Saving Our Homes: Time for Urgent Action on World Environment Day – World – Low Calorie Diets Tips

On World Environment Day 2022, our Head of Global Advocacy, Shahin Ashraf, explains why we are behind the #OnlyOneEarth campaign.

Call for global, unified and transformative action

As climate change continues to ravage communities around the world, the responsibility of building a greener and more sustainable planet becomes increasingly urgent. To mitigate the extent of the damage and build resilience in vulnerable communities, it is critical that we take bold and swift action that focuses on the experiences of communities at the forefront of climate change.

Above all, such engagement requires collective action: the compassion and unity shown by the international community, for example in the recent Ukraine crisis, illustrates the opportunities that arise when we work together. This kind of concerted, swift and decisive action can – and must – be extended to the climate crisis.

Indeed, our failure has grave consequences, with the most marginalized groups bearing the brunt.

‘At the mercy of the sea’: Sea encroachment displaces people in Pakistan

In Pakistan, one of the countries hardest hit by climate change according to a 2020 report, escalating earthquakes, floods and droughts have left local communities struggling to survive. Ateef, a 65-year-old security guard in Dasi, is just one of over 860,000 climate refugees displaced from their homeland.

After working as a fisherman and farmer in his hometown of Babloo for 30 years, Ateef was forced to migrate along with his community after losing his land and livestock due to sea intrusions and lack of fresh water. In Dasi, where they now live, Ateef explains that they lack access to fresh water, education and medical infrastructure – the latter leading to major health problems such as asthma, diarrhea and pregnancy complications for women.

“We live a very miserable life,” Ateef tells us, “our children have no school or madrasa (religious school) to attend. We also have no electricity or sanitary facilities. We are all at the mercy of the sea.”

To provide aid and develop resilience strategies, Islamic Relief works with local communities in Pakistan to implement innovative and sustainable projects. Our projects include, among other things, the introduction of structures for rainwater harvesting and training courses on climate-adaptive agriculture. Such interventions help farmers ensure their crops are protected from drought. Islamic Relief also supports local communities in rebuilding housing, small businesses and sanitation.

Adaptation to disturbed agricultural practices in Indonesia

Farmers in Indonesia are similarly facing loss of livelihoods as climate change impacts farming practices. Although farmers have traditionally relied on indigenous practices to predict rainfall, such as warige and tumbuk, these practices are now struggling to keep up with changing weather patterns.

“In the past, our elderly people’s predictions were always correct, but nowadays, as climate change affects rainfall, the predictions are sometimes wrong,” explains Ahmad, a leader of the local farmers’ group. This means that salt farmers who have to ripen salt during the dry season are caught off guard by unpredictable rainfall, while rice farmers face a drastic loss in productivity due to prolonged droughts and a shorter rainy season.

Through the Climate Change Field School, Islamic Relief is taking steps to train local people in community-based adaptation methods. This includes measuring daily rainfall and adjusting crop plantations based on quarterly climate forecasts that integrate indigenous knowledge with modern scientific methods, resulting in improved reliability and increased productivity.

Humanitarian Crisis in Ethiopia: Climate Change Meets Conflict

For the fourth consecutive year of no rain, Ethiopia is facing the worst drought in the Horn of Africa since 1981. More than 7 million people are already suffering from malnutrition and 39% of the population lack access to safe water supplies.

As the drought exacerbates the effects of internal conflict, Ethiopians are experiencing acute insecurity and are struggling to sustain their daily lives.

With help from Islamic Relief, Ayana, a 29-year-old mother of two, was able to start a Women’s Village Savings and Loan Association with her local community and use the money saved to buy livestock for the group’s members. However, due to the drought and lack of fodder for the cattle, Ayana and her group were forced to sell the cattle after 1 in 5 cattle died.

Despite this, Ayana is confident about the future: “We have learned above all about the advantages of organizing ourselves in village rescue associations. Our plan now is to grow together by expanding and diversifying our business.”

Going forward, it is critical that we prioritize the stories and insights of communities disproportionately affected by climate change, including those in Pakistan, Indonesia and Ethiopia. We only have one earth and it belongs to all of us.

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