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Flooding in Uganda Due to global warming over the past few years, the world has seen many countries be thrown into crisis due to natural disasters. Uganda has been one of those impacted countries.

What’s Happening?

24 people have died and over 5,600 people have been displaced due to the eruption of 2 riverbanks in Eastern Uganda causing flash flooding after heavy rain. The floods have also led to 400,000 people without clean water and destroying thousands of acres of farmable land. Flooding in Uganda has left many Ugandans without the capacity to sustain their basic needs. Rain is predicted for the coming month and the local government has a goal of evacuating 100,00 people out of the Eastern Ugandan area, only 2,500 have been evacuated thus far.

Impact On Poverty

Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world. Half of the population is 15 years old or younger, so this massively impacts the work force. 76% of the country lives in rural areas and 73% of the work force works in agriculture. The floods have greatly impacted this massive industry of agriculture which affects the way the population is able to earn sustainable wages. 41% of the country already lives below the poverty line of less than $1.90/day. Fertile land and farming are seen as a way for people to make a living for themselves.

With the floods having no end in sight and likely only to get worse due to global warming, thousands of acres have been lost in this season alone and it is hard to say when the industry could make a full recovery.  The eastern and northern regions of Uganda have higher poverty populations than the rest of the country. This means flooding in Uganda is more likely to affect people who are in poverty.

Humanitarian Impact

On June 13, politicians in the area declared a need for humanitarian assistance in food security. The USAID and BHA are planning to deliver emergency funds to the world food program in order to help with the food crisis caused by the flooding in Uganda. The U.S. also announced a donation of $20 million in development assistance to the country. The funds are meant to ease the food insecurity by helping the agriculture industry and providing the country with improved techniques to increase productivity and to prevent losses.

 A Look Ahead

The situation for many in Uganda is currently not adequate, however, the people of the world see their struggle and have committed to helping. The U.S. and other organizations have seen this problem all over the world in terms of food insecurity caused by natural disasters. While the problem may not be gone today or tomorrow, there are countless people trying to make sure that the Ugandans in the coming years will not have the same worries.

Alex Peterson
Photo: WikiCommons

Europe's efforts on heat wave crisisSince July 2022, Europe has been going through severe heat waves. In the United Kingdom, temperatures hit over 40 degrees Celsius, leading to at least 1,500 heat-related deaths and becoming the highest recorded in the country’s history. Europe’s efforts in the heat wave crisis are tackling devastating fires and negative impacts on the health, energy and economy sectors. In addition to the war in Ukraine and subsequent global economic crisis, heat waves most affect low-income populations.

Economic Impact of Heat Waves in Europe

Europe’s heat waves are occurring in a tense time: The world is still experiencing the coronavirus’ hit to the economy and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Europe saw a devaluation in the euro for the first time in 20 years along with skyrocketing inflation.

In Italy, farmers state that they are seeing the worst drought in 70 years. In Germany, a major transportation river’s water level has dropped so low that slow shipping is stalling the supply chain. In France, a major utility company stated that three power reactors could not run at total capacity due to the high water temperatures of surrounding rivers.

Extreme temperatures are leading to wildfires all over the continent and are becoming expensive. In 2019, the World Wildlife Fund reported that Mediterranean countries spend more than $2 million yearly on fire management, about 80% on suppression and only 20% on prevention. The report also notes that growing wildfires negatively impact workers in forestry and land cultivation, and tourism.

Poverty and Heat Waves in Europe

The heat wave, drought and wildfires in Europe have also severely impacted the economy for daily living. Prices soared for basic commodities like wheat, rice, maize, potatoes and beets, which need much water for production. Allianz, a financial services company, reports that food and drink prices have risen by about 14% in European countries since 2021. Calling it “heatflation,” Allianz estimates Europeans will soon pay about $243 more per grocery trip.

Heat waves are exacerbating energy poverty. Skyrocketing costs in energy products and bills most affect low-income households. They often contend with poorly insulated homes, unshaded neighborhoods and a lack of air conditioning access. Consequently, heat waves negatively impact their health.

Europe’s Efforts on Heat Wave Crisis

To combat the heat wave, European countries undertook various actions. In southern France, firefighters are evacuating residents from critical areas and creating fire buffer zones by preemptively burning terrain and cutting down trees.

Portugal asked for European Union assistance, calling on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which delivered emergency help for its wildfires. Other nations are working on financial relief plans to help people with rising inflation. In France, the parliament approved a $20 billion relief package, and nongovernment organizations are aiding vulnerable people who lack access to heat-relief facilities.

Despite the scorching temperatures and related deaths, Europe continues these efforts on the heat wave crisis at local and international levels.

– Youssef Yazbek
Photo: Flickr

Renewable Energy in GhanaTechnological innovation has always been an important determinant of economic growth. Now, renewable energy in Ghana is paving the way for a better nation. On May 25, 2022, the government of Ghana signed a grant agreement with the African Development Fund, as well as a financing agreement with the Swiss government, for the Ghana Mini-Grid and Solar Photovoltaic Net Metering project.

The Impact of the Agreement

In order to bring about renewable energy in Ghana, Ghana adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and strives to fulfill Sustainable Development Goal 7, which ensures that the population has access to energy-related services that are modern, affordable, reliable and sustainable. In the recent decade, Ghana has seen a growth in energy demand that has surpassed that of supply. According to an article from Sage Journals, despite the fact that Ghana has adopted the U.N. SDGs, the country’s primary energy sources are still nonrenewable.

According to the World Bank, poverty in Ghana stood at 25.5% in 2020. Ghana can use energy to improve the quality of life for the population, however, Ghana has a vast renewable energy potential that is currently underutilized. According to the World Bank, in 2020, 85.9% of the population had access to electricity.

In order to help the remaining 14.1%, the nation is considering the role of renewable energy in meeting energy needs by replacing traditional fuels with clean and reliable energy sources. This push for renewable energy is geared toward enhancing economic growth. The project will help schools, health facilities and communities throughout Ghana as electricity will be readily accessible to people within the population.

Technological plan

The relevant parties will implement this project within three years beginning in May 2022 and ending in December 2025. The agreement calls for the construction of “35 mini-grids in the Volta Lake region and the deployment of 12,000 units of roof-mounted net-metered solar PV systems.”

These solar cells will convert sunlight into electricity directly. “The systems will power 750 small medium-sized enterprises, 400 schools, 200 health centers, and the energy service systems in 100 communities in the Volta Lake region and Northern region of Ghana.”

Overall, the project aims to “bring sustainable and affordable electricity to [more than] 6,000 small and medium-sized enterprises and almost 5,000 households, besides 1,100 public buildings.”

Next Steps

It is clear to see that technology continues to influence Ghana to plan a more sustainable future that benefits the population. The authorities remain firm in their commitment to transition to renewable energy in Ghana. One of the country’s goals is to have 10% of renewable energy in the mix of electricity generation by 2025. According to an article from The Finder, the 12,000 units of roof-mounted net-metered solar PV will lead to the reduction of the public sector’s power debt and lower the costs of electricity for households and smaller businesses.

According to an article on Hindawi, Ghana has an undeniable potential to considerably increase local energy production and enhance the efficiency of energy distribution networks. Renewable energy in Ghana will provide energy access to the poor, which will improve their quality of life.

– Frema Mensah
Photo: Unsplash

Mitigating Climate Change in Bangladesh
According to the 2015 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, Bangladesh’s economy suffers the most from climate change compared to any other country in the world. Such impact greatly depresses Bangladesh’s annual GDP, as the nation diverts most of its financial resources toward the management of climate change impacts.

Risky Location

Geographically, Bangladesh is a low-lying country that is predominantly comprised of flatlands. The economy is very dependent on the success of agricultural advances and yields, yet this facet is challenged by climate change. In 2012, the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO) lists the different natural disasters and impacts from global warming and climate change in Bangladesh, which includes: floods, tropical cyclones, salinity intrusion and fluctuations between extreme temperatures and drought.

All of these have resulted in decreased crop production and arable land for agricultural practice.

The nation’s government is working hard to address climate change in Bangladesh and further efforts of mitigation. Bangladesh has invested more than $10 billion dollars into its mission, and these funds go toward coastal resilience projects, increasing the number of government agencies that respond to emergencies and building coastal shelters.

Rising Sea Levels

Rising sea levels is one of the biggest concerns faced by the community. An article in the Scientific American discusses that the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas due to rising temperature has been a significant contributor to the rising water levels the country faces. For example, Sandwip Island has “lost 90 percent of its original 23-square-miles,” author Robert Glennon reports.

The projects that the government has developed are beneficial as current fixes to the issue of climate change. Any family that is affected by rising water levels or a cyclone are able to take refuge in one of the shelters the government has built.  The coastal embankment projects have worked create more durable islands. They accomplish this by laying sandbags on the coastline as well as building trees to help barricade the islands and absorb some of the water increases.

Long-Term Mitigation Efforts

For more long-term mitigation techniques, the Bangladesh government is addressing the need for more energy-efficient initiatives in rural areas that are most affected. For example, the World Bank supports initiatives such as building 320 solar irrigation pumps for farmers, offering training on electrical-alternative livelihoods for the poorer households in the community and the installation of energy-grids to help power rural businesses.

While the impacts of climate change in Bangladesh are felt the most out of almost any other country in the world, Bangladesh emits one of the lowest percentages of gas into the atmosphere. This means that as a nation, it is contributing very little to the climate change that so affects it as opposed to developed countries that emit levels in the double digits. Luckily, the community in Bangladesh is well-equipped with a resourceful and intelligent government that delivers climate resilience while also accomplishing societal development.

– Caysi Simpson
Photo: Flickr

current global issues

Among all the good in the world, and all the progress being made in global issues, there is still much more to be done. Given the overwhelming disasters that nations, including the U.S., have been or still are going through, it is important to be aware of the most pressing global issues.

Top 10 Current Global Issues

  1. Climate Change
    The global temperatures are rising, and are estimated to increase from 2.6 degrees Celsius to 4.8 degrees Celsius by 2100. This would cause more severe weather, crises with food and resources and the spread of diseases. The reduction of greenhouse emissions and the spreading of education on the importance of going green can help make a big difference. Lobbying governments and discussing policies to reduce carbon emissions and encouraging reforestation is an effective way of making progress with climate change.
  2. Pollution
    Pollution is one of the most difficult global issues to combat, as the umbrella term refers to ocean litter, pesticides and fertilizers, air, light and noise pollution. Clean water is essential for humans and animals, but more than one billion people don’t have access to clean water due to pollution from toxic substances, sewage or industrial waste. It is of the utmost importance that people all over the world begin working to minimize the various types of pollution, in order to better the health of the planet and all those living on it.
  3. Violence
    Violence can be found in the social, cultural and economic aspects of the world. Whether it is conflict that has broken out in a city, hatred targeted at a certain group of people or sexual harassment occurring on the street, violence is a preventable problem that has been an issue for longer than necessary. With continued work on behalf of the governments of all nations, as well as the individual citizens, the issue can be addressed and reduced.
  4. Security and Well Being
    The U.N. is a perfect example of preventing the lack of security and well being that is a serious global issue. Through its efforts with regional organizations and representatives that are skilled in security, the U.N. is working toward increasing the well being of people throughout the world.
  5. Lack of Education
    More than 72 million children throughout the globe that are of the age to be in primary education are not enrolled in school. This can be attributed to inequality and marginalization as well as poverty. Fortunately, there are many organizations that work directly with the issue of education in providing the proper tools and resources to aid schools.
  6. Unemployment
    Without the necessary education and skills for employment, many people, particularly 15- to 24-year olds, struggle to find jobs and create a proper living for themselves and their families. This leads to a lack of necessary resources, such as enough food, clothing, transportation and proper living conditions. Fortunately, there are organizations throughout the world teaching people in need the skills for jobs and interviewing, helping to lift people from the vicious cycle of poverty.
  7. Government Corruption
    Corruption is a major cause of poverty considering how it affects the poor the most, eroding political and economic development, democracy and more. Corruption can be detrimental to the safety and well being of citizens living within the corrupted vicinity, and can cause an increase in violence and physical threats without as much regulation in the government.
  8. Malnourishment & Hunger
    Currently there are 795 million people who do not have enough to eat. Long-term success to ending world hunger starts with ending poverty. With fighting poverty through proper training for employment, education and the teaching of cooking and gardening skills, people who are suffering will be more likely to get jobs, earn enough money to buy food and even learn how to make their own food to save money.
  9. Substance Abuse
    The United Nations reports that, by the beginning of the 21st century, an estimated 185 million people over the age of 15 were consuming drugs globally. The drugs most commonly used are marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, amphetamine stimulants, opiates and volatile solvents. Different classes of people, both poor and rich, partake in substance abuse, and it is a persistent issue throughout the world. Petitions and projects are in progress to end the global issue of substance abuse.
  10. Terrorism
    Terrorism is an issue throughout the world that causes fear and insecurity, violence and death. Across the globe, terrorists attack innocent people, often without warning. This makes civilians feel defenseless in their everyday lives. Making national security a higher priority is key in combating terrorism, as well as promoting justice in wrongdoings to illustrate the enforcement of the law and the serious punishments for terror crimes.

With so many current global issues that require immediate attention, it is easy to get discouraged. However, the amount of progress that organizations have made in combating these problems is admirable, and the world will continue to improve in the years to come. By staying active in current events, and standing up for the health and safety of all humans, everyone is able to make a difference in changing the fate of our world.

– Chloe Turner

Photo: Flickr

 

 

5 Ways Climate Unequally Affects Vulnerable PopulationsMore than three billion people live in poverty today and depend on natural resources for survival. Gradual changes in average climate conditions severely impact impoverished nations; however, unforeseeable variabilities in climate are of particular concern. Climate unequally affects vulnerable populations and lessens their capacity for adaptation to particular climate factors. Their lack of technological and financial resources, as well as their dependence on agricultural resources, hinder their ability to withstand some climate factors that impact developed countries at a lesser scale. While all societies have to adapt to the multifaceted challenges posed by climate, poor countries are at a particular disadvantage, notably with respect to the following five climate factors:

1. Natural Disasters
Natural disasters stimulate poverty and prevent the alleviation of existing poverty. Poor nations are more exposed to natural disasters and are at a higher risk of losing a majority of their assets and income. It is much more difficult for impoverished nations to recover from a disaster and they typically receive much less support. Depending on the fragile infrastructure, agricultural resources, and ecosystem incomes increase a nation’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

2. Warming
Even a slight rise in temperature at a global level negatively affects water quality and hygiene, which increases a nation’s risk for various diseases including malaria, encephalitis, Lyme disease and diarrhea. Rising temperatures creates a climate that is more susceptible to vector-borne diseases, which increase the diseases’ effects, further the diseases’ reach and stimulate the diseases’ prevalence.

3. Drought
Lack of access to water deeply affects developing countries. It becomes more difficult to sustain the agricultural sector and a cycle of devastation often hits. Less water reduces crop yields, increases food prices and decreases wages. Drought also affects agriculture indirectly, through climate-dependent stressors such as pests and epidemics.

4. Rain
Although rain and access to water are necessary for successful agriculture, too much rain and flooding can completely wipe out a season’s crop yield. Poorer nations often lack the ability to predict an expected rainfall, which can turn into overwatering or drowning of crops. Any loss in crop yield affects more than just economic instability as it almost always leads to an even greater risk of undernutrition.

5. Air pollution
Food production in developing nations is directly affected by the high emissions of pollutants. While the impact varies from crop to crop and region to region, the overarching negative impacts are irrefutable. High emissions decline crop yields in and of itself, but increased pollutants also interact with fertilization and greenhouse gases. Air pollution also negatively affects health; 800,000 out of the annual two million child deaths are from respiratory infections, which are caused by indoor air pollution.

All of the above climate factors are deeply embedded with the successes and failures of impoverished people. Climate unequally affects vulnerable populations in many ways; however, the encouraging news is that economic development, poverty reduction, better infrastructure and increased access to healthcare have the potential to compensate for the effects of climate.

Jamie Enright

Photo: Flickr


Typically, when people deny climate change, they tend to assert the idea that climate change could not possibly affect them, or anyone, by the foreseeable future. Recent studies show how global warming affects the poor, and the studies predict an impact on the world’s poor as early as 13 years from now.

It has been known for some time that climate change will disproportionately affect the poor. First of all, most of the world’s poor live in tropical regions while wealthier people live in temperate regions, such as the Indonesian Islands compared to the United Kingdom.

The world’s poorest countries also have the most to lose from global warming and the least leeway for resolutions for these predicted losses. Most of the world’s poorest countries have citizens who depend heavily on agriculture – be it self-sustaining agriculture or agriculture for profit.

As recurring floods, heatwaves, higher-intensity storms, and droughts occur because of the increase in overall temperature, countries that depend on agriculture will suffer the most.

Consequently, deniers tend to think these problems will occur in a future era – if they occur at all. Unbeknownst to them, these problems may occur as soon as the year 2030, according to the World Bank.

A warming world will send an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty ($1.90 per day budget or less), of which nearly half will reside in India. Food prices in Sub-Saharan Africa will spike by 12 percent. One in every 25 people, in the poorest (tropical) regions of the world, will be in extreme poverty by 2030. That is an alarming amount of tragedy in 13 years.

Now that we know how global warming affects the poor, we must act.

James Hardison

Photo: Flickr

What are Climate Refugees and How Can They be Protected?
At the end of 2015, there were 65.3 million refugees worldwide. The global community is struggling to provide resources for the world’s displaced peoples, and the situation has caused both economic and security issues. Many people are ignorant to the fact that there is another group of people who are extremely vulnerable to losing their homes.

Climate refugees, or environmental migrants, are forced to leave their homes because of climatically induced environmental changes or disasters. Specifically, people may be displaced because of drought, a rise in sea level, ecological changes, desertification or extreme weather patterns. Protecting climate change refugees grows increasingly relevant as the number of displaced peoples across the globe continues to skyrocket.

Since 2008, an average of 27 million people have been classified annually as climate refugees and in 2009, the Environmental Justice Foundation declared that nearly 10 percent of the world’s population were at risk in terms of losing their homes to climate change related issues.

As climate change continues to spread and develop, more and more people fall victim to environmental migration. The existence of environmental migrants proves that climate change is not solely about the environment and that its effects reach into many aspects of society, including politics, health and economics. Protecting climate refugees is important, as sources have suggested there could be as many as 50 to 200 million by the year 2050, most of these people being subsistence farmers and fishermen.

Just this year, the U.S. resettled its first climate refugees. The population is from the Isle de Jean Charles in southeastern Louisiana and they had to leave their homes due to severe flooding. In order to resettle its residents, the U.S. government has put forth a $48 million grant and has realized the harsh reality of this problem.

According to the International Organization for Migration, “Climate refugees often fall through the cracks of asylum law.” Currently, it is very difficult for an environmental migrant to achieve refugee status. The term “climate refugee” is not officially recognized by international law and according to the International Bar Association, “there are no frameworks, no conventions, no protocols and no specific guidelines that can provide protection and assistance for people crossing international borders because of climate change.”

The World Bank estimates that with a 1-meter rise in sea level, Bangladesh would lose close to 20 percent of its land mass. Currently, almost 200,000 Bangladeshi’s lose their homes annually due to river erosion and rising sea levels. The islands of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu are already facing significant migration patterns due to the rising sea.

The lack of international protocol regarding climate refugees, such as the ones from Bangladesh and the small islands in the Central Pacific, means that there is also a lack of resources and pathways that can lead these people to a successful resettlement. Because of this, migration experts have been stressing for several years that at risk countries should first look into improving living conditions for vulnerable populations.

This includes helping them secure a consistent access to food and water, rebuilding infrastructure and establishing efficient emergency warning systems. As countries become more aware of their ecological situations, there is more pressure to provide resources for potential climate refugees.

In order to protect climate refugees, there needs to be a change in the international law that defines a “refugee.” The number of people affected in a negative way climatically grows by the day.

Besides advocating for universal policies regarding climate refugees, there are things that can be done to slow climate change and its negative effects. Supporting clean energy and anti-carbon emission related legislation can make a difference in improving the lives of communities who are vulnerable to environmental migration.

Peyton Jacobsen

Photo: Flickr

global_warming
In developed nations, vast annual quantities of greenhouse gas emissions are causing global authorities on climate change to be seriously concerned. The World Resources Institute reported in 2014 that the biggest offenders are China, the U.S. and the E.U.

However, the people who will be most adversely affected by the impacts of climate change will not be developed nations. The real damage will lie between global warming and the world’s poor.

In March 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was held to discuss the growing number of concerns surrounding global warming.

Riding on the coattails of the December United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 20th annual Conference of the Parties, the report was the result of one of the most thorough data collecting and analyzing efforts in climate research history.

The report drew a tragic connection between global warming and the world’s poor, asserting that the most vulnerable, least prepared, most exposed and impoverished communities will be hit the hardest.

A particularly dangerous side effect of global warming will be the destabilization of growing cycles, disrupting and reducing crop yields. This decrease in crop yields drives up the price of food, putting more people in danger of malnourishment.

Another concerning connection between global warming and the world’s poor is that underdeveloped regions are less resilient to weather-related disasters, whether it be drought or hurricane. This lack of weather resistance in a community makes it more vulnerable to an increase in poverty.

The report also found that as resources become tighter the risk of conflict rises. Historically, as food shortages occur, food riots and clashes between farmers and herders over land use, as well as unrest about where and how water should be used, skyrocket.

However, Chris Field, a co-chair of the 2014 U.N. report, said adapting to more sustainable and climate-friendly practices can lessen the blow of climate change.

“Climate-change adaptation is not an exotic agenda that has never been tried. Governments, firms, and communities around the world are building experience with adaptation,” Field said. “This experience forms a starting point for bolder, more ambitious adaptations that will be important as climate and society continue to change.”

Dr. Vicente Barros, who chaired the report, added, “Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.”

Jordan Connell

Sources: UN, World Bank, WRI, The Guardian
Photo: Flickr

 

What Global Warming Means for Food Scarcity
The number of devastating effects that global warming has on the Earth is already staggering. According to a new report, “increased food scarcity” is going to make that list a little longer.

The report, commissioned by the British government and carried out by the U.K.-U.S. Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience, warns of the effects that global climate change will have on the world’s food supply.

“The chance of having a weather-related food shock is increasing, and the size of that shock is also increasing,” said Tim Benton, a population ecology professor at Leeds University. “As these events become more frequent, the imperative for doing something about it becomes even greater.”

The report analyzed the world’s most prominent “commodity crops,” those being maize, soy, wheat and rice, and how extreme weather conditions would impact their availability. Since the majority of those crops come from a small number of countries (the U.S., China and India, primarily), extreme weather could greatly impact their production.

Perhaps the most startling statistic featured in the report is that by 2040, the severity of crop failures once estimated to only occur once a century, will start happening every three decades.

“Action is urgently needed to understand risks better, to improve the resilience of the global food system to weather-related shocks and to mitigate their impact on people,” Benton continued. “Governments and businesses need to prepare people for not being able to eat certain crops or products anymore.”

Alexander Jones

Sources: Business Insider, BBC, Science Magazine
Photo: The Telegraph