19 July 2013

Why World Vision cares about the environment

  1. World Vision is helping farmers like Dulbo to respond to the challenges of climate change.
  2. Farmers in countries like Kenya are being forced to leave their homes and search for water and fertile land.
  3. Flooding in Bihar, India during 2008 displaced tens of thousands of people.

Every man, woman and child on earth is dependent on the natural environment. As a child-focussed organisation, World Vision can see that it’s not possible to sustain child wellbeing without a healthy natural environment.

Damage to the environment and climate change are already challenging our work and mission around the world, and will continue to do so in the coming years. That’s why they aren’t just environmental problems – they’re also development problems.

As one of the world’s leading aid and development organisations, we recognise that to serve disadvantaged children and their communities faithfully, we must take this challenge seriously.

How do environmental issues affect those living in poverty?

  • A threat to sources of food and income

    The environment is the world’s largest employer and in developing countries, the majority of families derive their livelihood from their environment.

    Extreme weather is making this much more difficult – droughts that used to happen once every 10 to 20 years are now happening every two or three years; severe storms, extreme heat events or prolonged dry spells can wipe out entire crops. This leaves families unable to provide enough nutritious food for their children and without an income.

  • Natural disasters and extreme weather

    It is the poor who are most vulnerable to extreme weather and disasters and they are also the least able to recover. Natural disasters take a terrible toll on lives, destroy property and force families to abandon their homes and fields.

  • The struggle for clean water

    Sources of fresh, clean water are drying up. This can force people, often children, to resort to drinking dirty water, putting them at risk of water-borne disease and/or forcing them to walk long distances to access water.

  • The risk of disease

    As climate change causes increases in average temperatures or other extreme weather events like flooding, tropical diseases shift into new areas where the population is less immune or prepared.

What is World Vision doing about these issues?

We recognise that World Vision's activities have an impact on the global environment. We are taking action to ensure that we aren’t just reducing our environmental footprint but also having a positive effect on the environment.

World Vision calls on the Australian government to support emission reduction targets, increase research in areas that will reduce the vulnerability of poor communities to climate change and increase aid directed to helping developing countries deal with the challenges of climate change.

World Vision is also helping local communities around the world deal with the impacts of climate change.

Some of our projects include environmentally restorative activities such as reforestation, agro-forestry and organic and conservation farming. We aim to help communities that rely on farming for food and income to learn improved and environmentally sustainable farming techniques.

Environmental sustainability in action

World Vision has a number of projects in place tackling environmental issues.

We have seen great success in re-foresting in parts of Africa using the technique of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, re-growing trees from root stumps of indigenous trees that were cut down in the past.

A number of communities in Ethiopia have benefited from a cleaner, safer way to cook their food as a part of a clean stoves project. As well as reducing the health impacts associated with smokey open fire stoves, the different kinds of clean stoves trialled helped to reduce the number of trees cut down for firewood.

We also work with communities to improve their resilience, including disaster preparedness and risk reduction education, and improving food and water security. For example, World Vision has assisted coastal communities in Vietnam, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu be better prepared for increasingly violent tropical storm surges and slow-onset climate change.

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How you can help

You can support our work helping communities to become more environmentally sustainable by sponsoring a child. Your donations will help their community become a healthier, safer and more sustainable place to grow up.

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