Release Date: 11 October, 2021

Climate change resilience: can philanthropy play a role?

The recent cyclones in Africa, earthquakes and tsunamis in Asia, and similar events in the Americas are sadly all too familiar – every time one reads about a new event one gets a sense of déjá-vu. In short, natural disasters have been with us for a long time, and they continue to be a fact of life on Earth, albeit with increasing strength and frequency due to man-induced disruptions to the atmosphere.

With each event the people that survive carry with them lessons to make it through a similar disaster in the future. For example, in Africa older generations carry the wisdom and knowledge with regards to which type of crops to plant when weather patterns change. They know how to reinforce their homes and protect their livelihoods by using certain types of raw materials, and they know to move their planting grounds to less risky areas. There are examples in other parts of the world, such as native Americans co-habiting with nature and moving with the tides, and how Indigenous groups adjust their lives to co-exist with changing environments. The Masai Mara in East Africa still live nomadic lives today, moving according to the weather conditions.

Whilst we are all caught up with Covid-19, the threat of climate change continues to loom large.

Human beings are resourceful, particularly when it comes to leveraging technology to manage a large-scale threat. This became clear when it took only a year to manufacture a vaccine to save the world from Covid-19. (One would hope vaccines will emerge for the other endemic diseases that have been with us for some time now.) The Covid vaccine has shown that humans are very capable of adapting to crisis and responding quickly to things that matter to them. It shows that we are more than able to grab the climate change bull by the horns and adapt our ways to reduce its impact. The difference is that climate change needs to become something that matters to those with pockets deep enough to fund activities. 

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