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Protecting Human Rights in a Changing World

Protecting Human Rights in a Changing World
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NOTE: This is a guest post from Tori Timms of The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).

Climate change amplifies the world’s social, economic, political and environmental problems. Its ‘multiplier effect’ is pushing some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people deeper into poverty. Millions already face a daily struggle, living in conditions where they are denied their most basic human rights.

Dilipur Kumar Mandor cultivates brinjals, tomatoes, radishes, rice, and betelnut and coconut trees. Although a small-scale farmer, Dilipur has always produced enough to feed his family with produce left over to sell — until recent years. However, over the last decade crop yields have declined and in some seasons whole crops have failed.

Like most farmers in Bangladesh, Dilipur works according to a traditional farming calendar made up of six seasons. Increasingly unpredictable weather means that long-established farming methods are failing them. He reports that, “Now we see warm weather during winter and cold weather during summer.” Lack of rain is making it harder than ever to produce adequate yields.

Increasing salinity is also a significant problem: Dilipur, his family, and more than a thousand other people living in the area rely on a single open water pond to meet all their fresh water needs, including the water needed to raise livestock. There used to be more fresh water sources, but others have been polluted or contaminated with salt.

The quantity of fish and vegetables that Dilipur’s family eat has declined dramatically. They very rarely consume meat as there is not enough water and food to keep cows, goats, ducks and hens. Overall household incomes in the region have declined. Once self-sufficient, the family now has to buy imported rice.

Poverty and food insecurity are so severe in Rampal thana that Dilipur believes that within two or three years people will no longer be able to live there. His family may have to join the many other communities and families that have had no choice but to abandon their homes and land because their lives and livelihoods are under extreme and unrelenting pressures. Families like Taslima’s.

Taslima and her family were unable to salvage any possessions or building materials from their house when it was destroyed by Cyclone Aila. With nowhere to go, they were forced to live on the little fishing boat that had been used to rescue them. The family lived off emergency food and water rations and anything else that they received through the generosity of their neighbours.

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Photo courtesy of Environmental Justice Foundation.

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5:16AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012


10:17PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

For too long the wealthy nations have ignored the negative consequences of climate change, so now they are forced to deal with all the conflicts that have resulted (and will continue to result) from the suffering caused by global warming. The first modern climate-caused conflict is now believed to be in Darfur (in the Sudan), where prolonged drought and water shortages created a democide (a type of government sponsored genocide). In this case, the government supported brown Muslims (w/ little water) have been killing off the black atheistic/ Christian tribal peoples (w/ available water). Climate change will cause many more of these types of conflicts in the years to come. These conflicts may prove to cost more, in human & financial terms, than it would have cost to deal with global warming problems.

4:29PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Signed. Thanks for the post.

3:24PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

11:53AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Petition signed.

9:59AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Planned parenthood is becoming more important for protecting human rights that are being lost by increasing competition for resources and environmental pollution caused by demands of a growing world population.

If it is good for the environment however, conservatives will be against it, not realizing that a healthy environment means a healthy economy.

9:22AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

A large non-profit seawater desalination plant might help Bangladesh situation. It takes a lot of fresh water to flush salt out of agricultural land. Couldn't sign petition because I had already signed yesterday. We could lose all our port cities to rising sea levels from global warming.

9:16AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

''SIGNED''.....very sad!

8:52AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

heart breaking

6:56AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012


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