Since the beginning of globalisation, countries have been trying to expand their economy by producing, exporting and importing massively in order to be connected to one another and collaborate to share materials among themselves. Nevertheless, the main issue with this phenomena is that LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries) depend extensively on MEDCs (Most Economically Developed Countries). In the process of production, they provide raw materials : materials that are the most difficult to be found and similarly, even if the MEDCs offer jobs to LEDCs, they also give them back waste. Furthermore, not all countries can afford infrastructure cost to sort out waste and get rid of it afterwards and as a result, most countries are over polluted and have become prey to climate change and its consequences. Despite the fact that every single human being are aware of climate change, not everyone feels its effects the same way. From Senegal to the USA, from Greenland to Costa Rica, each situation is different.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at the answers of different students from different parts of the world on the following questions : “Do you personally feel the effects of global warming? Does climate change has an impact on your everyday life ?”.
Adrien, a student from Costa Rica answered : “Extreme weather temperature with, for example, hot days which are unbearable, fires and floods in places and it happened at an unsual time of the year. These are surely signs of climate change” while a student from Belgium wrote : ”For the last few years we only had snow for a few days and it melted immediately so we can definitely talk about climate change ”.
As a matter of fact, the major consequences of climate change are the perturbations of meteorologic events and the blurring of seasons. In the LEDCs, it does not limit to only climate instability as declared by Babacar, a student from Senegal : “Here in Senegal, especially in Saint Louis, the effects can be observed with the rise of sea level”. Consequently, many houses on the littoral had to be abandoned.
This picture has been taken in october 2018 – Abandoned houses people having to look for new places to live.
Credits : Junior photography
Moreover, it cannot be denied that the most vulnerable countries of this environmental catastrophe are the LEDCs : The problem is that most of the vulnerable countries are also the poorest ones, all stuck in a vicious circle : Either development or environment; either security or wealth but never both at the same time. Unfortunately, governments would rather choose economic growth instead of the well being of its population. Babacar, from Senegal added : “I wish for the MEDCs to start using renewable resources so the situation could get better”.
Even today, a time where we feel like everything is doomed forever and nothing can be done, it is still possible for the poorest countries to fight against global warming and its consequences. According to the Secretary-General of the United Nations : “Countries such as Bangladesh, Cuba, Jamaica, Madagascar or the Philippines have shown that well-designed buildings, appropriate use of land, public training, community preparedness and effective alert systems can reduce the impact of the worst weather events” (Tabeaud Martine, « Les adaptations au changement climatique ou la re-découverte des acteurs et des territoires », 2010).
This statement gives us hope that not everything is irrevocable, and some countries have even been able to set up policies in order to reduce pollution. For instance, our Senegal student stated : “When it comes to waste in Saint Louis, some hotels have set up a collaboration in order to clean up the beaches of “La langue de barbarie”, which is a very famous and touristic spot close to Saint Louis”.
Similarly, if every country tries to follow the same footsteps and sets up new policies to reduce waste and undermine pollution, the future might be brighter for their environment and our planet as a whole. Our student interviewed from Costa Rica confessed that Costa Rica” is doing its best to keep its energy resources 100% renewable, given that in the last 50 years our forests have actually doubled, given that the government has established extreme laws for companies to protect the lands. My country is also banning certain uses of plastic and fighting against single use plastics. We are also trying to implement hybrids in the street but it is still quite difficult to do so. The government is also planning to implement a train system in order to help the public service and make the traffic more effective”.
Moving on to Asia where a Taiwanese student wrote : “For all chain restaurants, convenience stores, and drink shops, it’s no longer allowed to offer free plastic straws anymore”.
Despite the fact that almost all governments seem to care about the urgency of climate changes, some of them might not be doing enough. For instance, another student from Belgium, declared : “The government doesn’t seem keen to take up actions and our green party isn’t popular because all increasing the gas and electricity prices is the only solution that they seem to have”. In addition, another student from the USA added : “the US has been pretty inactive in global movements to fight climate change, and domestically it has been scaling back climate and other environmental regulations”.
On a wider scale, the international system definitely has a bigger influence than countries individually. For instance, after the ratification of the Kyoto’s Protocol in 1998 and the reunion of the most powerful countries in the world, the international system decided to create special funds to finance actions in developing countries at COP event in 2015. In 2004, they also created the “Buenos Aires Program of Work on Adaptation Measures” with a budget of $664.5 Billions in order to help LEDCs on scientific, technical and socio-economic matters to reduce pollution.
Moreover, since 2005 the Nairobi’s program has been focusing its attention on the vulnerability and the adaptation of the countries about climate changes.
After all, It is not impossible to change the world if we all lend a helping hand !
Tabeaud Martine, « Les adaptations au changement climatique ou la re-découverte des acteurs et des territoires », 2010, Quaderni, 2010/1 (n° 71),p.7-25.