For most Americans, Earth Day symbolizes the need to protect the natural environment – specifically clean air, clean water, and pristine rivers and forests. In the years following the first Earth Day in 1970, some of our nation’s most important environmental laws were adopted, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act. Actors like Meryl Streep also caught the attention of America’s mothers by bringing attention to pesticides in the food that we feed our children every day.
Crisis after crisis, natural and climate change-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and storms have displaced people from their homes in countries around the world. Though a causal link between any weather event and climate change is difficult to prove, climatologists have long believed that climate change will result in an increase in extreme weather events. Floods, droughts, and storms almost always impact the lives of individuals, forcing them to flee their homes as a result of safety or reduced food supply, among other factors.
By Isabel Rutherfurd, Refugees International Intern
Speaking to Burmese in Yangon last December, I heard a lot of cautious optimism and relief about the reforms inspired by the government’s transition to democracy.
After a 20 year absence from Capitol Hill, former Secretary of State George Shultz returned last Friday to urge members of Congress to act on climate change.
Many might find this surprising since Shultz served under President Ronald Reagan and few of his fellow Republicans support action to combat climate change. But it is Shultz’s economic and national security expertise that spurred his case for U.S. leadership on this issue.
The day Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast, I was in Mali, a country in West Africa’s Sahel region. As a native New Yorker, I was stunned and dismayed to see pictures of the flooded streets and tunnels of Manhattan, of destroyed homes and schools on Staten Island, and of thousands of my fellow New Yorkers displaced and in shelters. But I was even more struck by the indiscriminate nature of what I was witnessing both in Mali (one of the world’s poorest countries) and the United States (one of its richest): massive humanitarian emergencies resulting from more extreme weather.
This post originally appeared at UN Dispatch.
This post originally appeared at Think Africa Press.
In a darkly-lit house on a dusty, garbage-strewn street on the outskirts of Bamako, an elderly couple and a man in a white robe are seated on the floor. Amadou, the owner of the home, is approximately 70 years old and a retired gardener. He says that since rebels took over northern Mali last April, 16 members of his extended family have come to live with him, having been forced to flee their hometown of Timbuktu.
This post originally appeared at ThinkProgress Security.
Poverty and malnutrition are chronic in the countries of the Sahel, a region in northern Africa stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and the surrounding area is hardly a paragon of political stability. This year, however, a confluence of man-made and natural disasters has sent the region into a tailspin.
Today, RI submitted an open letter to the members of the UN Security Council. With the UN scheduled to convene a high-level meeting on the Sahel on September 26, the letter puts before the Council recommendations for assisting and protecting vulnerable populations in the region. It urges Council members to ramp up humanitarian and development assistance in the Sahel, and demands that any UN-approved peacekeeping force in the region protect civilians and support humanitarian efforts.
September 13, 2012
In February 2012, RI visited the riverside community of Gambote, in Colombia's Bolívar Department. We spoke with Manuel Suárez, a local indigenous leader who had been displaced by violence in neighboring Córdoba Department. But as Manuel told us in the video below, his community needed to be relocated again – this time because of devastating floods in the area.