American Red Cross statement on climate change
(This statement was issued by the American Red Cross last Wednesday, the eve of President Biden’s two-day leaders’ summit on climate change.)
Climate change is a humanitarian crisis. Every day, the American Red Cross sees the heartbreak of families and communities trying to cope with more intense storms, heavier rainfall, higher temperatures, stronger hurricanes and more devastating wildfires.
And for the vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by the increased and virtually chronic frequency of these events, help cannot come soon enough.
There is clear scientific evidence that climate change is occurring. These changes – caused in part by human behavior – are already resulting in more frequent and intense weather events.
If left unabated, this will place an unprecedented burden on families and on the resilience of communities.
Helping people prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters has been at the heart of the Red Cross mission since our founding. It is through this lens that we see climate change as a serious and devastating threat for the 21st century.
Our seven Fundamental Principles – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality – are at the very root of our mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering, and these principles call on the Red Cross to address climate change and the severe impact it has on our communities.
The Red Cross is committed to doing our part to reduce the current and future humanitarian impacts of climate change globally.
We will build the resilience of our organization as well as the resilience of the communities and people we serve by adapting our mission delivery and growing our operational capacity to address the heightened impacts and quickened pace of disasters.
We will further invest in environmental sustainability through reduction in our carbon footprint and provide our learnings through community climate education and advocacy for those who bear the disproportionate effects of climate change.
We will take these actions in collaboration with our partners and suppliers, with a specific emphasis on working with our International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement colleagues around the world to extend these investments in resilience and sustainability to achieve similar objectives in ways tailored to the distinct needs of National Societies as they experience this humanitarian crisis.
In upholding these commitments, we are always guided by our principles of voluntary service and unity – and look forward to continuing to be part of this critical effort to fight climate change and alleviate human suffering for today, and for the generations that follow us.
Eighty-three per cent of all disasters triggered by natural hazards were the result of extreme weather and climate-related events, pushing 26 million people into poverty over the past ten years, said the American Red Cross in an infographic tweeted on the day world leaders convened online for a climate summit organized by the Biden administration. (Infographic: American Red Cross)