STAND needs your help to raise awareness about the impact of climate change and to inspire students to take action. Your entry can be anything that can be photographed, scanned or represented visually, including: photography, paintings, drawings, posters, graphic art, comics, illustration, collage, graffiti, street art, sculpture, installations, recycled art, poetry or prose (max 50 words).
The deadline for entries is 28 April 2019. Submit your details for an application pack and see further information and resources below.
Climate change has a direct impact on education around the globe, particularly where economies largely depend on agriculture, for example in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural economies depend on temperature and rainfall. Drought and increasing temperatures bring poor harvests and food scarcity, which in turn lead to less income for individual families. With less money to spend, necessities such as food take precedence over schooling fees, and children are also more likely to be pulled out of school to work and contribute to the family income.
Extreme weather events, such as heavy rains accompanied by flash floods, strong winds and hail storms also have an impact. Infrastructural damage to buildings and roads causes disruption to classes and reduced availability of safe drinking water and compromised sanitation increases the incidence of weather-related diseases such as malaria and diarrhoeal diseases, leading to absenteeism and withdrawal of children from school.
TRADE & LIVELIHOODS
A direct consequence of climate change on international trade and subsequent livelihoods comes from more frequent extreme weather events and rising sea levels. Supply, transport and distribution chain infrastructures are likely to become more vulnerable to disruptions due to climate change.
Climate change, for instance, has a direct bearing on jobs and incomes in affected geographies, and especially in regions that depend on agriculture. For example, in Tanzania, changes in the average temperature and rainfall patterns extend dry seasons and make periodic droughts more severe, directly altering the livelihood of thousands of farmers and their families who depend on rainwater for harvesting.
These types of changes set off a chain reaction that disturbs a whole host of ancillary services and sectors – the indirect impact of climate change on jobs and incomes. As crop yields fall in Tanzania for example, because of changes in precipitation, this has a knock-on effect on those responsible for transporting the products to market, and the associated processing and export industries. Retailers, meanwhile, may see their inventories diminish or consumer demand dwindle as market prices rise or fluctuate unpredictably in response to disruptions in the supply chain.
Environmental change and natural disasters have always been major drivers of migration. However, climate change predictions for the 21st century indicate that even more people are expected to be on the move as weather-related disasters such as extreme precipitations and temperatures become more frequent and intense, and changes to climate conditions impact on livelihoods.
Storms, floods, droughts, as well as earthquakes, are affecting millions of people everywhere each year. Communities have to migrate due to unlivable conditions, lack of food security, lack of clean water and sanitation, lack of employment, and so on. In 2017, a total of 18,780,000 people across the world were displaced from their homes due to adverse weather conditions as a result of climate change. In Cuba alone, 1,738,000 people were displaced due to Hurricane Irma, while in Somalia, 892,000 people were displaced because of drought.
Although sudden-onset natural disasters are more likely to result in mass displacement, a larger number of people overall is expected to migrate due to a gradual deterioration of environmental conditions. Slow-onset disasters and gradual environmental degradation, including phenomena such as desertification, reduction of soil fertility, coastal erosion and sea-level rise, associated with climate change, impact existing livelihood patterns and systems of production and may trigger different types of migration. In Kiribati, for example, rising ocean waters are threatening to shrink the island’s land area, increase storm damage, destroy its crop-growing lands and ultimately displace its people long before the islands are submerged.
– The Guardian: Waiting for the tide to turn – Kiribati’s fight for survival
– Climate change is already impacting people and leading to environmental migration
– International Organisation for Migration
– UNHCR – Environment, Disasters and Climate Change
– Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
A new GFDRR-supported report shows that climate change is an acute threat to poorer people across the world, with the power to push more than 100 million people back into poverty over the next fifteen years. And the poorest regions of the world – Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – will be hit the hardest.
Climate impacts will affect agriculture the most, a key sector in the poorest countries and a major source of income, food security, nutrition, jobs, livelihoods and export earnings. The majority of the world’s poor men and women are directly reliant on their environment for survival. Their livelihoods are based on the use of natural resources for agriculture, fishing, livestock rearing, forestry and traditional medicines. A reduction in the quantity or quality of these resources has a direct impact on the well-being and vulnerability of the poorest members of society.
It is estimated that by 2030, crop yield losses could mean that food prices would be 12 percent higher on average in Sub-Saharan Africa. The strain on poor households, who spend as much as 60 percent of their income on food, could be acute. Access to food could become more difficult, putting many vulnerable communities at risk of hunger and severe malnutrition. Increasingly unpredictable weather patterns can also increase their risk and their dependency on humanitarian aid.
Given existing gender inequalities and development gaps, climate change ultimately places a greater burden on women. Studies show that women are more likely than men to be affected by climate change, with 80% of people displaced by climate change being female.
Men and women are affected by climate change in different ways, because of the societal and cultural roles and responsibilities made on them by families and communities. Climate change and subsequent damage to water, land, and clean air impacts women disproportionately. Women have to walk farther when water and firewood runs out, work harder for less income when erratic weather patterns wreak havoc on crops, and die at higher rates when natural disasters strike.
Furthermore, consequences of climate change, such as severe drought, open up issues of child marriage and sexual exploitation of women. When poor families, who are reliant on agriculture for income, are hit hard due to drought, daughters of the family may be sold as child brides to curb the risk if hunger for the rest of the family. In other cases, women and girls are pushed into sex slavery or prostitution in order to provide for the family when other employment opportunities are scarce.
– BBC News: Climate change impacts women more than men
– CCN: Women hold the key to curbing climate change
– The Guardian: Why climate change is creating a new generation of child brides
– Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice
– UN Women
Ireland’s Deadly Environmental Sins
When we think about climate change, the main sources of carbon emissions that come to mind for most of us are heavy industries like petroleum, mining and transportation. Rarely do we point the finger at computer technologies.
Have you ever considered the impact your phone has on the environment? Emissions released from smartphones globally are expected to reach 11% by 2020, more than doubling from 4% in 2010. According to Apple, 77% of the greenhouse emissions they produce come from the manufacturing process alone, while 17% of emissions are produced from consumers using the product. Phone plans that encourage users to get a new smartphone every two years also contribute to this excessive carbon footprint, accelerating the rate at which older models become obsolete and leading colossal levels of waste.
To tackle the environmental issues surrounding smartphone, Fairphone launched a movement for fairer electronics, and designed a modular phone that’s built to last.
It is now a very widely-known fact that plastic is detrimental to the environment. Although much is being done to tackle the use of plastic, it can still be found everywhere we look – from the straw we drink from, the shopping package we receive in the post, and the plastic found within our electronic devices.
The problem is that plastics are a major pollutant to the environment due to their inability to degrade naturally having a life cycle that can extend to millennia. This means that as more and more plastics end up being dumped in landfills, decomposition does not take place, adding no value on earth and contributing massively to global warming.There are many local campaigns focused on reducing the use of plastic here in Ireland, from Irish Pubs Global’s campaign to give up plastic straws, to Friends of the Earth’s ‘Sick of Plastic’ campaign.
The majority of us use online retailers for shopping, whether it be books from Amazon, crafts from Etsy or clothes from Ebay. It’s generally cheaper, more convenient and saves you a whole lot of time, but have you thought of the impact of your online shopping on the environment?
Between the cardboard box it comes in, and the sometimes huge amount of Styrofoam, plastic coverings, sticky tape and other bits and pieces found inside the typical package, online shopping is creating an ever-growing problem. And the packaging isn’t the only problem. Have you ever considered just how far your shopping has to travel just to get to your front door? An increase in the use of online shopping also increases the number of trucks on the road. With more trucks come increased greenhouse gas emissions, a worrying trend considering the alarming rate of global warming.
What is being done to tackle this issue? Some large online retailers are looking at environmentally friendly packaging in an attempt to reduce their emissions footprint, For example, the Chinese arm of the global cosmetics company, L’Oreal have teamed up with Alibaba to trial green packaging.
One of the most widely produced greenhouse gases in the world is methane. This gas traps heat within the atmosphere. As research postulates, the biggest producer of methane gas is farmed livestock. In this sense, the production of animal products is a large contributor of methane, a greenhouse gas mostly from animal manure and enteric fermentation. By continuing to demand meat products, the farmers continue to increase the supply of the goods by keeping more animals and in turn leading to more greenhouse gases. This cycle breeds more problems for the environment.
High street brands such as Zara, H&M, Primark, and ASOS dominate the fashion market by providing cheap as chips clothing with a rapid turnover of styles, allowing the fashion conscious millennial to keep up with the latest trends. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in consumerist culture, and as a result clothes are being made faster, cheaper and of poorer quality to keep up with the demand. This ‘fast fashion’ phenomenon is sparking an environmental crisis. As these cheap, poor quality clothes fall apart and out-date so easily, we discard quicker and quicker, forming literal mountains of clothing that nobody wants and nobody knows what to do with.
The fashion industry is now the second largest generator of pollution on Earth after oil, with 300,000 tonnes of used clothing going to landfill in 2016 in the UK alone. And when clothing made of natural fibres like cotton ends up in landfill, it behaves much like food waste; producing the greenhouse gas methane as it degrades in the environment. Synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon are essentially made of plastic – and don’t biodegrade at all. Both types of clothing will also have been bleached, dyed and printed with chemicals during the production process and once in landfill, these chemicals leach into the soil and groundwater, creating massive environmental issues.
On both a local and global scale, there are many initiatives and campaigns that work to raise awareness about the dangers of fast fashion, such as the NU Wardrope’s swap shops, and Jigsaw’s For Life Not Landfill campaign.
By not recycling, we send too many resources to the landfills such as plastics and glass. Recycling conserves energy and resources by repurposing already produced goods. This means that the energy that should have gone into the production of wholly new goods can be repurposed or conserved.
Certain everyday items cannot be recycled due to their nature – for example, disposable coffee cups are impossible to recycle due to the combination of plastic and paper in their design. In Ireland it is estimated that we dispose of over 22,000 of these non-recyclable cups every hour.
The Conscious Cup Campaign works to curb the high usage of disposable cups by promoting and incentivising the use of reusable cups.
At present, 43% of energy used in Ireland comes from transport. Total mileage by private cars here is now over 35 billion kilometres per year, a 52% increase since the year 2000. The average car releases 4 tons of carbon dioxide each year; this greenhouse gas being a big contributor to climate change. Vehicles also release several other pollutants that can cause problems for people with asthma and sometimes lead to birth defects, cancer, and serious illnesses.
There are many local campaigns that work to reduce the number of people using private transport on a daily basis. Examples include: Dublin Cycling Campaign, which raises awareness of the benefits of cycling on the environment, and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s #DrivingElectric campaign.
Growing, producing, and smoking tobacco have a high cost for the environment, according to a new study from the World Health Organization (WHO). Manufacturing cigarettes causes deforestation, leaving the soil without critical nutrients. After they’re disposed, cigarette butts eventually become toxic waste since they are not biodegradable.
Smoking also releases pollutants — such as ammonia, nicotine, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides — into the environment.
USING FOSSIL FUELS
Fossil fuels are used to produce energy; in the home they are burned to produce heat, in large power stations they are used to produce electricity and they are also used to power engines.
Costs accrue at every point of the fossil fuel supply chain. Extraction processes can generate air and water pollution, and harm local communities. Transporting fuels from the mine or well can cause air pollution and lead to serious accidents and spills. When the fuels are burned, they emit toxins and global warming emissions. Even the waste products are hazardous to public health and the environment.
There is an urgent challenge to reduce the use of fossil fuels, which still account for over 90% of all the energy use here in Ireland. One way this has been done, is through the passing of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill in Ireland in July 2018.
Paper is used on a daily basis by human beings in different forms. Examples include the use of paper towels in the kitchen, tissues in the toilet, and in the print media for our daily reads. Regardless our daily use of paper, what we as humans overlook, is that, it is made from trees.
Since it has a steady increase in demand due to our lifestyle and the altered definition of hygiene, we are constantly cutting down trees to fulfil market demands. It has therefore increased the number of trees to cut down every year persistently contributing to deforestation.
NON FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS
When doing your grocery shopping each week, do you ever take a moment to consider the true impact of buying fairtrade? When we buy products in our local supermarkets that are not fairtrade certified, the impact on vulnerable communities can be astonishing. For example, products that are non-fairtrade could mean that certain environmental standards were not met when farming these products, and that local farmers were not paid fairly for their produce. Farmers who struggle to make ends meet are often forced to engage in cheap agricultural practices that compromise surrounding ecosystems.
Purchasing products that are fair trade certified can reduce poverty, encourage environmentally friendly production methods and safeguard humane working conditions. Here in Ireland, Fairtrade Ireland host campaigns and initiatives that support people in choosing to buy fair trade.