COP26: International aid organisation praises young Scottish Muslims but paints bleak picture for climate change

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A humanitarian aid group has used COP26 in Glasgow to say it is now re-focusing its efforts and aims by trying to save the planet as well as carrying out its day-to-day work.

Islamic Relief has been integral to the protests seen in the city so far, stating it’s fully aware of the impact climate change is having on their projects.

The charity is dealing with crises all over the world helping those who are suffering from starvation, poor health, a lack of education and here in the UK, they support people who are living in poverty, are homeless or who are refugees.

This week, the non-governmental organisation says it has praised so many young Scottish Muslims that it has worked with alongside Greenpeace and the COP26 Coalition.

A spokesperson said: “For young Muslims in the UK, climate change threatens places where many of them have relatives, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“These countries are often hit by floods and droughts, causing destroyed crops, homes, livelihoods and huge suffering.

“As well as concern for others overseas, many young Muslims are also worried about not being able to perform their sacred task of Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca – as climate change will make it too hot and dangerous in the future.”

Young people in attendance at the Islamic Relief talk in Edinburgh this week. Pic credit – Islamic Relief

Since their launch 1984 they claim to have saved and transformed over 120 million people’s lives and supported 13 million people last year including 1,613 UK residents.

Maria Zafar, Islamic Relief UK’s Campaigns and Public Affairs Coordinator said: “It’s inspiring to see the next generation step up to the challenge of tackling climate change.

“Seeing these young individuals so passionate about doing everything they can to save the planet gives me hope for the future.

“It’s our duty as Muslims to safeguard the planet as custodians of the Earth and this message is resonating with the young.

“These youngsters are also determined to make a huge difference to the countless people in countries across the world who are suffering as floods and droughts devastate people’s lives.”

Protestors out in force in Glasgow city centre on Saturday 6th November.

The foundation has made their feelings on climate change very clear as they have expressed in their `Adapting for Climate Justice` report that climate change is global in its causes and consequences, so everyone must contribute to mitigating and adapting to climate change”.

However, perhaps the more relevant line to show Islamic Relief`s plans for climate change is developing countries and poor and marginalised people are disproportionately affected by climate change – even though they have contributed less to the problem. Climate change is a moral issue of social justice. This concept is known as climate justice.

Some people may associate the idea of climate justice with the group Extinction Rebellion; however, the first Climate Justice summit took place 16 years before the group`s formation in 2000.

The climate justice concept hinges on the fact that the world`s rich have caused significantly more damage to the climate when compared to the world`s poorest, and that the damage done by one of the super elites, with their expensive cars and first-class flights, is the equivalent of the damage done by millions in the third world.

Therefore, it is only fair if the 1% give some of their millions to help undo the damaged caused by their carbon footprint.

Even moving away from using the super elite as an example, the carbon damage by people in the UK travelling to work, using their central heating and so on, is still considerably higher than the same number of people living in a developing country.

Islamic Relief are hoping to use this concept to help save millions of lives that otherwise would be left defenceless against the changing climate`s side effects such as droughts, floods, and fires, all of which can consistently bring many villages in the developing world to their knees.

To quote the foundation “Less prosperous countries may be able to make choices to combine development with climate sensitivity.

“But for many, especially those already struggling with poverty, worsening conditions will push them over the brink – unless their efforts are supported by those who have more.”

The foundation is relying on donations to help make this plan work and has made it clear that there are already signs of this new model working and whilst we can`t say for certain if it has, it looks incredibly promising.

What`s more, with COP 26 coming to a close it`s becoming clearer that Islamic Relief is not the humanitarian foundation, or group that has considered its attitude to climate change and is now working towards a carbon neutral world.

One quick look at the COP26 coalition list shows numerous charities that, much like Islamic Relief, are not only focused on helping those who are less fortunate, but also keeping carbon neutral as they do so. Only time will tell if their methods will be affective.

 

 

 

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