THE BLOG
25/11/2015 03:19 GMT | Updated 24/11/2016 05:12 GMT

Any Global Deal on Climate Change Must Put the Poorest Women and Children First

We all want what is best for our children, to live in a just and caring world where human beings work for the common good and not just for profit. I am forever an optimist and I believe passionately that change will happen, it already is, there are a lot of brilliant people doing wonderful work to make this change. My hope for my daughters is that their generation will continue to be curious about the world they live in, to become informed on climate issues, to educate themselves around these issues so that they can become part of the debate, to lobby the government and big business' and make their voices heard. It's something all of us should do as we only have one earth and sooner or later the host might shake us off.

I've always believed that together our voices are stronger. That's why, on Sunday 29 November my family, myself and friends will be joining ActionAid on The People's Climate March ahead of world leaders coming together on 30 November for crucial talks on tackling climate change. This is a huge chance to demand urgent action now and for good.

I've been working with ActionAid for the past few months, having been inspired by their incredible work around women's rights. ActionAid is a charity working for justice for women, reaching millions of people around the world each year through its local, national and global work.

Women and children are often hit the hardest and it is important that the voices of those most affected in these vulnerable communities such as Bangladesh are heard as they are so often ignored. Climate change is a fundamental threat to fighting poverty in Bangladesh. Flood, cyclones and storms are getting bigger and faster in this region. ActionAid helps support by building floodproof villages and teaches children how to survive in a disaster. They provide salt-resistant seeds as over two million acres of farmland is already affected by saline (salt water) flooding. This poisons fields and pollutes rivers and wells (WHO 2014)

Bangladeshis have one of the lowest carbon footprints per head in the world.

Many people think that climate change is something that may happen in the distant future and that it's only an environmental issue but there is huge scientific evidence that supports the claim that it's happening now. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) makes the case that change is real and happening much more strongly than before and that most developing countries are already seeing its effects.

We are already facing a huge refugee crisis due to conflicts and poverty around the world but evidence suggests that the effects of climate change will continue to cause mass migration which will ultimately affect all countries. 'One in seven Bangladesh's are likely to become climate refugees in the next thirty years' (IPCC 2015)

But women in Bangladesh are standing up against this devastation, women supported by ActionAid like Sarbita and Haoa who have worked tirelessly to support their local communities adapt to the changes. Sarbita, 38, was trained to become an Emergency Response Leader by ActionAid. When Cyclone Viyaru hit her village in 2013 she used her mobile phone to keep in touch with 22 women from neighbouring villages. They led the evacuation effort together and helped get around 500 villagers to cyclone centres.

Haoa, 32, has been a force for change in her local community. Despite losing her home and farm to Cyclone Sidr and extreme flooding Haoa has tirelessly campaigned to support her village adapt to the devastating effects of climate change, she has lobbied local government to repair and strengthen broken river embankments and raised dykes in eight local canals so that fresh water can be stored.

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I will be marching for these brave women as I stand with the people of Bangladesh and demand a deal that will put some of the poorest women and children first and give them the means to adapt to climate change and the devastating impact on their lives and livelihoods. I urge people to join me and show solidarity to these two Bangladeshi women, already affected by climate change, that they are not alone in their fight. You are invited to wear something red on the day, forming a huge sea of red, to symbolise rising sea levels and the threat climate change poses to these women and their communities.

So please join ActionAid on the 29th and help make sure that any global deal puts the poorest women and children first.