This is Climate Action

Around the world, people are choosing a different future and taking action against climate change.

Although the Australian Government are yet to tackle climate change, local communities are taking up the challenge. Some in preparation for the future shocks of climate change, others in response to the impacts already being felt.

They are also working harder than ever to hold the international community to account.

Climate change resilience

Exposed to multiple hazards that include tropical cyclones, and with 80% of the population reliant on farming, Vanuatu is at risk from the impacts of climate change. In March 2015, Vanuatu suffered a direct hit from severe Cyclone Pam, one of the most powerful cyclones ever to hit the region.

We have partnered with a range of organisations to develop and implement a Vanuatu community resilience program. While no country could ever fully prepare for a storm as severe as Cyclone Pam, it is clear that Vanuatu’s traditional coping strategies, as well as the efforts of communities, the Vanuatu Government and non-government organisations to adapt to climate change, made a real difference in Vanuatu’s ability to prepare and to begin recovering from Cyclone Pam.

Photo: Rodney Dekker/OxfamAUS

Planting mangroves on the Tuvaluan Pacific island of Funafala has been undertaken to reduce erosion. Photo: Rodney Dekker/OxfamAUS

Photo: Rodney Dekker/OxfamAUS

With salt water intrusion, the groundwater previously used in Tuvalu for drinking and watering gardens is sometimes no longer suitable. This means tanks are increasingly needed to store rainwater. Photo: Rodney Dekker/OxfamAUS

Photo: Dan Chung/Oxfam

Bangladesh is no stranger to extreme weather events: between 30–70% of Bangladesh is flooded every year. Climate change is expected to make this even worse. Sufia lost her five-year-old son when he was swept away in flood waters. Here, Sufia is pictured raising the ground level to lift her house above future floods. Photo: Dan Chung/Oxfam

Women at the forefront of change

Women are often at the forefront of the climate change adaptation programs needed to ensure their families and communities get enough to eat.

We support women and their communities to understand and plan for escalating climate impacts. We are campaigning for stronger action to mitigate climate change and for funds that will enable communities to adapt to the changes that have already taken place.

Holding the international community to account

Small-scale women farmers like Yvette Abrahams are appealing to the global community to take stronger action. Yvette is a farmer from South Africa. This is a précis of an address she made at the Doha climate talks in 2012.

“My ancestral lands will become 4-6 degrees hotter. That is if we can keep the [global] average temperature increase to two degrees.

“My family is meeting to discuss moving. We cannot stay.

“I have observed that the grass stops growing at about 38 degrees and so there will be nothing to feed our livestock soon. It is very emotional for us as a family.

“When indigenous people lose their land, it is not just about food and material welfare. When we lose our land we also lose our spiritual practices which are deeply tied to the land. So the little that we have managed to preserve through slavery, genocide, colonialism and apartheid, we are about to lose to climate change.

“Climate finance [provided by rich countries] is restorative justice. I appeal to you to not leave this to your children to sort out. Because they are going to have to share a planet with my children.”