Climate Change

In 2016, the Paris Agreement came into force. It was a sign of commitment and hope for a greener future. With our planet facing extreme weather conditions and abrupt climate changes, we must act swiftly!

Photo: UNDP

As I am writing this article, 13,000 people are trapped in Zermatt, a famous Swiss ski resort, due to an unusually extreme snowfall, the Niagara Falls, on the border of the US and Canada, are partially iced up, Singapore is flooded and a drought in Central Spain is alarming both the authorities and population. And the list is all but exhaustive. Year after year, we are facing increasingly extreme weather conditions that affect everybody’s lives, rich or poor.

SDG 13 is about Climate Action and it has everything to do with our countries’ commitment to put into practice the Paris Agreement. Turning it into reality requires political will, but also the involvement of the private sector, as well as organizations and citizens. The 143 countries that ratified the Paris Agreement have to join efforts and develop national adaptation plans in response to climate change. Developed countries will have to inject about USD 100 billion per year to help achieve target by 2020. Disaster risk reduction strategies and climate change adaptation programs still need to be implemented in many countries to help prevent dramatic consequences such as human losses, forced migration and hunger.

Our Horyou community has been fully committed to SDG 13 through either supporting organizations that monitor and promote climate action, or fostering and participating in meaningful debates about that critical topic. Every year, Horyou organizes the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, a global event that frequently addresses the issue of climate change. SIGEF 2016 was one of the most important COP 22side events in Marrakesh. It hosted many organizations, alongside prominent members of civil society and government officials who highlighted their country’s commitment to climate action.

During SIGEF 2017, in Astana, UN officials, international delegations and private sector experts gathered to assess the most important achievements and urge for more. In 2018, SIGEF will take place in Singapore, and Horyou will take the debate to the next level. More information regarding this fifth edition will be provided shortly!

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote climate action in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

Back in the 1990s, environmental journalism was a brave choice – a relatively new, complicated topic that has only started to engage the global audience, while many broadcasters and newspapers were not yet convinced it was an issue of public interest. Despite all the odds, Mark Kinver decided to pursue the career, and never looked back. The environmental journalist has been working for BBC News for more than 17 years and is always inspired by trees, as much as by people and the mission to report the truth.

Horyou blog is happy to inaugurate the «Changemakers» interview series with Mark Kinver!

Kinver: «People do care about environment»

When and why did you start covering environmental issues?


I started reporting on environmental issues back in the late 1990s. I had always been interested in politics but I became a bit dismayed with the seemingly petty nature of disputes within political parties and within the mechanics of the party political process. I did not want to follow a career in an arena which left me feeling somewhat disenchanted. So I looked around for an issue/topic that I could focus on. The environment had always been a central part of my life. As a youngster, I either spent my time on moorland or beaches, and I loved trees (still do!). I have not looked back since then and have reported on environmental stories all over the world.


In the last few years, environmental issues have been gathering more global attention and making daily headlines. Are you optimistic about the public awareness of these topics?

Yes. People do care about environmental issues. Whether it is about the energy they use, the transport that takes them from A to B, the food they eat, or the plight of threatened species. What environmentally focused organisations and individuals need to remember is that people do care. However, they also care about keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table. It may not be the top priority for most people but it is still an issue. Give people facts and they will act. Give people emotion and they will become suspicious.


More often than not, environmental coverage touches on social issues. How to raise the public’s attention to the interconnectivity between the environment and society?

Avoid buzzwords and concepts like interconnectivity and interdependency etc. People just need to become aware of the relationship their have with the land around them. This will take time, and a big question is whether we have enough time left to make us all a sustainable species. I remain hopeful that we will forge a closer relationship with the planet and the means of how it sustains us.


Who inspires you in your work?

People on the front line. Farmers, scientists, business people, etc. They have to face real-world problems on a day-to-day basis, and they have to find the best solution they can. More and more of them are putting environmental considerations centre stage.

What will be your main focus in 2018?


Apart from trees (!) I think food security is going to be an issue we are going to hear more and more about. While there will be a focus on the food supply chains, we will also hear much more about nutrition security – in industrialised economies, experts are concerned that too much sugar and fat is being consumed. This concern will manifest itself in various guises, such as proposed economic instruments, public awareness campaigns and an increase in consumer awareness.

An exhibition inaugurated this week in Barcelona discusses the influence of human behavior on Earth and casts a different light on our world

It’s 2100 and we have a very, very different world. There is no food for all and water is an overpriced good. Lands are dry – well, not all lands. Cattle and fertile farms prosper in Siberia, Greenland or Alaska, but big parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe are now desertified. Does it sound like a nightmare or a prefiguration of the future? Or is this the beginning of the end of the world as we know it?

On Wednesday 25th of October, the «Despŕes de la fí del món» (After the End of the World) exhibition was inaugurated at the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), Spain with a selected audience that was invited to participate in an “Artists’ Talk”, an event whereby a number of artists shared their work and views of the world.

Iron mines in Australia. Source: Daily Overview from Benjamin Grant

Benjamin Grant, the founder of Daily Overview, a project which explores the power of high-resolution satellite photography and which made him a popular social media personality, was one of the talking artists. His idea is to offer a different perspective on our planet, either by sharing beautiful landscapes such as the Amazon rainforest and the Florida Everglades or the ugly impact of mining and of the refugee crisis worldwide. Some of his work bears a strong resemblance to that of Piet Mondrian and Ellsworth Kelly. «There is a lot of thinking behind my work. I want to raise awareness of our planet by showing how it’s changing through perspectives we can’t have in our everyday lives», he said.

The artists and expeditionists Kate Davies and Liam Young presented Unknown Fields, a nomad study that shows the shadows of the contemporary city. In their expeditions around the world, they uncover the impacts of industry and consumption on nature and human lives. The “forgotten ones” – that is the hidden workers of the fashion industry or the cargo ships that travel the world endlessly to deliver goods – are integrated with our daily lives in unexpected and surprising ways.

Unknown Fields Division Showreel 2013 from liam young on Vimeo.

The amazing transformation of Singapore is the topic chosen by Charles Lim. Using maps and telling local stories, he exposes how rapidly the landscape of his country has changed – through land reclamation from the sea, elimination of hills, and renaming islands, Singapore has lived through an intense land revolution, still ongoing.

The collective Rimini Protokoll, from Germany, shared a surprising experience with Documental Theatre. One of the ‘plays’ invited an audience of 500 people to be part of an imaginary Conference of the Parties (COP) whereby they are asked to make decisions for each country and try to reach the 2020 target on greenhouse gases emissions. It is an exercise of awareness and commitment that changes the perspective of normal citizens on climate change.

«Després de la fí del món» is an exhibition that explores Earth in 2017, a planet irreversibly transmuted into Paul J. Crutzen’s Anthropocene after many centuries of the influence of human behavior. Yet it is also an exhibition that forecasts the second half of 21st century and determines our generation’s responsibility to future generations.

Um fundo de investimentos criado para estimular a inovação aplicada ao meio ambiente – essa é uma das estratégias da Inseed Investimentos para estimular o empreendedorismo sustentável no Brasil. João Pirola, diretor da empresa, fala ao Horyou blog sobre como investir em negócios verdes pode ir além do ‘politicamente correto’ e trazer lucros e inovação para o negócio.

Quando o fundo foi lançado e qual a proposta por trás de sua criação?

Dentre as iniciativas de inovação, existe um espaço para as pequenas e médias empresas inovadoras que buscam desenvolver soluções que impactam direta e positivamente o meio ambiente. A principal questão destas empresas menores é ter acesso a recursos para conseguir fazer isso em escala maior e velocidade. Da mesma forma que as grandes empresas industriais têm muito recurso para explorar e para produzir, as pequenas e médias também deveriam ser capazes de acessar recursos para desenvolver suas soluções inovadoras e assim, gerarem grande impacto no meio ambiente. Neste contexto e com esta proposta surgiu o Fundo FIP Inseed FIMA, criado pelo BNDES em 2012, e gerido pela Inseed Investimentos. Empresas do setor de tecnologias limpas, com faturamento de até R$ 20 milhões ao ano, podem candidatar-se a receber aporte de capital do Fundo. São R$ 165 milhões de capital comprometido para aporte em até 20 empresas até o fim de 2017. O Fundo contempla três eixos de investimento: Soluções Ambientais, Tecnologias Avançadas e Agropecuária Sustentável, e Novos Modelos.

João Pirola. Foto Cláudio Camarotta

Um dos grandes temas correntes é a inovação social – você acredita que negócios responsáveis social e ambientalmente podem gerar lucros tão expressivos quanto os de negócios tradicionais?

Sim. Eu diria que empreendedorismo, inovação e meio ambiente são os grandes temas do momento. Tudo que a gente fizer do ponto de vista industrial, econômico, urbano ou agrícola tem que estar dentro de uma equação de menor impacto: Como recuperar aquela matéria prima? Como fazer uma melhor compostagem? Como usar menos agrotóxico? Como fazer mais coisas orgânicas? Mas tudo isso também pensando em rentabilidade e economia, pois o sustentável, a princípio, não pode ser mais caro, se não ele vai criar uma restrição. A nova agenda do século XXI implica inovações tecnológicas e a capacidade de empreendê-las, com o olhar sobre o meio ambiente sempre presente.

Como você vê o futuro da inovação ambiental?

O caminho é o incentivo e o estimulo à inovação tecnológica. A Inseed é gestora de um fundo de inovação em meio ambiente, criado pelo BNDES e pioneiro no Brasil. Acreditamos que grande parte dos problemas ambientais atuais, que foram gerados com a industrialização, ou com a urbanização, podem ser acolhidos, equacionados e até minimizados com a aplicação de inovação tecnológica em diversas áreas. Ao trazermos a temática “inovação ambiental”, queremos convidar o empreendedor a ter um novo olhar sobre o meio ambiente.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja a mudança, seja Horyou!

UN End Hunger goal is to achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Horyou’s new series is about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Every week, Horyou blog will publish an article about one goal, highlighting projects and actions that have been supporting its implementation.

Children under 5 are one of the most hunger vulnerable groups

One in ten people on our planet is undernourished. In rough numbers, they are 793 million, and one-fifth of them are children under 5 years of age. By contrast, 41 million children under 5 worldwide are affected by overweight and obesity – that’s 6% of children population. The numbers are shocking, yet the situation has improved in the 21st century – efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition have advanced significantly since 2000. Ending hunger, food insecurity for all, however, will require continued and focused efforts, especially in Asia and Africa.

Is there a way to improve both scenarios?

Horyou volunteer serving food at “The Meal”

The answer, according to the UNDP, lies in more investments in agriculture, including government spending and aid. It is in funding small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production systems, as well as making an effort to maintain the genetic diversity of plants and animals, both crucial for agriculture and food production. As of February 2017, 20 percent of local animal breeds were classified as at risk, according to data gathered in 128 countries. It’s all connected – global warming affects crops, animal breeds and food prices -, causing insecurity, civil unrest and wars. In 2016, 21 countries experienced high or moderately high domestic prices, relative to their historic levels, for one or more staple cereal food commodities. Thirteen of those countries were in sub-Saharan Africa. The main causes of high prices were declines in domestic output, currency depreciation, and insecurity.

Some governments have invested in long-term agricultural subsidies programs, according to the UNDP. It’s not enough. We, as a society, can act, either by supporting organizations which foster diverse and sustainable agriculture, participate in educational projects to promote healthy and responsible food consumption or spread the word about reducing waste.

On our Horyou platform, you can support projects like The Meal, which organizes festive and healthy meals for people who can’t afford good food in several countries – the last edition took place in 54 consecutive cities around the world! Or SOS Faim Luxembourg, an NGO which works in African rural areas to promote family farming and microfinance. The Green Bronx Machine, based in the US, uses education and school farming to teach kids about the importance of healthy eating habits and local food systems.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps fight hunger in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

La communauté Horyou soutient la prise de conscience sur le changement climatique. Le SIGEF à Marrakech lors de la COP22 est un signe de l’engagement de Horyou en faveur de la mobilisation internationale et de l’espoir pour la durabilité et la préservation de notre planète. Nous sommes heureux de partager avec vous un article de Achim Steiner, Patricia Espinosa et Robert Glasser, de l’UNDP, UNFCCC et UNISDR.

Patricia Espinosa
Patricia Espinosa

De Miami à Porto Rico, en passant par Barbuda et La Havane, les ravages de la saison des ouragans, cette année, dans toute l’Amérique latine et les Caraïbes est un rappel que les effets du changement climatique ne connaissent pas de frontières.

Ces dernières semaines, des ouragans de catégorie 5 ont réduit à néant la vie de millions de gens dans les Caraïbes et sur le continent américain. Harvey, Irma et Maria ont particulièrement été dévastateurs. Les 3,4 millions d’habitants de Porto Rico essaient par tous les moyens d’obtenir des produits de base, tels que de la nourriture et de l’eau, l’île de Barbuda est devenue inhabitable, et des dizaines de personnes sont portées disparues ou décédées sur l’île de la Dominique classée au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO.

Les conséquences ne se limitent pas à cette région. Le niveau record d’inondations enregistré au Bangladesh, en Inde et au Népal a rendu la vie pénible à quelque 40 millions de personnes. Plus de 1 200 personnes ont péri et plusieurs autres ont perdu leurs maisons, des cultures ont été détruites, et de nombreux lieux de travail ont été inondés. Parallèlement, au cours des 18 derniers mois, l’état d’urgence provoqué par la sécheresse a été déclaré dans 20 pays en Afrique, avec d’importants déplacements observés dans toute la région de la corne.

Pour les pays les moins avancés, l’impact des catastrophes naturelles peut être sévère, privant de moyens d’existence et retardant les progrès dans la santé et l’éducation ; en ce qui concerne les pays développés et à revenu intermédiaire, les pertes économiques d’infrastructures seules peuvent être énormes ; pour les deux catégories, ces évènements rappellent la nécessité d’agir face au changement climatique dont la menace de catastrophe est non seulement plus fréquente mais plus grave.

Le typhon Rammasun (Glenda) traverse la province de Laguna avec des vents de plus de 120 km/h en 2014 en Philippines
Le typhon Rammasun (Glenda) traverse la province de Laguna avec des vents de plus de 120 km/h en 2014 en Philippines

Un signe (inquiétant) avant-coureur ?

Les effets d’un climat plus chaud sur ces récents évènements climatiques, tant pour leur sévérité que pour leur fréquence, ont été révélateurs pour beaucoup, car, même la grande majorité qui accepte la science a reconnu que le réchauffement de la planète est le fait de l’homme.

Si la catastrophe silencieuse de la mort prématurée de 4,2 millions de personnes chaque année à cause de la pollution ambiante, davantage liée à l’utilisation des combustibles fossiles, est relativement peu médiatisée, l’incidence des gaz à effet de serre qui capturent la chaleur sur les phénomènes météorologiques extrêmes, elle, fait l’objet d’une attention croissante.

Comment pourrait-il en être autrement quand, les impacts de ces évènements météorologiques sont si lourds. Au cours des deux dernières années, plus de 40 millions de personnes, notamment dans des pays qui contribuent le moins au réchauffement climatique, ont été forcées d’abandonner leurs foyers soit définitivement soit temporairement à cause des catastrophes.

En Mongolie, à cause de la froideur, il y a un phénomène que nous avons vu deux fois au cours des dix dernières années. Il s'appelle "dzud" où vous avez une sécheresse en été et un hiver extrêmement froid.
En Mongolie, à cause de la froideur, il y a un phénomène que nous avons vu deux fois au cours des dix dernières années. Il s’appelle “dzud” où vous avez une sécheresse en été et un hiver extrêmement froid.

Un consensus se dégage clairement : la hausse des températures augmente la quantité de vapeur d’eau dans l’atmosphère, entrainant des précipitations plus intenses et des inondations à certains endroits, et des sécheresses à d’autres. Certaines zones vivent les deux, comme ce fut le cas cette année en Californie, où des inondations record ont succédé à des années d’intense sécheresse.

TOPEX/Poseidon, le premier satellite à mesurer avec précision l’élévation du niveau de la mer, avait été lancé deux semaines avant l’ouragan Andrew qui avait touché la côte de la Floride il y a 25 ans. Ces mesures ont observé une augmentation globale de 3,4 millimètres par an et depuis lors, un total de 85 millimètres sur 25 ans, ou 3,34 pouces.

La hausse du niveau de la mer et son réchauffement contribuent à l’intensité des tempêtes tropicales dans le monde. Nous continuerons à subir les conséquences anormales et souvent imprévues des niveaux existants des gaz à effet de serre dans l’atmosphère, au cours des nombreuses années à venir.

En 2009, la Suisse a publié à nouveau une étude de cas portant sur les comtés de Miami-Dade, Broward et Palm Beach, qui envisageait un scénario de montée du niveau de la mer pour les années 2030 correspondant à ce qui s’est déjà produit aujourd’hui. Si une tempête de l’ampleur d’Andrew avait frappé ce coin riche des États-Unis aujourd’hui, les dégâts économiques auraient varié entre 100 et 300 milliards $ US. D’après les estimations actuelles, les pertes économiques liées à Harvey, Irma et Maria pourraient dépasser ces chiffres.

Climate Change small

Le typhon Ketsana (Ondoy) a chuté de 455 mm (17,9 po) de pluie sur la ville de Manille en l'espace de 24 heures le 26 septembre 2009.
Le typhon Ketsana (Ondoy) a chuté de 455 mm (17,9 po) de pluie sur la ville de Manille en l’espace de 24 heures le 26 septembre 2009.

Réduction des risques de catastrophes maintenant, lutte contre les changements climatiques à long terme

Miami fait tout son possible pour développer son programme de protection contre les inondations ; 400 millions $ US ont été alloués au financement des pompes à eau de mer, de routes améliorées et de digues. Cependant, ce niveau de dépense est hors de portée des pays à faible revenu et à revenu intermédiaire qui risquent de perdre une bonne partie de leur PIB chaque fois qu’ils sont frappés par des inondations et des tempêtes.

Si l’Accord de Paris a mis le monde sur la voie d’un avenir faible en carbone à long terme, ce chemin n’en est pas moins hasardeux, ce qui reflète un pragmatisme et des réalités propres à chaque pays. Or, s’il est prévu que les émissions de dioxyde de carbone diminuent à mesure que les pays atteignent leurs cibles déclarées, les effets du changement climatique pourraient se faire sentir pendant un certain temps encore, ne laissant d’autre choix au monde que d’investir, simultanément, dans des efforts pour s’adapter au changement climatique et réduire le risque de catastrophe naturelle. Les avantages de telles actions se justifient sur le plan économique si on les compare au coût de reconstruction.

Ceci nécessitera une coopération internationale à une échelle jusqu’ici sans précédent, alors que nous nous attaquons à la tâche la plus ardue qui est de faire de notre planète un lieu plus résilient face aux effets à retardement des émissions de gaz à effet de serre que nous continuerons à vivre pendant les prochaines années. La restauration de l’équilibre écologique entre les émissions et la capacité d’absorption naturelle de la planète est un objectif à long terme. Il est important de rappeler que la réduction à long terme des émissions est LA tactique de réduction des risques la plus importante dont nous disposons, et nous devons parvenir à cette ambition.

La Conférence des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques, qui se tiendra à Bonn, en novembre, présidée par la petite île des Fidji, offre une opportunité non seulement d’accélérer la réduction des émissions, mais aussi de soutenir le travail sérieux consistant à s’assurer que la gestion du risque climatique est incluse dans la gestion des risques de catastrophes dans son ensemble. La pauvreté, l’urbanisation rapide, la mauvaise utilisation de terres, la dégradation des écosystèmes et d’autres facteurs de risques accroissent les impacts du changement climatique. À l’occasion de la Journée internationale de la prévention des catastrophes, nous demandons que des mesures soient prises à cet égard de façon holistique.

Achim Steiner est l’Administrateur du Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement, www.undp.org

Patricia Espinosa est la Secrétaire exécutive de la Convention-cadre des Nations Unies sur les Changements climatiques, www.unfccc.int

Robert Glasser est le Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général pour la réduction des risques de catastrophe et le Chef du Bureau des Nations Unies pour la réduction des risques de catastrophe, www.unisdr.org

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