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Climate crises| Climate crisis
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Climate crises| Climate crisis

A farmer outside her home in Bangladesh


Climate justice is the theme of the Guardian and Observer’s 2021 charity appeal. We support four charities that fight for the rights and livelihoods communities affected by the climate emergency.

Practical Action

It takes small steps to make big changes Practical Action’s approach to tackling the impact of the climate emergency and environmental degradation. This UK-based charity specializes in practical and hands-on solutions to helping communities adapt for extreme weather.

It works in partnership with people in Africa, Asia and Latin America to find innovative, lasting, and locally owned solutions that will help people whose lives have been destroyed by the climate crises.

These solutions include the introduction of technology and mobilizing communities to help local volunteer provide early warning of imminent floods; providing irrigation and tree planting to repair damage to forests and pastureland, as well as helping farmers adapt to changing climates by supplying climate-resilient seed and developing new practices.

A farmer outside her home in Bangladesh
Practical Action is helping a farmer outside her Bangladeshi home.Photograph by Kaamil Ahmed/The Observer

Practical Action was founded in 1966 after an article by EF Schumacher, a radical green economist, was published in The Observer. Small Is Beautiful fame). He believed that economic development should be based on the holistic needs, skills, and resources of local communities.

“Our work remains grounded in the realities of people living in poverty, who face even more challenges from the devastating impacts of climate change, even though they have been the lowest contributors to the problem. We help communities thrive, not survive. And we work with governments and businesses to ensure these changes are sustained and scaled,” said Sarah Roberts, chief executive of Practical Action.

Environmental Justice Foundation

The core of Environmental Justice Foundation’s mission is the belief that the climate crisis is a human rights concern, and that protecting the natural world is not just a question of “quality of life” but, for too many people, a matter of life and death.

The UK-based charity has pioneered campaigning for climate refugees, giving voice to some of the planet’s most vulnerable people, and working to secure legal protection for communities for whom the climate crisis has destroyed their homes and livelihoods.

Its investigative films & reports have exposed a range climate injustices and prompted policy changes locally in areas like defending marine environments, tackling illegal fishing, and uncovering how rising global demand for soy and palm oil are destroying the environment.

Indigenous people of Peru protesting in Lima in September over rainforest being razed to cultivate palm oil.
Peruvian indigenous people protest in Lima, September over the destruction of rainforests for palm oil cultivation. Photograph: Paolo Aguilar/EPA

“Whether working with local peoples to raise the alarm over destructive wildfires and illegal logging in Brazil; empowering coastal communities to rid their waters of illegal fishing in Liberia; or telling the stories of those who have lost their homes to the climate crisis in Bangladesh, our goal is the same: we take local fights for environmental justice and make them global; reaching the centre of governments and business, to drive action for people and planet,” said Steve Trent, its chief executive.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

The Indian Ocean island of Madagascar is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, famed for its natural wonders and yet facing acute challenges. Its unique plants and animals, along with the 28 million people who live on it, are being increasingly endangered by drought, wildfires, famine, and deforestation caused by the climate crisis.

Madagascar’s plight was highlightedThe recent Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow heard about how climate-induced famine had forced people from the south to move west and north, putting pressure on natural resources.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a UK-based science- and conservation charity, has been helping to address this issue. It has had a large researchIt has been a presence on the island for almost 40 years and is at the forefront worldwide of initiatives to conserve, understand, and catalogue biodiversity.

Kew staff help with identifying grasses at a training workshop in Madagascar.
Kew staff assist with the identification of grasses in a training workshop in Madagascar.Photograph: Royal Botanic gardens, Kew

With many Malagasy people dependent on natural resources such as rosewood, yams, rice and vanilla for their livelihoods, the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre has been working with local communities to develop resilient agricultural systems, restore denuded land, and protect the island’s abundant biodiversity.

“Using our unique expertise in halting biodiversity loss and protecting precious habitats in Madagascar, we will use funding from the Guardian and Observer appeal to support and enhance the benefits of biodiversity to rural people, through projects planned and delivered in partnership with local communities,” said Paul Wilkin, head of ecosystem stewardship at RBG Kew. “We believe these projects have the potential to transform lives whilst protecting the country’s precious diversity.”

Global Greengrants Fund UK

This approach was successfully promoted by Global Greengrants Fund UKIt is to aid communities and individuals at the frontline of the climate crisis to find solutions to extreme weather and environmental degradation.

Using its share of donations to this year’s Guardian and Observer appeal, Global Greengrants Fund UK will work in collaboration with the US-based non-profit CLIMA FundTo identify and award financial micro-grants for grassroots climate projects in Africa and South America.

These projects will develop community-led resilience against climate impacts, protect the rights of indigenous groups and address climate injustice. They also promote environmental initiatives such as water capture, tree planting, and sustainable methods of farming.

Global Greengrants Fund UK was a partner in the Guardian and Observer 2019 charitable appeal, when it regranted its £250,000 share of donations to support local rainforest protection groups in the Amazon basin.

“Answers to the climate crisis exist. They are led primarily by those most affected by, but least responsible for, climate change: Indigenous peoples and women, youth, rural communities, and youth. Together with our partners in the CLIMA Fund and our donors we are supporting these forces for change to protect our shared planet and call for climate justice,” said Eva Rehse, the UK executive director of Global Greengrants Fund.


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