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Caring for Climate Change

What it means to take action as the earth undergoes severe trials.

Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]. (30:41)

While everyone around the world has seen or felt the effects of climate change, the most vulnerable are people living in the world’s poorest countries. The majority of people living in Africa or Asia for example, depend on agricultural and natural resources in order to survive. By relying on farming or hunting and gathering to eat and make a living, they often have just enough food and resources to last through the next season. 

Ultimately with insufficient reserves to fall back on in the event of a poor harvest, a crisis like a flood can throw a region into chaos and hardship. The fight against climate change and poverty is interwoven, the implication is that resources used to mitigate the effects of climatic change will inevitably tackle many aspects of poverty.

Climate change is also one of the root causes of conflict around the world, leading to food shortages, and the displacement of entire populations of people. The inability to tackle the effects of climate change will only increase the threat to the stability of vulnerable populations. 

The villagers moving their belongings in a boat in flood-affected Wad Ramli, Khartoum.

Since the early spring of 2020, East African nations have been battling unusually large swarms of desert locusts. Under normal circumstances, the locust population will decrease either through migration or by natural mortality. However because of flooding and extreme weather patterns, the locusts have multiplied rapidly and significantly. 

This series of events is considered the worst outbreak in the region in decades. Unfortunately, the situation is suspected to further deteriorate because of new breeding that will birth more locust infestations in the region. When locusts ravage crops in the field before harvesting, they wipe out livestock and wildlife feed, adversely affecting assets and livelihoods. 

“The Earth is green and beautiful, and Allah has appointed you his stewards over it.” (Muslim)

126 houses are partially collapsed in Abu Zabad village, West Kordofan, August 2020.

By mitigating the effects of climate change we can reduce poverty, and better protect vulnerable populations of people that depend on agriculture for sustenance. Every part of the world has seen or experienced its own fair share of the effects of climate change. Gradually shifting weather patterns, rising sea levels, forest fires and more extreme weather events are all clear and devastating evidence and a cause for concern and action. We all have a responsibility as stewards and caretakers, of planet Earth. Climate change is no longer an imaginary threat, it has become an undeniable reality. 

Tariq is part of the Communications & External Relations team at Islamic Relief USA.

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