Climate Action

How climate change threatens to reverse the progress we’ve made to reduce poverty and achieve gender equality.

The world’s poorest communities have contributed the least to global heating, but they are the most exposed to its impacts. For those living on the most fragile land and without the resources to adapt, coping with climate-related disasters is becoming harder and harder.

We’re working with communities to build climate resilience 

Plan International works across south-east Asia and the Pacific to help communities adapt to climate change, to make sure children, women and marginalised groups are involved to help shape the design of our projects.

We cannot stop climate change, but we can do something to lessen its effects. Everyone, even children like us, has a role to play. We have chosen to take part and be part of the solution
  • Louisa, 15, Philippines.

These projects include planting vegetable gardens at school using climate-resilient seeds, and mangrove or tree-planting to protect coasts from floods and storms. We’re also working with communities to improve farming practices and to prepare for and to respond to disasters. We reach children and adults through games, school-curriculum and community outreach.

Climate change magnifies gender inequality. That’s why climate action must include girls.

Educating girls is one of the most effective, and most overlooked, ways to mitigate climate change. In fact, for every year a girl stays in school, her country’s climate resilience measurably improves.

But unfortunately, climate change magnifies the inequalities girls and women already suffer, such as their unequal access to health, sexual reproductive health and rights, education, participation and protection.

In times of crisis, girls are the first to drop out of school to help their families earn money, to tend to domestic duties or look after relatives, and they face an increased risk of exploitation and abuse.

These are some examples of how climate change is already impacting girls:

  • As water and firewood become less accessible, girls spend more and more time collecting these essentials for their families, putting them at risk of violence and increasing the likelihood of them missing out on school.
  • Girls’ education is often the first thing families sacrifice when financial resources are in short supply.
  • Girls are at greater risk of child marriage when their families face economic hardship, leaving millions of girls at risk of sexual and physical abuse, early pregnancy and maternal death.
  • Meanwhile, for girls and young women forced to leave their homes – because of a lack of natural resources or access to the income they need to survive – there are multiple challenges to face, including a much higher risk of exploitation, as well as the loss of their education, community support and livelihoods.

While climate change exacerbates gender inequality and is on track to reverse crucial gains, climate action can be a pathway to greater equality and improving the rights of girls, if their needs and voices are included. We know that promoting girls’ leadership, and their political empowerment, supports them in accessing their rights, in gaining knowledge and skills, and influencing important decisions around climate change.

Studies also show that female leaders are incredibly effective in conservation and protection efforts, and are more likely to pursue more sustainable futures for their communities.

15-year-old Louisa is helping her community adapt

Louisa is one of thousands of children in her country who are dealing with the effects of climate change which scientists believe is causing an increasing number of deadly typhoons. None have been deadlier than Typhoon Haiyan which claimed over 6,300 lives and displaced over 4 million people.

We experienced the typhoon in 2013 and now we fear losing our homes as the shore is slowly being eaten away by the sea. If we do not do something, we might be homeless in the future due to coastal erosion.
  • Louisa, 15, Philippines.

Louisa and her friends decided to act after taking part in a number of environmental training sessions run by Plan International, which put children at the centre of climate change adaptation in six municipalities in Western Samar, Eastern Samar and Leyte.

“We are doing coastal clean-ups and planting mangrove trees on the beach and will soon be helping our community manage the waste it produces,” says Louisa, 15, one of the climate change activists from Eastern Visayas in the Philippines that was badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

As well as planting trees to protect against erosion and cleaning up beaches, they also lead information drives in different villages and schools to inform community members about the impact of climate change and what can be done to reduce its effects.

With support from Plan International, the group recently secured funding from their local council to carry out their work after presenting their action plan and showing how they would use the funding to help their community adapt to climate change and prepare for disasters.

We conduct climate change training for our parents, aunties, uncles and neighbours. We also train our fellow children and young people.
  • Louisa, 15, Philippines.

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