Aidlink welcomes the decision by the UK government to pass a motion to declare a formal climate and environment emergency.
This decision comes in response to school climate strikers and other groups campaigning against climate change. The Labour Party pledged to work closely with countries to combat climate catastrophe and to challenge Donald Trump, as President of the world’s biggest polluter, the USA, on his stance of ignoring international agreements and action on the climate crisis.
We in Aidlink have seen first-hand the effects of climate change on communities we work with. In Kenya in particular, our target counties of Turkana and Kajiado are now experiencing severe drought every 2-3 years where previously it was every 10-15. This leaves communities unable to recover sufficiently before the next crisis, and has the most profound impact on children, particularly girls. Children are denied an education as they are forced to travel for kilometers in search of water. Boys are forced to leave school to herd the animals and girls are married off for dowries or even betrothed on credit.
Today, in Turkana, the latest drought means that children are walking for up to 4 hours each day to collect water. The drought there has left over half a million people facing acute hunger. Aidlink is working on the ground and has launched an appeal for funds to respond to this crisis with an Emergency School Feeding Programme.
While this is a short-term response in response to an immediate crisis, real change will require coordinated policy and efforts on a global stage to reduce carbon emissions, implement the Paris Accord, and limit global warming.
We hope that the Irish government follows the example set by their UK counterparts in order to scale up efforts to respond to the biggest crisis facing our planet today.
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