Earth Day: Let’s Tackle Climate Change
It’s been one year since the world came together to sign the first comprehensive climate change deal: the Paris Agreement.
To date, 142 countries have ratified the agreement that says we must respond and adapt to the urgent threat of climate change, But this Earth Day, the outlook is less positive.
The Trump administration in the United States has signaled their desire to “scrap” the agreement and has branded it “a bad deal”. With 97% of climate scientists agreeing that climate change is real and is caused by human activities, it is urgent we all do what we can to reduce carbon emissions into our atmosphere.
With the climate changing, so is the frequency and intensity of disasters.
Floods, prolonged droughts and super storms – once relatively rare are becoming increasingly common. The places, people and animals paying the highest price are usually those least able to afford it. Small island nations like Kiribati are in danger of disappearing due to rising sea levels. Deadly storm surges wash away coastal villages and farms. Droughts cause crops to fail and push already poor small hold farmers into extreme poverty.
Animals are affected in the same ways people are.
They are killed in the millions from lack of food and water, they are vulnerable to disease outbreaks from standing, stagnant flood waters or weakened by unending heat and drought. But unlike us, animals have no voice, no ability to lobby for better policies or make environmentally sound decisions about what to buy and recycle.
World Animal Protection works with small hold farmers, pastoralists and pet owners to improve their preparedness for disasters and reduce their vulnerability. In some places, we have initiated early warning systems so communities and their animals can evacuate before a cyclone hits. In others, we have helped them with food and water storage to get them through the dangerous or lean times. We also work with governments, influencing policies so animals receive protection in community, municipal and national disaster plans.
Our lobbying work achieved another first in 2015 with the recognition in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, that in order to protect people’s livelihoods, national governments and local communities must focus their disaster-related policies on “the protection of productive assets, including livestock, working animals, tools and seeds”. As a result, billions of animals can look forward to a future where their lives and welfare matter and are included in preparedness and risk reduction measures.
On 22 April, we challenge you to take two actions:
First, come up with an emergency plan for your pets and livestock. Make sure your animals immunisations are up to date. Prepare an emergency reserve of food and water for both you and your pets.
But preparing is not enough. With droughts that show no end in sight, breaking records in a number of recent typhoons and cyclones, storm surges looming like tsunamis over coastal farms, we must also act to curb the engine driving this terrible trend: climate change.
Second: be a voice for your animals.
If you, like 97% of climate scientists, agree that we are the problem making climate change worse, contact your political representative, your workplace, talk to your friends and find out what they are doing to reduce the stresses on the world’s climate. Maintaining The Paris Agreement may seem out of reach to you and me, but if we all take a few small steps, together we can move the world.
On this Earth Day, think of all of us on earth – humans and animals – and do something good for our planet.
Go to http://www.worldanimalprotection.or.ke/ and sign up our petition to back up Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
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