Published in April 2022

Here in the UK and across Europe, headlines have been dominated by the war in Ukraine. Scenes of civilians feeling the conflict have created shock waves.

While conflicts across the world show little sign of ending, other global threats have not gone away. In February the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report. Minds were understandably elsewhere so it was not as widely reported as it should have been. It set out some stark news about the outlook for people, nature and the planet.

The report tells us that we are all going to have to live with more uncertainty. That might not sound like an urgent threat but think about those already living in difficult circumstances like arid parts of the world. For them, uncertainty means changes to weather patterns such as seasonal rains which water supplies and agriculture depend on. People least able to cope are already being hardest hit in a world which is less predictable.

The IPCC goes on to echo the advice from COP26. Urgent action is required to deal with increasing risks. Extreme heatwaves, droughts and floods are already impacting lives and nature. Farming patterns may have to change and new types of plants and animals introduced to protect food supplies. Already weather extremes have exposed millions of people to acute food and water insecurity across the world and the outlook is not good.

It's heartening to see the IPCC report highlighting that safeguarding and strengthening nature must be one of the cornerstones of the response to reduce climate risks and improve people's lives. Healthy ecosystems can temper some of the extremes of a changing climate and they support life-critical services such as food and clean water.

Finally, the report told us what we already fear, that the window for action is narrowing. We cannot afford to delay.

It’s against this backdrop that the work of Sand Dams Worldwide continues. A well-functioning sand dam can help dryland communities deal with the uncertainties of weather. By introducing climate resilient crops, local food supplies can be protected. And in some places, sand dams can be used to protect nature alongside people. Our upcoming Green Match Fund campaign to construct a sand dam and introduce climate-smart agriculture in southeast Kenya is just one example of the work we have planned.

In a world that seems to be in constant crisis it’s understandable that global leaders focus on matters of urgency. But we must not ignore other critical issues. Time is short if we are to help reduce climate impacts and prepare for an uncertain future.

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