Commentary: Those affected most by climate change have smallest say over it

All humanitarian and non-government programmes must incorporate informed discussion at the community level on the links between climate change and extreme weather events.Resources must be allocated to enable people to connect their experiences in their environments to the climate crisis. Organisations need to invest in volunteers and staff to be effective communicators about the climate crisis, dedicating time for collaboration and implementing information campaigns targeted at local communities. When people are armed with adequate information, they can seek accountability from leaders at every level and take more responsibility themselves. CIVIL SOCIETY CAN LISTEN HARDER AND MORE OFTEN Many organisations are listening to grassroots voices. But we can listen harder and much more often. When the strongest storm of 2020, Typhoon Goni, ravaged the Philippines, there was a scramble to help people survive. Red Cross teams and other agencies sat and listened to those affected to ensure relief and cash support were provided to help them recover and rebuild safer homes. With worse climatic impacts to come, concerns are being addressed, though often not fast enough. We must recognise traditional and local knowledge as key to adapting to climate change and reducing its mounting toll on humanity. Local communities and indigenous peoples across Asia have been weathering natural disasters for thousands of years, with a treasure trove of knowledge on how resilient communities thrive. A fusion of traditional know-how, science and technology can provide fertile grounds for solutions to the changing climate. We need everyone to understand and act on this greatest of human challenges. It’s not just those who face the next super typhoon or freak flood. The whole of humanity depends on it. Gopal Mukherjee is Acting Head of Philippines Delegation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. 

Commentary: Those affected most by climate change have smallest say over it

All humanitarian and non-government programmes must incorporate informed discussion at the community level on the links between climate change and extreme weather events.

Resources must be allocated to enable people to connect their experiences in their environments to the climate crisis. Organisations need to invest in volunteers and staff to be effective communicators about the climate crisis, dedicating time for collaboration and implementing information campaigns targeted at local communities.

When people are armed with adequate information, they can seek accountability from leaders at every level and take more responsibility themselves.

CIVIL SOCIETY CAN LISTEN HARDER AND MORE OFTEN

Many organisations are listening to grassroots voices. But we can listen harder and much more often.

When the strongest storm of 2020, Typhoon Goni, ravaged the Philippines, there was a scramble to help people survive. Red Cross teams and other agencies sat and listened to those affected to ensure relief and cash support were provided to help them recover and rebuild safer homes.

With worse climatic impacts to come, concerns are being addressed, though often not fast enough.

We must recognise traditional and local knowledge as key to adapting to climate change and reducing its mounting toll on humanity. Local communities and indigenous peoples across Asia have been weathering natural disasters for thousands of years, with a treasure trove of knowledge on how resilient communities thrive.

A fusion of traditional know-how, science and technology can provide fertile grounds for solutions to the changing climate.

We need everyone to understand and act on this greatest of human challenges. It’s not just those who face the next super typhoon or freak flood. The whole of humanity depends on it.

Gopal Mukherjee is Acting Head of Philippines Delegation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.