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How Does Poverty Impact Society

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People around the world are feeling the subtle and tangible impacts of climate change. Gradual changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and more extreme weather events are ominous evidence of rapid climate change and the urgent need for solutions.

How Does Poverty Impact Society

Although the impacts of climate change will impact every country on every continent, the impacts will not be the same. Those burdened by poverty and oppression often suffer the worst impacts and are least able to cope. Their struggle to make ends meet, feed their families, and build stable homes continues every day as the climate crisis continues.

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The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, forest fires, and drought threaten the livelihoods of frontline communities, forcing people to flee their homes, and endangering their food sources and livelihoods. All of these impacts increase the likelihood of more conflict, hunger and poverty.

Communities still at risk persist, struggling to grow food, reducing resources and coping with recurring disasters. The everyday actions of people in affected regions are as important as large-scale solutions to address the burden of the climate crisis. The steps we take now as a global community, including supporting those on the front lines and bravely facing challenges, will determine our resilience in the future.

The time to act is now, as the US Secretary of State has designated 2021 as a “Make or Break” year to address the climate crisis.

The climate crisis is stigmatized, but efforts to eradicate it are not. Mercy Corps works with people and communities most impacted by climate change, connecting them with information and tools to protect themselves, overcome challenges and thrive in an ever-changing environment.

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Read more about how climate change is fueling conflict and exacerbating hunger and poverty in these communities, and what Mercy Delivery is doing to make them stronger and more resilient in the face of change.

Climate change strains our environment, as well as the economic, social, and political systems on which society depends for food, security, and income. Whether it is unbearable heat waves, harsh winters, or extreme weather events such as recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, climate change endangers people’s lives by hindering development and causing shortages of basic needs such as food and water.

In March 2019, Cyclone Idi hit communities in South Africa, sweeping away homes, crops and critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Here, families in Zimbabwe try to retrieve their belongings from the rubble.

Climate change threatens clean air, depletes water resources, and limits food supplies. It disrupts lives, drives many families from their homes and pushes people into poverty.

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A 2015 study found that the world had lost a third of its arable land over the past 40 years, largely due to climate disasters and poor conservation. More trees and land are lost every year. More than 1.3 billion people live on degraded agricultural land, which causes crop failure and leads to hunger, poverty and displacement. Soil, which is critical to the health of plants and ecosystems, is being lost 10 to 100 times faster than it is being created, although recent research shows that conservation measures can be helpful.

Meanwhile, natural disasters often occur and cause negative impacts. There were 396 incidents in 2019 – more than the annual average in the previous decade – affecting 95 million people worldwide and causing economic losses of $103 billion. These losses are impossible for families living in poverty to overcome.

As climate events worsen, communities are also threatened by gradual changes, such as rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall.

Drought affects around 55 million people each year, and its damage impacts the agricultural sector – the main source of food and income for many people in developing countries. Between 2008 and 2018, more than 80% of drought losses were caused by the agricultural sector in middle- and low-income countries, and crop and livestock losses caused by all natural disasters in these countries in the same period were equivalent to heat sufficient. 7 million people per year.

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As this situation developed, food shortages forced many families to leave their homes and migrate to other countries.

“When we don’t get rain like now, we will face big challenges. There are no products, you go to the store and find food prices going up, but you are still unemployed.” – Simon, a farmer in drought-stricken Kenya

Climate change is one of the many causes of conflict around the world: it causes food shortages, threatens livelihoods, and displaces entire populations. Instability remains a threat if institutions and governments fail to manage pressures or absorb climate change shocks.

Although communities around the world are feeling the impacts of climate change, the most vulnerable groups are those living in the world’s poorest countries, such as Haiti and Timor-Leste, which have limited financial capacity to respond to disasters, as well as countries with populations of 2, 5 billion people in the world. small farmers. , pastoralists and fisheries that depend on climate and natural resources for food and income.

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Increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, changing seasons and natural disasters pose a disproportionate threat to these populations, endangering their livelihoods and increasing the risk of poverty and hunger.

Juliana, 24, and her brother Ethanislav, 35, work on their family farm in Timor-Leste. The family relies primarily on coffee, vegetables and greens to survive.

Farmers in Niger have to face the gap of hunger every year – that is, when one year’s food supplies run out, but the next harvest is not yet ready. Climate change has lengthened the dry season, and with it families have had to go without food. The Mercy Outreach team works with farmers like these to help them grow stronger crops and strengthen their families. Photo: Sean Sheridan for Twilight Legion

Most of those living in poverty depend on agriculture and natural resources to survive. For these people, the impacts of climate change—changes in weather, limited water resources, and increased competition for resources—are a matter of life and death. Climate change has turned their lives into a futile guessing game.

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Long-standing tensions between farmers and herders in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” region have been exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. Thousands of people were killed and displaced as violence and revenge attacks increased.

Conflict is a major cause of poverty and suffering in the world today. And climate change is getting worse.

By exacerbating existing environmental, social, political and economic challenges, climate change exacerbates conflicts between resources and competition. This also exacerbates existing conflicts and tensions.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, changes in the timing and magnitude of rain disrupt food production and increase competition for arable land, leading to ethnic tensions and conflict.

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In regions such as central Nigeria and Karamoja, Uganda, where resource scarcity has long been a challenge, climate change is increasingly reducing grazing and water resources, fueling competition and violence.

“There is not enough land. … Relations [between people] are not very good. Take agriculture and animal husbandry as an example. Because there is not enough land, livestock encroach on farmers’ crops. “This can lead to problems, crises and law enforcement involvement.” – Habibu, a herdsman in a resource-poor region of Nigeria

While climate change can cause conflict, it also offers opportunities for cooperation. These challenges provide unique opportunities for collective action and cooperation to reduce impacts, and the security of frontline communities depends on cooperation in conflict.

“The community is concerned because floods disrupt our daily activities, so we always try to communicate and adapt when floods occur around us. “I’m happy to be in the community right now because we as a community are dealing with flooding.” – Sagiman, one of the flood-prone communities in Indonesia

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Floods and droughts due to climate change make food production increasingly difficult. As a result, food prices rise and access becomes increasingly limited, putting many people at risk of starvation.

Malnutrition is the greatest health impact of climate change in the 21st century. The number of people suffering from malnutrition worldwide has been increasing since 2014, reaching almost 690 million in 2019 – almost 9% of the world’s population. Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the fastest increases. The number of malnourished people in Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 9 million between 2015 and 2019.

Much of this increase is due to increasingly severe weather and increased conflict, which may be caused or exacerbated by climate change-related stressors. The Global Report on Food Crisis 2020 recently reported

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