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Sustainable Environment and Climate Change

We live in testing times. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we have a cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation that is pushing so many families into poverty. We also have the looming impact of climate change to deal with. What is often forgotten is that poverty and the climate emergency are two sides of the same coin, that can and need to be addressed together.

As an organization, we’re acutely attuned to the fact that climate change disproportionately affects those experiencing poverty. People experiencing poverty are often more susceptible to the impacts of climate change, as well as less likely to have the resources to adapt to the effects of the collapsing climate. If you struggle to afford food, replacing your boiler by installing a heat pump is but a pipedream. On the other hand, if we overcome poverty, communities can become more resilient and can reduce, mitigate, and adapt to climate change.

There is no question, the climate crisis will drive even more people into poverty. While the most devastating impacts of the climate emergency are felt in the global south with severe weather events, famine, desertification, and most recently, flooding, we are by no means immune in the UK and are already experiencing drought, devastating wildfires and flooding. Conflicts over scarce resources elsewhere will continue to push up the cost of basics: the food we eat and the energy we use will become more expensive. This hurts families experiencing poverty the most: They spend a much higher proportion of income on such basics. This is particularly unfair because their own carbon footprint is much lower.

We therefore need to tackle both poverty and climate change at the same time, with solutions that impact both. If we fail to do so, any short term ‘fix’ for poverty will be just that – short sighted and soon to be overrun by the long-term costs of climate change. It’s no longer enough to tinker at the edges.