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DR. MELTEM ONAY; CLIMATE CRISIS AND WOMEN

I do not know exactly whether the agenda is changing rapidly or my point of view is changing with each new information I learn. But there is only one thing I know of: I can easily change my “holistic perspective” with each passing day and adapt to evolution.

Until about two months ago, I was talking about the importance of “climate change” and trying to raise the awareness of the people around me by focusing on the problems in the field of agriculture. More precisely, I was trying to create an urgent “awareness”. But this week, I realized a very important actor who can find a solution to climate change: WOMEN’S…

Even if we cannot stop the effects of climate change, by going through women who live in the world and who are always more sensitive to the issue, who run the home economy, who appear in the secondary but are actually the real heroes of many businesses, we can create rapid measures and behavioral changes, and I discovered that by putting pressure on the industry and, much more importantly, family relations, we can curb the “pace of climate change”. How Does?

If you want, let’s start with the subject of what is the climate crisis first. To grasp the seriousness of the job …

What is the Climate Crisis?

Climate crisis is actually a concept used to describe the urgency of global warming. As a result of the greenhouse effect of the gases released into the atmosphere by humans, the increase in temperature on the earth’s surface is called global warming. To be more precise, the earth’s surface is heated by the sun’s rays. The earth reflects these rays back to the atmosphere, but some rays are trapped by water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane gas, a natural vegetation formed above the earth. This keeps the earth warm enough.

The accumulation of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous monoxide gases in the atmosphere has increased due to reasons such as the increase in the use of fossil fuels, deforestation, rapid population growth and the increase in consumption trend in the collective. This increase caused global warming. Records kept from 1860 to the present, we now know that the average global temperature increased by 0.5 to 0.8 degrees, nowadays it is +1 degree, and in 2100 it will have increased by + 3-5 degrees.

How will Global Warming change our lives?

The effects of global warming, which causes changes in the world’s climate system, will be felt all over the world from the highest peaks, to the ocean depths, from the equator to the poles. There is no escape .. Glaciers are melting at the poles, sea level is rising and soil losses in coastal areas are increasing day by day ..

For example, since the late 1960s, there has been a 10 percent reduction in snow cover in the northern hemisphere. During the 20th century, 10-15 cm at sea levels. There was an increase in between.

While the severity and frequency of hurricanes, floods and floods increase in many parts of the world due to global warming, prolonged, severe droughts and desertification are effective in some regions.

In winter, the temperature rises, spring comes early, autumn is delayed, animal migration periods are changing. So climates are changing. Plant and animal species that cannot withstand this change are also decreasing or disappearing completely.

Global warming is also directly related to human health; experts say it triggers heart, r Drought, extreme temperatures, water and food shortages caused by climate change are also on the rise. In addition, the world population is expected to increase from 7.7 billion to 10 billion, which gives the good news that migration movements in the world will become uncontrollable.

Between 1990 and 2017, the world population increased by 42% and the immigration population increased by 69%. According to the United Nations report, by the end of 2021, 71 million people worldwide will be in migration.

The impacts of the threats of the climate crisis on women

1. Food safety: There is a known fact that food production is related to agriculture. And food production is done by women.

2. Drought: With the decrease in water resources, the time to reach water supply will be longer and the transportation time will increase even more. The task of accessing quality and clean water is still among the responsibilities of women all over the world… It is not just the hardship that awaits women. Women also undertake tasks such as cooking and cleaning during the day. In terms of health, disinfection is also among the duties of women. As a result, the time periods in which they will be interested in these and similar issues will increase.

3.Health: vectors such as mosquitoes will increase as the temperature rises, and more disease types will develop due to the strengthening of the microbes’ immune systems. Rural women will be more victimized because of lower access to healthcare than urban women, and more importantly, lower than men. What is sadder is that rural women work like a worker in their own family business, without even being paid. For this reason, they do not have a health insurance. Since they will not be able to benefit from social benefits, the risk of poverty will increase and they will be more vulnerable. Moreover, family income will drop further due to the inefficiency of agricultural lands due to the climate crisis.

4. Seasonal female workers: While they are faced with more diseases due to working in unhygienic conditions, they receive less wages than men, and life will become more difficult for these women and young girls with the effects of the climate crisis. They will work in warmer fields, stay in tents, and be more susceptible to diseases. Due to the low literacy rates, they will not be able to benefit from healthcare facilities, nor will they be able to benefit from the information prepared to protect themselves.

Doomsday hour is coming!

As I write about all these negativities, I shudder and I want to say “let’s stop this crisis”. This crisis is such a crisis that there is not much that only one person can do. So what does the world say? What are countries doing to stop this crisis?

The Treaty of Paris is important in this respect. But who is listening? Developed countries gathered recently and made a decision. They promised each other to halve their emission rate by 2030, to reset it to zero by 2050. Developed countries pledged to support the backward countries to change some of their habits. For example, they wrote a project to change the cooking habits of women in Africa.

In these countries, electricity is only available in cities, the rural areas still do not have electricity. These women still cook over wood fire. Actually they can’t. Those who carry the wood from the forests, they try to cook for hours under primitive conditions. Meanwhile, they inhale toxic gases from burning wood. They are faced with both a waste of time and a serious health problem. Projects are flowing into this region, as if these women were the causes of the climate crisis. In fact, the countries that give these resources, that is, the developed countries, actually cause the carbon dioxide emission that causes the climate crisis. Is not it funny? Are they dealing with crime? Are they trying to forgive themselves?

Studies show that China is one of the countries that cause the most greenhouse gas emissions due to the use of coal. Right after that is the USA, then EU countries and India. Does it seem like there is an unfair subject? You are right, it is not fair at all. Self-righteousness, self-mission, self-comfort.

At this stage, some businesses from the “private sector” alone are more determined than governments. Maybe they will act as locomotives anyway with their sample applications. Microsoft has set itself a goal. While countries said to themselves that we will cut our carbon emission rates in the country by half in 2030, they set targets by saying “we will reset it in 2030”.

The private sector is more determined and conscious than the public. It tries to give what it takes and is trying to set an example both to the businesses in its own country and to the world ..espiratory tract, allergies and some diseases. More importantly, the effects of the climate crisis are also very effective on human psychology. It seriously affects our positivity.

Every citizen has to think!

The word thinking begins with the person himself first. Each individual will start by getting to know himself first. We need to find role models and publicize this frequently. We have to change our consumption habits. And then we have to ask the question of “what can I do” to prevent the climate crisis.

EGIKAD (Aegean Businesswomen’s Association) has a good project: “Women Efeler” (traditional Aegean folk heroes) are trying to understand the role of women in preventing the Climate Crisis and they talk about what they can do as a non-governmental organization. They articulate their message very clearly. In my opinion, this is an exemplary study, a response and preparation for many non-governmental organizations to the question of “what can I do”.

What role can women play in the business world? All female employees have to ask themselves some questions:

1. What can I do to ensure that the corporate sustainable management model is included in the enterprises?

2. What should we do to comply with the EU Green Agreement?

3. Do I know where I am within the “sustainable development goals” of the country?

4. Can I implement circular economy business models in my own business?

It all starts with changing habits

I have a word for those who say women usually do not appear. On the contrary, women are everywhere and in very key positions. They are at home, in the field, in the market. They exist in businesses and institutions. Maybe they are not so many in decision-making mechanisms, but they are the shapers of life. Quiet but deeply affecting women. They are the most affected by the effects of the climate crisis. Therefore, all investment should be on women.

We do not have much time left, there is no other world to escape, and there is no place… This crisis will not affect only one country or one region. They will be the most affected by migration.

Governments and parties have enormous responsibilities. Local governments have great responsibilities. Big duties fall on businesses to be a role model. And every woman has a role. Small and big but there is.

By changing the “consumption habits” in his own family, as an example for his children. By initiating “awareness raising and awareness trainings” for non-governmental organizations. Governments prepare decisions and regulations on these issues, parties put clauses on these issues in their own party bylaws, local governments make decisions to implement them, businesses abandon technologies that cause carbon dioxide emissions in their own bodies, use renewable energy resources and popularize circular economy business models …

There is no escape, there is no place to escape. So we are here, and we have to protect our world. For today and the future…

Professor Dr. Meltem Onay

Vice Rector

15 November Cyprus University

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