Copenhagen Discord (3)

Yes, according to the major Aid and Development Agencies in the UK, Climate Change is a problem for poor people in countries all over the undeveloped World.

“So”, I asked, “are you going to include the facts of Climate Change happening in Europe in your presentations, so that people can connect with this ?”

It’s really hard to empathise with the plight of some person you can’t even communicate with on the other side of the Earth who is losing their crops to both drought and extreme flooding all in the same year.

Your sense of philanthropy might rise up and motivate you, but you still do not grasp the reality of Climate Change.

You need some way of buying into the message.

A remote set of events affecting poor people a long way away from your front door. You may feel guilt, and be manipulated into parting with some money. You may feel concern, but the feeling soon fades.

If you were to be told that there are still people living in caravans after the flooding in the United Kingdom in 2007; how repeated serious floods are already happening in some settlements, and more are expected; how some people have not been able to repair their houses completely in the intervening years, that people are dying from extreme storms on a regular basis in Europe, that Climate Change is coming home, would you pay more attention ?

Is the philosophy of “Development” going to last forever ? It’s based on a lasting echo of colonial empire. It’s continued on the basis of the unequal balance of trade – that the Global South and East part with their natural resources and the products of their labour for much less than their true value.

Poverty is not an accident. People don’t just happen to be poor, they are made poor, and this impoverishment is a process that is unchecked.

Did Make Poverty History manage to cancel all the bad debts ? Of course not ! Then the poor would have a lever to demand higher returns for their goods and services; and greater capacity to spend money at home on social services, health, education, water, Climate Change Adaptation (as long as their country were not being interfered with by some kind of WTO special measures).

Development is this great idea that rich people (us) give money to poor people (them); and Climate Change makes their plight worse so we should give more money.

But we are unjustly wealthy, living on the backs of the poor, so the whole concept of Development is faulty.

When do young people stop travelling from rich countries to poor countries in their search for an understanding of poverty during their “gap year” between school and college ?

When do the numbers of real poor in the UK from a combination of a failing Economy and Climate Change damages mean that Aid and Development Agencies have to work at home as well as abroad ?

When will people realise that Climate Change is going to make us all very much poorer, from African subsistence farmer to American CEO ?

One thought on “Copenhagen Discord (3)”

  1. The 2005 Make Poverty History campaigns covered aid, debt and trade justice. It should have added a fourth dimension – climate change. The damage it was doing and would do to the poor was then clear. I deal I with this in my new book Beyond Reach? which tells the story of the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005 in a novel way. There are details on http://www.johnmadeley.co.uk
    Royalties from the book go to agencies working to eradicate poverty.

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