Yesterday marked the start of COP24. The most important meeting on global warming since the Paris Agreement, it’s where delegates from nearly 200 nations will decide global actions regarding climate change.
Hosted in the heart of Poland’s coal region, Katowice, the backdrop to the next two weeks of talks is urgency as the severity of rising greenhouse emissions are being discussed — as the world warms.
It’s a crucial time for climate politics. The next two weeks will be used to establish a ‘climate rule book’ for nations around the world, outlining the guidelines required to keep the earth’s temperature from increasing more than 2 degrees centigrade — ideally no more than 1.5 degrees. Keep updated with this live blog feed.
While COP24 hopefully leads to progress, we at Pure Planet are looking at how we as a company, and as individuals, can do our bit for the planet too. Pure Planet is a signatory of the UN Global Compact, which means we’ve committed to advance the Global Goals (also known as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs). We’re the only British small energy supplier to have signed up.
But what has climate change got to do with poverty?
Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, said the poorest and most vulnerable people were at the greatest risk of climate change.
Why? The increasing effects of climate change are predicted to have severe consequences for everyone. However, those most at risk rely on agriculture for their livelihood, or have less resources to combat displacement due to extreme weather disasters, such as hurricanes and flooding.
Increased warming means more storms, hotter summers, and colder winters which will play havoc with people’s ability to make a living, or even to have access to food, water and adequate shelter. Simply, climate change will create more poverty, and displace even more people from their current homes, villages and towns.
It’s so serious a problem, that the World Bank is committed to make £157 billion available to fund action on climate change from 2021–25.
So this month, we at Pure Planet are looking at Goal 1: No Poverty.
Here’s more on the targets behind the goal (building climate change resilient communities is one of them).
What can you do to help eradicate poverty?
Even when we know poverty is a real problem here in the UK — in your city, in your town, quite possibly even on your street, it’s tempting to still think of poverty as a far away problem. But it’s not.
This annual report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights that over one in five of the population live in poverty in the UK. That’s about 14 million people, and 4.1 million of these people are children. This number has been growing since 2011.
Poverty manifests itself in many different ways. Unicef reports that 1 in 5 children in the UK face food insecurity, which is one of the highest rates in Europe. Charities like FareShare do great work by redistributing good food that would otherwise go to waste to children’s clubs and homeless hostels to help mitigate this, but until the problem is solved, there’s always more we can do.
The Trussell Trust, the UK food bank network, gave 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis last year. They supply food to those in need and report that referrals to food banks in the lead up to Christmas are increasing every year.
It’s not always food or shelter that’s needed — it’s estimated that 1 in 60 in the UK live in fuel poverty, which means these households often can’t afford adequate heating.
Rapper-turned-documentary-maker Professor Green (aka Stephen Manderson) follows the story of 14-year-old Tyler in an eye-opening documentary. Watch the trailer here, or catch the full documentary on BBC Three. (Please note there is strong language).
Or listen to this podcast, where UN rapporteur Philip Alston visits Newcastle for his report into poverty in the UK. He called it a “social calamity and an economic disaster”.
Give a gift that positively impacts someone’s life. Get in contact with your local homeless shelter, food bank or charity shop and ask what they need. It’s as easy as buying a tube of toothpaste. Why not use our reverse advent calendar as a guide, or make your own.
Let us how you get on in our Community, where we’ll be posting regular updates.
Lorelei from Member Services at Pure Planet asked her dentist if they had any spare toothpaste samples, and got given a whole box to donate!
Tell a friend or family member about what you’re doing, and why. Ask around to see if they have any unwanted items that could help someone in need, or if they’d be willing to buy an item to donate.
Our Reverse Advent Calendar
We’ve thought about how we can do our bit too. Christmas is a time of giving. So we’re going to give using a reverse advent calendar (rather than eat chocolate!). Pure Planet is based in Bath, so we’ve teamed up with the local branch of Julian House, who support the homeless, to collect and donate much needed items. Our reverse advent calendar focuses on giving a different item each day, and we’ll do one big donation at the end.
Here’s what we’ll be collecting:
The Pure Planet Reverse Advent Calendar
It’s all about small actions which make a big difference. Let us know what you do this Christmas and your ideas for fighting poverty by joining the conversation in the Pure Planet Community.