churning out single-use plastic from factories, and chopping down entire forests for their wood has opened Pandora’s Box, releasing climate change and environmental disasters onto our world. European and North American rich countries started this trend centuries ago. In recent years, other countries have joined the smoggy ranks. As countries get richer, they use more energy and produce more carbon dioxide.
Top scientists at the UN, Inequality.org and The Economist have repeatedly warned us that whilst the rich are getting richer, climate change is having unequal impacts around the world. The poorest countries will be hit the hardest. Richer countries will be able to handle their flooding and wildfires more easily than the natural disasters inevitably coming for the poorer countries.
Mukono, Uganda. 2018.
As you can see on the following maps, the positions of the darkest red coloured countries swaps on each map. The countries who are the largest contributors of climate change over the past 266 years, are now the least vulnerable to it’s impact. On the other hand, the countries which are least responsible for CO2 emissions (lighter colours in Map 1), are the most likely to experience environmental disasters in the near future (red in Map 2).
The Netherlands, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Climate Change Profiles, 2019
Climate change isn’t just a future ‘what-if’ that only concerns scientists. It is already destroying harvests and causing sea-levels to rise. Like a dystopian sci-fi film, entire continental regions are morphing into barren deserts. Climate change is already bringing record-breaking hot summers to the UK, and as the ice melts the world’s richest countries will gain access to the valuable Arctic shipping lanes.
However, climate change will also bring life threatening risks to the world’s poorest people nearer the equator. These poor regions are the most vulnerable as they face oncoming catastrophic disasters. It is our responsibility to raise awareness and try to reverse the damage.
Arua, Uganda. 2019.
At Planet Earth Games, we have discussed the individual stories of some of the world’s first climate refugees:
For those living on sinking Pacific islands like Careret who have had to evacuate their refugee families to the neighbouring Bougainville, we have to slow global warming.
For the “almost buried” Sudanese villagers who have survived decades of drought, but are now at the torment of sand-dunes, we must raise awareness of climate change’s urgency.
For the Guatemalan’s who live on historically fertile mountains, but are now being forced from their homes by drought – climate change is painfully real.
We need to act, now.
Buried Sudanese Village. Photograph: Mohammed Basheer/HCENR/UNDP
It is not too late, together we can move forward with reason to be optimistic. The African Union has already started planting a Great Green Wall of trees to run from the East to the West of the Sahara Desert. “By 2030, the Wall aims to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create 10 million jobs in rural areas.” There is still hope.
The Great Green Wall
Your individual actions can change the world! Whether you sign the Great Green Pledge to support the millions at risk in the Sahara or commit yourself to protecting the oceans, you’ve just got to take part! By educating ourselves and our families, we take the first step towards a healthier future.
So, spread the word of global climate inequality by sharing this blog with your friends! Aim to have minimal negative impact on the environment in your everyday life. From the food you eat to the sports you enjoy – every choice impacts the world around you.
At Planet Earth Games, we are committed to a healthy planet and healthy people. Join us this August to take part in the world’s first environment-themed multi-sport event. By taking an environment focused approach to sport, we hope to raise awareness for individual impacts on climate change, whilst having fun getting fit!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and sign up to our newsletter to get updates from our ambassadors – including world-class Olympians and climate influencers – for our challenges during Planet Earth Games 2020. Take part in our challenges, spread awareness of climate change, and win prizes with your family and friends this summer.
by Matt Thomson