12 February 2015
This Valentine’s Day, at ActionAid we're wearing our heart on our sleeve and standing up for what we love that could be lost to climate change. We’ve joined the UK Climate Coalition - the largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change - to #showthelove.
There’s so much people love that could be lost to climate change, from polar bears to the amazon rainforest, but at ActionAid the thing we love the most is people. We work with the poorest people in the world, living on the margins of survival. And it’s these people who are being hit first and worst by climate change.
Bangladesh is home to 160 million people. It’s gorgeously green and bursting with life. But it’s among the countries most affected by climate change and ranks first as the nation likely to lose the most in the future.
Three things Bangladesh could lose to climate change
With more than 700 rivers, Bangladesh has a deliciously lush landscape that families have handed down from generation to generation.
But the increasing rise in sea level, caused by climate change, coupled with extreme weather like typhoons and hurricanes, means flooding is more severe and happening more often. It’s demolishing people’s homes and crops. It’s destroying their livelihoods.
Agriculture is really important in Bangladesh. It is the main provider of jobs, and rice – the country’s staple crop – is vital to feed its 160 million people.
But as sea levels rise, rice paddies and farmland are getting more and more salty, making it extremely difficult to grow crops.
With 37 million people already facing food shortages in Bangladesh, it’s extremely worrying that more than half of coastal areas are now affected by salty water, making farmland useless.
Our sponsored children enjoy going to school in Bangladesh.
But flooding and storms keep disrupting children’s schooling. Whether that’s studying in cramped make-shift classrooms when schools flood, or missing school altogether to take shelter, climate change is making getting an education even harder for kids already at a disadvantage.
Fears for the future
The communities we work with in Bangladesh are proud of the huge strides the country has made since its independence in 1971, including progress on gender equality, food production and healthcare, but the effects of climate change are a threat to everything that has been achieved.
It’s not too late
For 32 years we’ve been helping over half a million people fight poverty and claim their rights in Bangladesh, and we’re not about to stop now.
The science is proven. Time is short. But love is strong and if we act now, we could save the Bangladesh we love.