Poverty and Climate Change

Erratic rainfall. Dry soil. High temperatures. These are all reflections of climate change, and people who depend on farming for a living are among those hit the hardest. But, with new farming techniques, families are building resilience and preparing for the future.

In Guatemala, CRS is helping coffee farmers cope with the effects of climate change. Coffee leaf rust, a fungus that causes leaves to fall off, is slowly destroying crops that are the livelihoods of these communities. Crop losses have been enormous. In years past, coffee leaf rust has killed 85% of farmer’s crops. CRS is teaching farmers about the causes of the leaf rust as well as help them adjust and build resilience to the changes.

Carlos, one farmer we work with, explains the impact of climate change: “When we came here 17 years ago, the climate was quite different. You could feel a little bit cold. The rains were normal,” he says. ‟Normally, the coffee production or harvest in these places begins in September [or] October, and ends in December. But now … the harvest [begins] about a month before.

“Climate change affects us a lot because it is during this season that rust develops … due to the heat and humidity,” Carlos says.

Climate change impacts the lives of the vulnerable in many ways. The increased temperatures can lead to drought and famine too. And since mosquitos thrive in warmer environments, the threat of malaria rises along with temperatures. Severe weather, including hurricanes, has also increased and caused destruction for communities.

The problem of climate change is not going away, and as time goes on, more farmers are seeing the effects. We must take action to protect our common home and to help the those most vulnerable to the effects climate change.

Post-Paris: Keep Up the Pressure.

While the United States is no longer a member of the Paris Climate Accord—CCGP members spoke out about the ramifications of withdrawing last summer—Congress can still act to keep the United States accountable for caring for the global environment. Representatives in Congress can join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus addressing to climate change.

Write your member of Congress, and ask them to join the Climate Solutions Caucus today!

Find out if your Representative is a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, here.