Animals face the disastrous effects of climate change
As the climate changes, disasters strike more intensely and more often. Animals are killed in the millions from lack of food and water, disease outbreaks, or unending heat and drought. Unlike us, they cannot do anything about it.
This Earth Day (22 April) marks one year since the world came together to sign the first comprehensive climate change deal, the Paris Agreement. To date, 143 countries have ratified the agreement, recognising we must respond to the urgent threat of climate change.
Despite this positive step, disasters like floods, droughts and super storms are becoming increasingly common. And the communities and animals paying the highest price are usually those least able to afford it. Small island nations are in danger of disappearing due to rising sea levels. Storm surges wash away coastal villages and farms. Droughts cause food shortages and push already poor farmers into extreme poverty.
Animals cannot make environmentally sound decisions or lobby for better policies. But together we can protect them from disasters, educate governments and communities about including animals in disaster plans, and reduce carbon emissions to ultimately slow the threat of climate change.
Protecting animals on the ground
World Animal Protection works with communities to better prepare for disasters and reduce their animals’ vulnerability by:
- initiating early warning systems so people and their animals can evacuate before a disaster hits
- helping with food and water storage to get animals through dangerous or lean times
- working with governments to adjust policies so animals receive protection in official disaster plans.
In 2015 we achieved a first for animals in disasters. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction recognised that to protect people’s livelihoods, governments and communities must focus their disaster-related policies on “the protection of productive assets” including livestock and working animals. As a result, billions of animals will be included in preparedness and risk reduction measures.
You can help animals this Earth Day
On 22 April, we challenge you to take two actions:
- Come up with an emergency plan for your pets and livestock. Find out where evacuation sites are in your community. Ensure your animals’ immunisations are up to date. Prepare an emergency reserve of food and water, and make sure your pets have identification tags. For more ideas on how you and your animals can be better prepared download our free Disaster Pack.
Be a voice for your animals. If you, like 97% of climate scientists, agree that we are the problem making climate change worse, contact your political representative, and talk to your friends to find out what they are doing to reduce the stresses on the world’s climate. If we all take a few small steps, together we can move the world.
On this Earth Day, think of all of us on Earth – humans and animals – and do something good for our planet.