climate change development globalisation human rights poverty

The climate justice campaign

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CAFOD’s latest campaign picks up on one of our recurring themes, that climate change is not just an environmental issue, but a matter of human rights. Here’s the blurb from the website:

Climate change is an issue of justice: it hits the world’s poorest communities first and hardest

They are already bearing the brunt of droughts, floods and extreme weather conditions, while developed nations use more than their fair share of the Earth’s resources.

We are calling on the rich to take more responsibility for tackling climate change. Our international campaign calls for a fair and binding deal at the UN which puts poor communities at its heart.

In response, CAFOD call for simpler and sustainable living, as well as political action. They pull no punches on linking affluent lifestyles in one part of the world to climate destruction elsewhere:

“The greed that underpins many developed countries’ economies and personal lifestyles is pushing the world’s poorest to the edge of existence,” says CAFOD director Chris Bain. “Developing countries bear the brunt of climate change and yet have done the least to cause it.”

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9 comments

  1. You’re very welcome to live in a tent in the rain forest eating bugs and roots. To force the rest of us to live that way will meet fierce resistance. The true God of the Universe, not your contrived earth god, gave it to us to use – not abuse – but use. In what way will the rest of us living in squalor help them? Why don’t you look for ways to help them get clean water and electricity? I do every time I give to missions at my church. Ask your “victims” if they’d prefer air-conditioning over the 115 degree heat of sub-saharan Africa or other place? Do you think they’d like to sit in a soft chair and watch a funny movie on a flat screen TV in an air-conditioned house? 10 to 1 says they would. Most of the time it’s their own governments that keep them in that condition, not us.

  2. Wow, there’s the voice of someone who has completely misunderstood climate change, not to mention this post.

    But let me refer you back to your own comment – you say God has given us the earth to use, and I agree. But when our use of the earth causes drought and starvation in poorer parts of the world, is that use, or abuse?
    When our air pollution causes cancers and asthma, and our CO2 emissions raise the temperature of the earth and put lives at risk, is that use or abuse?
    As we cut down the forests and pollute the seas, and oversee the next wave of extinctions, is that use or abuse?

    If your ‘true God of the universe’ thinks that’s okay, then God help us.

  3. Perhaps I was a bit strong, but you have no solid evidence that any of that is happening due to man’s existence or contribution. For every article that says we are there’s an article that says we aren’t. “Climate change” is naturally cyclical. If we’re destroying the environment and causing so much chaos, why is our average lifespan constantly increasing? We are not in favor of wantonly polluting the air WE breathe or the water WE drink. We’re pretty much sick of that accusation. It is ridiculous. I understand “climate change” well. Besides making Al Gore tens of millions of dollars, it is an attack on our way of life – pure and simple. Western civilization has done more to clean up the earth than any previous civilization. We’re the ones that made medicines readily available to the masses and we give away huge amounts to poor countries. We’re the ones that mandate chimney filters for our manufacturers. We’re the ones that developed water treatment and desalinization plants to get fresh water where there is none. We send our people with trainloads of food to “developing” countries. A misnomer in most cases. The problem with poor countries is inside their borders, not us.

  4. This whole blog is about evidence for those things! I can point you to reports on every one of those things.

    I don’t believe you’re in favour of polluting, I think you’re choosing not to believe it happens, and writing off environmentalism as ‘liberalism’, ‘socialism’, ‘alarmism’, or any convenient ‘ism’ that means life can go on as it is.

    It’s crazy to describe these things as ‘an attack’ on your way of life. Does Al Gore, a man who ran for president, really want to dismantle America? Does Obama secretly long to send the US back into the dark ages? Who would benefit from that? Who could possibly stand to gain from it?

    And when you say Western civilization has cleaned up the earth – it didn’t need cleaning up until we came along! Nature didn’t have chimneys that we had to put filters on.

    I don’t want to be harsh, but at some point you have to detach the environment from your politics, and open your eyes to the realities of the world.

  5. I live in Ohio, and my environment is beautiful! We have clean air, clean water, green grass and large trees everywhere I look. I love nature and appreciate it. I love to go to the Smokey Mountains with my kids to wander them and play in the Little Pigeon River. However, I don’t place the value of any of these above man. God did not create a fragile system. A single major volcanic eruption spews more junk into the atmosphere than decades of automobiles. Don’t you think He took that into account?Please don’t let yourself fall into the category that man is purely destructive and nature is just pure. Being that there are billions of us, That’s a recipe for a very unhappy life. ff

  6. Then you are really privileged! But if you live in one of the beautiful, clean areas of the world it’s easy to forget the world isn’t all like that. I’m in London right now, and if I open the window I get a layer of black dust across my desk within a couple of hours – black particulate from the exhaust fumes outside. I keep my window shut, because I know those black particles are carcinogenic.

    I know the earth is good and that God gave it to us to enjoy. I don’t for a moment think that humans are only destructive, and I certainly wouldn’t ever place the environment over people. The problem is that we’re part of the ecosystem. If the air or the water is polluted, people get sick. If the temperature goes up, people die in heatwaves. If rainfall patterns change, crops die and people go hungry. We can’t consider ourselves separate from the world around us, we depend on it for every breath.

    Even Ohio is affected by climate change, and I’d encourage you to look into it. For example, the water level of Lake Erie has dropped by 3.5 feet, and in the winter of 2002, the lake didn’t freeze.

    These aren’t important things just because the lake is somehow special, but because people are affected too. A dropping water level will mean ships have to carry lighter loads or risk grounding, and that will make shipping more expensive and hurt the economy. Ice fishing businesses really suffered in 2002.

    For more on how Ohio could be affected by climate change, there’s a report here:

    Click to access Ohio%20Economic%20Impacts%20of%20Climate%20Change.pdf

    Oh, and by the way, despite all this I actually lead a very happy life! Beneath the outward differences, you and I both share a faith that is full of hope.

  7. Glad to hear you enjoy life. Pity those that don’t. My point to all this is that government has a very long track record of moving in haste, creating more problems than it fixes and then eventually implements another “fix.” There are plenty of scientists out here that disavow the warming assumption and actually claim we’re in a cycle of cooling. What is the hurry if you are right? The reports I’ve seen use a figure of less than 3 degress over a century. It’s not like we’ll walk out one day and burn up. Man will adapt and continue to exist. Yes, the poorest will be hurt the most, but in what circumstance is that ever not the case, be it economic, weather or war? We need more rich people to have the money to help, not less. We both know how responsible governments are with money. Our President has recently proposed decreasing the deductions for charitable giving. Should that make us stop giving? No, but it takes our freedom to give to the charity of our choice and puts it in the hands of those least capable of doing the most good. Thanks for the conversation. You’re right, we’re not all that different, so let’s work together and do things right – not just fast.

  8. Well, 3 degrees doesn’t sound like much, but the earth is in a fine balance. Like the human body. Our temperature is usually around 98-99, and if it’s gone up three degree then something is badly wrong.

    The reason for doing things fast is that climate change can still be stopped, and thousands of lives would be saved. That’s worth doing to me.

  9. I’m just asking that you look at trends over a long time, not a decade or two, but as far back as you can that will account for the cyclical changes in Earth’s temperatures. We deniers can’t say that since we’ve had two record cold winters in a row means that the Earth is cooling, and we can’t allow that a couple hot summers prove the Earth is warming. We have to look at the whole picture. Thanks for not just calling me names and ranting, which is a common mode of conversation on many blogs and partially why I came on so strong initially. Enjoy the Earth! ff

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