Inclusion of marginalized and poor communities Wales are most likely to be hit by disasters such as flooding caused by the climate emergency – and by measures to combat the crisis, a major report says.
According to the report, while the crisis is not directly caused by those living in the most vulnerable areas, their homes are and will continue to be at greatest risk from extreme weather events. It is argued that measures to combat the climate emergency such as reducing car traffic on roads are likely to make it more difficult for poorer residents in remote areas, who can’t afford to use greener transport options.
Another example is the cost of installing energy-saving measures to homes. This upfront investment may be too costly for poorer households. It also stated that residents in poorer areas are less likely be able to afford organic, low-carbon foods.
The report Inequality in a Future WalesFrom the future generations commissioner for Wales Sophie Howe. Public Health WalesAnd Cardiff University, concludes: “The poorest and most marginalised populations are least responsible for climate change but are the most likely to be exposed to its negative effects and have the least resources to respond, cope and recover.”
It calls for ways to be found to involve such communities in making policies to tackle the climate emergency, such as inviting them to regional citizens’ assemblies.
The report was published along with heartfelt testimonials from people affected by the flooding in Wales on Thursday.
A poem written by members of Llanrwst Flood Action Group. Edited by the writer Taylor EdmondsThe release was made to provide insight into people’s fears in the market town in north Wales that was flooded last year.
Called Emerging from Winter, the poem describes how when the rains next come, “we’ll be dragged from our beds at 3am to fill sandbags … boys will stand guard on each estate, texting updates as fields transform to open water, gathering waves. We’ll become isolated.”
Sharon Williams, 58, a resident of Llanrwst, stated that people are afraid when storms hit. “It’s like walking on eggshells – every time we have heavy rain we are thinking, is this going to happen again?”
Indo Zwingina from Treforest in south WalesThe floods of last year also affected the town of.
“Every week, volunteers are still collecting rubbish the floods left behind. There’s a damaged footbridge near my home which still hasn’t been repaired, meaning everyone’s walk into town takes longer. Flood water brought knotweed to the community garden where I volunteer – it’s a lasting memory of when the water came.
“Politicians need to listen to people in order to tackle climate change. People can only make the necessary changes if they are involved and understand their lives. They can’t force ideas on people, it needs to be about what communities need and can do.”
Howe said: “Climate change is an equality issue and this report finds that the link It has been neglected. We need to create new policies to address the disadvantages of those who are most vulnerable.
“People in our poorest communities, many of those who’ve been hit hardest by Covid-19, are least able to afford insurance and the cost of putting things right after floods, and that’s drastically unfair.
“You’re also less likely to be in positions to take advantage of the new high-quality jobs that we will need to address climate change, and we need to put that right. With flooding occurring more and more often, we need a plan to ensure the financial burden doesn’t fall on those least able to pay – and an agreed Wales-wide approach to ensuring public services are able to respond in the right way.”