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Links Between Climate Change & Extreme Poverty

When we began our Rode RAGE program several years ago, we did so purely as a “Ride Against Greenhouse Emissions” to encourage “normal” people to do what they could to reduce their greenhouse emissions.
Then we thought that Climate Change was a bit too distant of a concept to be focusing upon whilst there were so many people dying of starvation right now so we decided to try to do something about both issues, not really thinking that the two were linked.
We soon discovered that the two are inextricably linked….this is a complex issue but in a nutshell:

  1. Those of us that live in Western Urban areas notice climate change via strange weather patterns, increased insurance costs, not being allowed to water our gardens when we want and increased prices for food items and other goods…inconvenient but not yet a major problem for most. Those who live in the rural areas of developed countries are hit harder. Snow at Christmas in Victoria a few years ago, unseasonal storms like Cyclone Larry in Queensland and little or inconsistent rainfall for many years has destroyed crops, and meant people’s incomes have been severely restricted but:

In developing countries and for much of the world’s population…storms and droughts are literally a matter of life and death on a daily basis. 900,000,000 people go to bed hungry each night and 27,000 children die each day from starvation or preventable diseases.


If it doesn’t rain in Ballarat many people are financially inconvenienced and may even have to miss some meals.


If it doesn’t rain in Sudan, hundreds of thousands of people die of starvation.

  1. Much of the world’s population does not yet have access to the electricity and motorised transport that we take for granted. If they all start getting electricity and transport using the same methods we have been using then the world’s greenhouse emissions will suddenly start growing exponentially and the effects of climate change will impact much more severely on all of us.
  2. The developed nations’ desire to burn less fossil fuels in recent years has led to massive amounts of land which used to produce food being used to produce Biofuels which has led to a massive world wide food shortage and many hundreds of thousands of deaths in developing nations.

For more information on projects addressing 2. see http://www.ata.org.au/projects-and-advocacy/international-projects-group and for more high brow information on the links between Poverty and Climate Change go to http://www.research4development.info/news.asp?ArticleID=50276 or http://trans.worldvision.com.au/news/newsonline/viewArticle_enh.asp?articleID=501