Now ask them to close their eyes and imagine….
Humans have unwittingly unleashed powerful toxic agents that are altering the atmosphere. Air and sea currents are no longer stable, extreme weather events are occurring on every continent. Droughts, floods, massive storms, fires, dust storms and rising seas, are engulfing the planet. At the same time scientists warn of massive species extinction on a scale not seen on the earth since the time of the dinosaurs. Heat trapping gases are warming the arctic, melting glaciers and resulting in an ice free “top of the world” within a decade, an occurrence which hasn’t happened on Earth for 3 million years. Methane gas is already bubbling up from the no longer frozen tundra and in lakes that have been frozen for millennia. Human suffering and disasters abound, including a horrific drought in the Horn of Africa (which includes the countries of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia) where arable land has turned into desert, displacing millions, causing civil war…famine has struck…250,000 people have died in the first 2 years of the crisis, half of them under the age of five. Who will save us…?
No, this isn’t the story line of the new Man of Steel movie, nor is it the outline of a science fiction disaster film. This is the very real life planetary emergency of our own making that we are living through NOW. Scientists tell us that we humans are the cause – primarily through our energy choices and abuse and misuse of our natural resources. Human created greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere have set in motion a first in our planet’s history: humans have now become the driving force of climate change; more powerful then volcanoes, natural cycles and solar flares.
While there are many causes and therefore are a wide range of tools we need to develop at multiple levels to deal with the climate crisis, one part of this disaster – the famine in the Horn of Africa – has a solution. “S” is for hope and for a real and achievable solution. We can ALL be heroes and create a positive and hopefully outcome for the people of the Horn of Africa, if we have the will to do so. As Jor-El, Superman father explains to Superman in Man of Steel, hope can be an important tool to inspire humans – bringing out the best in us – helping us join forces for planetary good. The crisis in the Horn of Africa is an incredibly important opportunity for us to do just that.
So, grab the your kids and let DC Entertainment and the Justice League, through their “We Can Be Heroes” campaign help you learn how. At the same time you can learn more about the organizations leading the charge and the heroes that do walk amongst us. Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corp are all “on the ground” in the Horn working to feed the people suffering from this crisis.
For those Superman and Justice league fans, here’s how DC Entertainment and Indiegogo can help you “get something good” and “do something great” at the same time through the We Can Be Heroes Campaign. Here’s an opportunity to acquire some unique memorabilia, and your purchase goes to support the We Can be Heroes campaign and the three partner organizations, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corp who are all fighting to save lives in the Horn of Africa. The Indiegogo campaign ends on July 8th, but the We Can be Heroes campaign continues. Help your kids understand that even small acts can add up to or result in BIG change. While your at it, check out the Real Heroes project and encourage your kids to enter by uploading a video, or consider entering yourself. Let your kids recognize that YOU are a hero too.
I had the opportunity to meet Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, (photo middle) and a true hero, at a screening of Man of Steel. My 13 year old daughter accompanied me to the movie – which we both loved – and for the moment, she thinks that I am a “hero too!” I also got to connect with Onica, Jessica and Jennifer, fellow Global Team of 200 bloggers, part of a national network of Mom Bloggers for Social Good.
For those of you who are looking for more information about the crisis in the Horn of Africa, check in with Save the Children. But in a nutshell, the people most impacted in East Africa are those that have been living off the land. Subsistence, small-scale agriculture and herding has been their way of life for generations. In war torn poor countries with unstable governments, this creates a situation where these people are incredibly vulnerable to extreme weather events. In addition, water shortages, less predictable rainy seasons, and droughts all combine to create volatile conditions that erupt quickly, leaving no safety net for the most vulnerable populations. Scientists tell us that the probability of these droughts and the loss of a predictable rainy season is the new “normal” rather then the exception in this region, a direct result of climate change.
So, while we can and must deal with the immediate needs, the long-term outlook for this part of Africa will remain difficult. More effort needs to go into supporting and helping to manage and adapt existing agriculture practices to deal with changing conditions, while at the same time new avenues and opportunities for these populations need to be defined. We also need to get to the root of the problem and that is a burden the whole world shares. How do we change our energy sources, use less energy, and transform our economies so that they operate on clean renewable energy that will help safe guard current and future generations, at the same time as we heal our planet?
To all our Climate Mamas and Papas, you are our real HEROES in our search for answers to these difficult questions and you are what gives us hope!
Women holding Child Photo Credit: Save the Children