Climate change is not the only crisis we face, not even the only environmental crisis. It is all too easy for some to write off climate change because poverty is a bigger issue, or the economic crisis. Others are moving their attention away from human crises such as AIDS or poverty, because there are more votes to be won from climate change.
We have to keep climate change in perspective. We must not let it hijack every other agenda, no matter how big a challenge it may be. Neither can we claim that it is only one of many problems because it is so inter-linked with everything else – deforestation, species loss, pollution, erosion, all of these are tied together, and they in turn affect poverty and development, which impacts on conflict and human rights.
A holistic approach recognises the challenge of climate change, but does not overemphasise it or use it for political gain. Solutions that combat climate change and benefit the poor at the same time should be priortised. Certainly no money should be diverted from aid to climate change adaptation, although there may well be some crossover.
A holistic approach can bring campaigns and action groups together, and some NGOS are recognising this already, advocating climate change action as part of their service to the poor.
(Part six of a series – introduction, humility, intelligence, honesty, grace)