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Impacts of climate change

Climate change is having significant impacts on the lives, environments and communities of people all over the world.

Those on the front lines of the climate crisis – women, youth, Indigenous peoples, Pacific Islanders, and vulnerable communities around the world – are being hit the hardest. But they are fighting back, driving smart and positive action that benefits everyone.

Claire Anterea (pictured above) works for the Kiribati Climate Action Network in the Pacific and is one of the country’s leading climate advocates.  

“My great hope for my country is that it remains, existing on the map.  

“We see a lot of places disappearing … My island is only two metres above sea level. If the erosion and if the sea level rise keeps on growing, then I know that we don’t have somewhere to go.  

“If I stand by myself, I don’t think someone will hear me among the crowd. But if we speak and scream out, as the Pacific nations, I think that my voice will be heard. So being together, working together and speaking together, it’s important for me, a woman from a tiny island. 

Oxfam partner, the Pacific Calling Partnership, helps Claire and other young leaders in Kiribati and Tuvalu raise awareness in Australia of the impacts of climate change in these countries, and advocate for stronger action from the Australian Government. 

 Consider this:

  • Without stronger action, climate change could leave another 50 million more people facing hunger in 2050.
  • More than a billion people worldwide live in low-lying coastal regions and are vulnerable to rising sea levels.
  • Nearly half the population of Tuvalu was severely affected by the storm surge from Cyclone Pam. Despite being more than a thousand kilometres from the storm’s centre, houses and crops were washed away.

Cyclone Pam, one of the strongest cyclones ever recorded in the South Pacific, hit Vanuatu with winds of more than 250km/h. In the capital, Port Vila, the majority of people’s houses were badly damaged. The scale of the disaster was unprecedented. Access to housing, clean water, sanitation and food were major issues in the months that followed.

Photo: Vlad Sokhin/Panos/OxfamAUS

Wolda Edward cleans up Eton village in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam. Photo: Vlad Sokhin/Panos/OxfamAUS

And it’s not just more intense cyclones and other extreme events: the world is experiencing more unpredictable weather patterns. These changing seasons and shifts in rainfall are affecting the crops of many of the world’s poorest farmers.

Smaller harvests mean farmers can’t feed their families or make a living. Even in Australia, climate change has affected the large-scale production of crops like wheat.

The Land is Life series captures the effects of severe weather effects and rising sea levels on the land and the impacts they have for the surrounding communities.