Sunday, February 10, 2008

Climate Poverty

BBC news recently published a story about an English woman who believes that "Western countries have to take responsibility for the effects of climate change on the developing world."

A recent trip to Nicaragua opened her eyes to what she refers to as "climate poverty." Due to shifts in temperature caused by global warming, the country has been experiencing more bouts of extreme weather conditions. Flooding wreaked havoc on the people living in a small, northern village called La Caretta. 51 days of rain destroyed crops and houses, as well as invited disease carrying rats into the area. Oxfam, an international confederation dedicated to fighting poverty, is trying to provide relief to the people there.

The story points out that people don't tend to see past melting ice caps when considering the negative results of climate change; they don't realize that their actions affect other people too. In lecture, Dr. Webber brought up a parallel point that global warming is a hard issue to address since future generations are those most affected by it.

Some countries are taking action. For example, efforts at mitigating climate change were made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali this past December. Alternatively, other countries are "dragging their feet" with regard to tackling the issue. Although the US was not explicitly mentioned, it is obvous that this stab was directed at the land of the free.

Ultimately, the story gives another incentive for people to change their lifestyles, and countries to change their laws. The economically driven of the world relate to a carbon tax. For humanitarians, knowledge that climate change can result in "climate poverty" might be the better stimulus.

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