Africa’s Climate Paradox:  Least responsible but paying the highest price globally.
Africa’s Climate Paradox: Least responsible but paying the highest price globally.

Africa’s Climate Paradox: Least responsible but paying the highest price globally.

We are so blessed to continue to have very rich prayer times with our Global DML team every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  And while those times are rich and community building, they are also challenging as we hear of droughts, floods, and tensions which often arise from economic challenges.  This week I heard of 137 farmers in one area who committed suicide in just the last month and a half because of crop failures caused by excessive rainfall.  Heartbreaking.

We teach about the importance of creation care, and we see many businesses increasing their understanding and purposefulness of being good stewards of creation.  But we can’t control the overall climate, so the businesses and farms that we work with across Africa suffer, and all we can do is watch and pray.

According to a recent report put out by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Africa is suffering the most.  Consider these statistics:

  • Between 1960 and 2020, Africa only accounted for 3.3% of global emissions.  Asia, Europe, and North America have each emitted over eight times the carbon of Africa
  • In Africa, temperatures are increasing faster than the global average, and they are projected to continue doing so during the rest of the 21st century.
  • Africa is most affected of all world regions by droughts and second most affected by floods, with at least 215.3 million people affected over 2010-2022.
  • Climate change is forecasted to push an additional 78 million people into chronic hunger by 2050, over half of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In eight of the ten most climate vulnerable countries in Africa at least 60% of the working population are employed in the highly climate sensitive agricultural sector.
  • 39.7 million additional people in sub-Saharan Africa could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030 due to climate change, more than in any other world region.
  • Since 2010, the number of protests and riots in Africa over water resources have multiplied by 40.
  • In 2020, 4.3 million persons in Africa were newly displaced by natural disaster events, accounting for almost 40% of all new internal displacement on the continent in that year.
  • While almost three-quarters of African countries have achieved SDG13 on climate action, no EU or North American countries is on track for achieving the same.

That last one is striking, isn’t it?  75% of African countries HAVE ACHIEVED the sustainable development goals on climate action, while NO EU or North American country is even on track to achieve it.  

When the impact is imminent and the resources are not available to mitigate the challenges, changes are made.  But for those who don’t feel the challenge as close to home, we don’t.  Why have we not banned plastic bags in the US?  Why have we not banned Styrofoam?  We certainly have the ability to find alternatives, just as many countries in Africa have.  

This past weekend, I read a report that says that there is no longer any safe drinking water in the world due to “forever chemicals” or PFAS.  PFAS are used to make products resistant to oil, heat, stain or water, and can be found in food wrappers, non-stick pans, cosmetics, and more. One study said that 97% of Americans have PFAS in our blood, coming through drinking water.  The guideline values for PFAS have been declining for twenty years.  Rainwater is not only essential for drinking but also for agriculture.

For whatever the reason, we don’t have the resolve to boldly make changes (and I have a feeling one of the major reason is the worshiping of “my rights” in the US over against loving my neighbor, or the good of the community).  And those with the least will suffer the most.  

May God help us learn how to love our neighbor as ourselves.

And as we continue to work with those doing business, from field to fork, please continue to pray for our partners and Marketplace ministers!