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Cartoons and humour help us confront tough conversations. Simple at first glance but complex at the second, they have the capacity to cut through to the heart of an issue, shedding light on the contradictions, incongruities, and tensions of our circumstances. And often, our choices too.
At the recent VICE Creators Summit: Climate Uprise organised in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), cartoonists, humanitarians, young artists, and activists came together to do just that — injecting humour into the climate change debate to get people thinking, talking, and creating. The three cartoonists from Cartoon Collections brought to life key messages on conflict and climate change central to the ICRC report “When Rains Turns to Dust.” Based on research in southern Iraq, northern Mali, and the interior of the Central African Republic, the report explores people’s experiences facing a double threat of war and climate risk. Using humour to kick-start conversations on some of the most confronting challenges of our times could be a gateway to in-depth dialogue and solutions.
Humanitarian organisations must lead by example, limiting the damage they cause to the environment, becoming more “green,” and reducing their footprint in countries where they provide assistance.
When a country is already enduring conflict, climate change may also contribute to prolonging the instability by further destabilizing institutions and systems. In the absence of support, people’s ability to cope is weakened and communities may be forced to drastically change their way of life and diversify their livelihoods, or move away from their homes.
We’re already witnessing the impacts of climate change on people’s lives. It’s not a future emergency — it’s already happening. Humanity faces a choice to act now and address the potential risks, or to do nothing.
People affected by conflict are among those most vulnerable to the climate crisis, but they are also among those most neglected by climate action. Major global efforts must be made to limit climate change. They are essential for averting the most disastrous consequences for people and their environment.
The climate is changing everywhere, but it is the people living in fragile contexts who will be most severely impacted. People enduring armed conflict are the ones on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Of the 20 countries considered the most vulnerable to climate change by the ND-Gain Index, 12 are enduring conflict, including Yemen, Mali, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic.
The time to act is now. Climate disruption affects populations across the globe and will continue to do so increasingly. Growing climate risks threaten lives, physical and mental health, and food and economic security.
Conflicts, like climate change, are unfair. They increase vulnerabilities and expose people to injuries, diseases, malnutrition, and displacement, while severely compromising health services.
By 2050, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross, 200 million people could need international humanitarian aid every year — a doubling compared to 2018, partly due to climate change.
What happens when the water dries up? According to UN Water, over 50 percent of the world’s population is expected to living in water-stressed regions by 2050.