People living in poverty contribute least to the problem of climate change; but they are the ones hit first and hardest by its devastating effects.
Around the world Tearfund and our partners work alongside communities living in poverty battling the impacts of changes to their environment. Climate change and natural disasters destroy belongings and livelihoods; disease becomes more prevalent during heatwaves, floods, or droughts; crops fail because of reduced rainfall; and food prices soar following extreme weather events.
Remember Daacad* whose story we shared in June. He is 56 years old and has lived in Balimatan, Somaliland his whole life. He used to farm livestock, but the changing climate has made this unsustainable.
‘Over the years, droughts have become more frequent and severe,’ Daacad says as he looks across the barren, dry land. ‘The rains are unreliable and inadequate.’
Loving our neighbours
In his letter to the Romans, Paul describes love and points out that ‘love does no harm to its neighbour’ (Romans 13:10). We may not know Daacad but he is our neighbour and the way we live can impact our neighbours in poor countries.
You may well ask, ‘How can I stop the drought in Somaliland?’
A changing climate might seem like an impossibly huge issue to tackle but there are ways we as individuals can make changes to our lifestyles for the sake of others. However, there is also a real need for governments around the world to take action.
In 2015, 197 countries reached a landmark agreement on climate change. The Paris Agreement unites them – for the first time – to tackle climate change in a large-scale and ambitious way. The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) is the crucial next step for the world to take urgent action on climate solutions and it’s happening in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 November.
Government delegates from almost every country in the world will meet in Bonn, together with civil society organisations, scientists, businesses, faith leaders and others. Together, they will plan practical solutions to transition to clean energy, reduce pollution, and implement the Paris Agreement.
And Tearfund will also be there as part of the Renew Our World campaign, a global movement of Christians who have joined together to petition and pray for a more just and sustainable planet for all.
Would you pray with us for these crucial meetings. There is a global prayer vigil taking place and you can sign up to pray. We have also produced a prayer guide in conjunction with 24-7 Prayer. It’s full of ideas and information to equip and inspire you to pray for the issue of climate change.
Vincent Moyo, Tearfund’s country representative in Malawi, says: ‘Climate change is contributing greatly to poverty. We cannot tackle extreme poverty without dealing with climate change.’
PLEASE PRAY WITH US:
God of all creation,
Today we pray for a world where extreme poverty, inequality and environmental exploitation are no more.
We pray for a world where people and our planet thrive.
God, we pray you would send us out as your global church to love our neighbours and protect the most vulnerable people from climate change. Help us be bold and courageous in speaking up for justice.
We pray for our leaders and government delegates as they meet in Bonn in November, that they will take the crucial next steps to fulfil the Paris Agreement and take urgent action on climate change.
We pray for sustainable solutions, for a clear path to be forged, for unity between the countries and for all nations to keep their commitments to deep and transformative change on this issue.
We pray for justice and renewal in all the earth.
In Jesus name,
Prayer based on one from Caroline Illingworth, TEAR Australia.