Living on the front line of climate change

Karen Wood

30 November 2015

What does climate change do to people's lives? Here are 5 people who are fighting cliamte change on the front line. 

The December climate talks in Paris will bring together world leaders to discuss global action on climate change.

But for those of us outside of the negotiation doors, it's important to remind our leaders:

  • how many people are ahead of politicians and working to tackle climate change where they live
  • of the human costs of inaction on the climate
  • how individuals around the world are already being hit by climate change and our inability to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Here are 4 inspirational stories that bring to life the struggle against climate change.

Carlos and Agripina in Peru

Carlos and Agripina from Peru
Carlos and Agripina, fighting land-grabbing and drought in Peru.

Carlos Cenepo Pizango is campaigning to protect indigenous lands the Peruvian Government has opened up to mining and oil companies. These areas include parts of the Amazon.

Such fossil fuel projects also hinder access to water in a country already hit by drought.

Agripina Aguilar Mamani is from Zepita Provincia Chuchito, Puno. She says:

My community is waiting for rain and we are very worried that without it, there will be problems for the upcoming year.

Agripina Aguilar Mamani

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Abeer Al Butmeh in Palestine

Abeer Al Butmeh is a member of renewable energy network PENGON (Friends of the Earth Palestine).

PENGON is, among other things, installing solar panels in Palestine so that more people can have access to electricity.

In Gaza there is a fuel shortage, with some communities only having power for 3 or 4 hours a day.

Without electricity, waste water plants can't operate.

The solution in Gaza is to work towards a focus on renewable energy. Gaza has the sea – we can use energy from the sea, and from solar.


Abeer Al Butmeh

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Amila in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Flooding in Maglaj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flooding in Maglaj, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Amila Omersoftić is living first-hand with the consequences of climate change. She was evacuated to a refugee centre after her home in the town of Maglaj was flooded.

Amila wants Paris to prompt solutions to climate change, but is worried they won't get effectively applied to affected communities, like her hometown.

I can’t blame anyone by name, but can hold responsible human kind and the race for modernisation and profits, which have no limits, for the sake of which we seem willing to cut the branch on which we sit.

Amila Omersoftić

Massiel in the Dominican Republic

Massiel Figuereo, Dominican Republic
Massiel Figuereo, against coal plants in the Dominican Republic.

Massiel Figuereo campaigns on wildlife, rights and health in Baní.

Local farmers - who produce organic mangoes - will have their crops and livelihoods affected by new coal plants in the area.

It's predicted that ash from these plants will blow into the town too.

Coal is a false solution, says Massiel. The island's energy problem will not be solved with coal, and it will only increase CO2 emissions.

There is no life on a dead planet.

Massiel Figuereo

People all over the world are leading the way to stop climate change. Our politicians need to catch up – and do so quickly.

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Article first published on 6 November 2015

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Agripina Aguilar Mamani, Peru