Climate Change

ZERO on Climate Change

ZERO Regional Environment Organisation (ZERO) is regional non-governmental organisation based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Founded in 1987 and works with rural and urban communities fostering balanced healthy growth and self-reliance within a rapidly changing world. ZERO has been actively involved in climate change issues since 2003. Since then ZERO has devoted considerable time and energy on building understanding and consensus among the development and environment NGOs about the best ways of tackling climate change at both macro and micro levels and ensuring that the links between climate change and poverty are fully understood and fed into policy-making. This has been achieved through its coordination of the Zimbabwe climate Change Working group (www.ccwgzim.org) and support for regional NGOs through CLACC Programme (www.clacc.net).

In this concern, ZERO has developed various tools and resources to support climate change adaptation practices, integration of climate change risks and adaptation into development policy, planning and operations, capacity building and awareness. ZERO has experience in developing and implementing Climate change Adaptation projects, working with the government, various media, communities and other NGOs. At international level, ZERO works closely with International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and German Watch and The Global Environment Facility on climate change issues and environmental programmes. 

Despite contributing little to global warming, it is the most vulnerable people that already suffer the worst of climate change.Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods ranging from 30 years. Weather: the general condition of the atmosphere at a particular time and place, with regard to the temperature, moisture, cloudiness, etc

Climate change is linked to the presence of GHGs (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide) in the atmosphere. The natural greenhouse effect, however, which is essential to life on earth is ,now being disrupted by human activity due to rising emissions of GHGs

Industrialised countries may debate how reducing emissions will affect them financially, but it is the poorest people in developing countries that are feeling the most severe human, physical, and financial impacts of climate change. They are also the least prepared to protect themselves against this new imposed threat.  Climatologists predict sectoral impacts affecting various sectors from environment, agriculture and food security, health, water resources, economic activities, human migration and physical infrastructure.

What makes the poor more vulnerable?

Lack of assets

When an natural disaster or economic crisis hits in developed countries there is home insurance to help rebuild houses, free emergency healthcare, and in severe cases, government aid and money to help rebuild lives and businesses. Usually, people also have savings or a steady income to fall back on, all of which help them to recover and return to a normal lifestyle.

The world’s poorest people don’t have those mechanisms to fall back on. Without access to savings or loans, and with little opportunity to acquire new skills or take advantage of new opportunities, poor people are often unable to rebuild their lives. What is more, where the climate is changing year on year, there are no spare resources to adjust or adapt practices in order to reduce the impacts.

 Depending on natural resources

People in rural communities generate most of their income from farming, fishing, or livestock rearing and, therefore, rely on the natural resources available to them. In Zimbabwe 70% of the population rely on natural resources as their source of livelihoods. Any changes in rainfall levels, soil quality, temperature or water-levels can have devastating consequences for their livelihoods.

Climate change can – and often already is – affecting the lives of millions of people through changes in rainfall, temperature and water supply, as well as through natural disasters.

 Living in the most dangerous areas

Throughout the developed world it is usually the poorest that are forced to live in the most dangerous and marginalised areas. These are places where no one else will live because they are too risky.

Despite these vulnerabilities, people have developed ways to live in severe circumstances. They already have the knowledge and techniques to survive in harsh conditions, but, as climate change intensifies the challenges beyond their experience, support is needed to protect people's livelihoods and their right to develop.

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