Indian, Bolivian, Zimbabwean activists unite against climate change
Bangkok : Indian activist Vidya Dinker, Bolivian Martin Vilela and Zimbabwean Mela Chiponda live in different continents but suffer a common problem of climate change, which they denounced before the UN in Bangkok.
The three are among many activists and civil society representatives attending the UN climate change conference on Friday that will run till Sunday, Efe news reported.
As delegates discuss percentages and technicalities regarding climate change at the UN building here, members of non-profits speak about their concerns on ecological damage from coal, intense droughts that destroy entire communities, as well as activists who end up dead for their environmental activism.
Activist Dinker recalled a march from Tamil Nadu to New Delhi in 2017 by farmers with rats in their mouths, symbolizing food shortages, and carrying the skulls of debt-ridden farmers who committed suicide amid severe droughts.
The activist from Mangalore rued that the farmers' widows were left to take care of the children while facing increasingly mounting debts.
Extreme climate conditions were also observed in India, where severe floods in Kerala left several hundred dead, while thousands were rendered homeless in Assam this year.
Dinker told Efe that climate change also affects the pollination of flowers, which in turn could affect the day to day lives of humans in many other ways.
Activist Chiponda, from the Zimbabwean province of Manicaland, has been working for the last three years against the extractive economy and empowering women in several African countries through the non-profit WoMin.
Chiponda alleges that global warming causes heat waves and extreme droughts in Zimbabwe, compelling men to migrate or commit suicide due to debts, while coal mining pollutes farmland.
Chiponda said that there was food scarcity and diseases among children that earlier were not seen. She added that there was an urgent need for countries to give up fossil fuels and for the people to change their consumption habits in order to not pollute the environment.
Activist Vilela, a resident of La Paz and member of the Bolivian Climate Change Platform, said that climate extremes in Bolivia cause floods in the Amazonian region and droughts that dry up large lakes such as Poopo.
Vilela said that climate change has been affecting many poor communities that face adverse situations every day, adding that the negotiations in Bangkok were not addressing structural solutions and not even taking little steps against climate change.
Other victims of climate change have been vocal about the increasing frequency of landslides and floods in northern Thailand, proliferation of coal-fired power plants in the Philippines, as well as the loss of arable land due to sea erosion and salinization in Bangladesh.
Activists fighting against the polluting companies have reportedly been killed in Brazil, Colombia and the Philippines.
Climate change has also affected Australia, which is suffering one of its worst droughts, and Europe, where lack of water has affected crops in Poland.
UN negotiators in Bangkok seek to prepare a document with guidelines and standards for approval at the forthcoming Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in Poland in December, with the aim of keeping temperature change this century within 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.
Moreover, the NGOs have urged keeping in mind the poorest communities, who often end up losing their lives to the effects of global warming.