With ravaging forest fires across Canada and other natural disasters here and around the globe, climate change is something Canadians are hearing a lot about these days. But are ordinary people in other countries hearing and thinking about it in the same way? How are they feeling about the threat of a changing climate? Do they care?
Sustainable Orillia reached out to people in Denmark, Brazil, India and Canada – on what they, and people in their circles, are thinking, feeling and doing about climate change in their various corners of the world.
We asked each of them to respond to three questions:
1. Are people in your circle concerned about climate change?
2. How do you personally perceive climate change?
3. What’s happening in your community? (Are there specific changes being made in response to the threats posed by climate change? Have you personally made any changes?)
Last week’s article in this series featured Ellen Larsen of Denmark. In this second article in the series we hear from Fernanda de Custodio, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Brazil, South America’s largest economy, has a unique set of circumstances when it comes to addressing climate change. Brazil is steward to the most biodiverse land in the world. At the same time, Brazil is the world’s sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG). Its largest source of emissions is land-use change and the forestry sector. Brazil’s biologically diverse ecosystems make it especially vulnerable to climate change, with both the Atlantic and Amazon forests facing significant risks.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of beef products; providing close to 20 percent of the beef eaten around the world. Thousands of acres of deforestation in Brazil are linked to Brazilian beef exports.
Brazil set some of the most ambitious targets in the 2015 Paris Agreement, which outline national commitments to reducing impact on climate change. One way Brazil is tackling its goal is by reducing the amount of pasture land and concentrating livestock grazing. As global citizens, one way Canadians can help Brazil reach their goals is to be more conscious of the beef we consume.
Fernanda de Custodio was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she works as a senior financial representative for a Canadian international organization.
Are people in your circle concerned about climate change?
Fernanda: “It depends. Some with a higher education are concerned and fearful, while others believe that environmentalists and scientists exaggerate their forecasts. For those with less education, climate change is a topic of limited interest. However, it is gradually changing amongst the younger generations.”
How do you personally perceive climate change?
Fernanda: “I perceive it both as a threat and as an opportunity. It is a threat for the world’s future for sure and impacts our ability to build a sustainable living environment for all of us and the next generations. It is also an opportunity to transform the world into a better one. The main risk, in my opinion, is that this topic is often treated with strong political views, when it should be dealt in a more pragmatic and objective way. “
What’s happening in your community? Are there specific changes being made in response to the threat posed by climate change? Have you personally made any changes?
Fernanda: “Again it depends. I see more initiatives and regular communication on climate change led and implemented by companies, NGOs and major influencers (artists, key economists, etc.) who have a strong influence on people’s awareness of climate change that impacts the society in general. This ranges from some obvious and best known changes such as how people manage garbage and use of plastic. Rational use of sustainable packaging is now a usual practice. And, yes, I have gradually adapted my everyday life to incorporate actions that aim at minimizing climate change impacts.”
How are people in other parts of the world responding to climate change? How do their responses compare with those of Orillia citizens? See other perspectives in this series of articles, titled “Climate change as seen by ordinary people from around the world.” Click below to read other articles in this series from around the world.
PART ONE – DENMARK – Ellen Larsen from Esbjerg, Denmark (Click here)
PART THREE – INDIA – Ranjan Solomon from Goa, India (Click here)
PART FOUR – ORILLIA – Madeleine Fournier from Orillia (Coming Soon)