ODuring the past month, the Guardian and Observer the 2021 charity appeal has raised over £830,000 for climate justice, in partnership with four brilliant charities. As the appeal prepares to end, the charities talk about their missions – and the future of the planet.
Steve Trent, Executive Director, Environmental Justice Foundation
“We have almost lost our winters, the rainy season does not start on time and when it rains we have too much. We want to stay here, but it will be difficult,” says Abdul Zuffer. We are in his house in southern Bangladesh, which he had to rebuild after Cyclone Aila. As a rice farmer, he tells us about the difficulties encountered in coping with the vagaries of the weather and climate change.
Around the world, in Sweden, Lars-Ánte Kuhmunen, reindeer herder and Sami indigenous leader, tells us an eerily similar story. “We have short winters now, and it’s raining [rather than snows]. It’s hard to predict. As we film him inspecting the herd, he suddenly stops in the snow and pulls out a frozen calf. “This one was starving to death. It’s climate change.
EJF works across the world to amplify the voices of those losing their livelihoods, communities and homes to the climate crisis. Along with their powerful testimony, we use groundbreaking reports and strategic advocacy to call on leaders for an urgent society-wide transition to zero carbon and a strong international agreement protecting the rights of climate refugees.
We meet heads of state and decision makers from around the world, and our film and photography exhibitions have reached hundreds of thousands of people. We also advance solutions: train and support grassroots activists and work with policy makers. We need to set out a clear roadmap to a just and sustainable future for people and the planet.
Sarah Roberts, Managing Director, Practical Action
A key lesson in dealing with environmental disasters is that those most affected are already leading the way by adapting their lives to their new climate reality. They just need the right tools to enable them thrive and not just survive. This is at the heart of Practical Action’s work.
Our support has helped farmers in Kenya develop resilient and innovative agricultural approaches in the face of erratic weather conditions and farmers in Bangladesh adapt to catastrophic cyclones and floods.
Achieving a global economy centered on nature, people and the planet has always motivated us and aligns with the philosophy of our founder, visionary economist EF Schumacher. Other examples include our work in Peru with coffee farmers, in Rwanda with Yogi Tea and in Malawi with women farmers.
After the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, this year is more important than ever to ensure that financial commitments are met and that inequality is tackled.
A better world is possible, but no individual or institution can do it alone. Only by working together can we get there.
Eva Rehse, Executive Director, Global Greengrants Fund UK
Those most affected by the climate crisis are also the least responsible for it. Smallholders, fishing communities and indigenous peoples around the world depend on natural resources and ecosystems that are being disrupted and destroyed by global warming at a terrifying rate. They are disproportionately likely to live in the “sacrifice zones” of fossil fuel extraction and to be affected by extreme weather events such as wildfires, floods, cyclones and drought.
But these same individuals and communities also have the power to resist extractivism, become more resilient to the effects of the climate crisis, and adopt alternative economic and political approaches rooted in local knowledge and practices.
These locally-led “climate solutions” – communities mobilizing against coal power, indigenous activists defending their forest lands, farmers embarking on regenerative agriculture – are what the Global Greengrants Fund and our CLIMA Fund partners were created to fund and strengthen. By channeling small-scale, flexible funding to local initiatives, we transfer resources and power to communities and movements that are often unable to access any other external support. By trusting those on the front lines to take the lead, we help fuel bold new ideas that are valuable tools in the fight against the climate crisis.
Hélène Ralimanana, Director, Madagascar Conservation Centre, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Climate change has plunged our beautiful Madagascar into crisis. Dramatic changes in our weather patterns have increased poverty and driven people to deforest valuable habitat to survive.
We have seen a big change in our seasons over the past few years. We are now experiencing much longer dry seasons with less rain, which is having a devastating impact on agriculture and communities. When the rainy season arrives, it can bring flash floods that destroy the rice paddies, the main staple food for the majority of the country. This is one of the factors leading to starvation in the south and increased environmental degradation as people migrate to other areas.
the Guardian and Observer this call will allow us to expand projects that help local people adopt sustainable techniques for growing yams – a vital crop for nutrition in times of drought – as well as improving soil quality and increasing incomes through cash crops. We also hope to accelerate the seed bank across the island, collecting more endemic and valuable species, and using them to train local communities to restore forests.
At the Madagascar Conservation Centre, we document and preserve the country’s biodiversity, so crucial to improving resilience to climate change. We believe our projects can transform lives while protecting Madagascar’s precious biodiversity.