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Young activists of Red Cross Ukraine concerned about climate change

2013-09-25

Young activists of Red Cross Ukraine concerned about climate change

Preparedness to Current Challenges of Climate Change in Humanitarian Work – was the title of a training conducted by the National Ecological Center of Ukraine for young activists of Red Cross Ukraine on the 25th of September. The event was part of the Red Cross Ukraine Third National Assembly and All School first aid and youth leadership (September, 22-27).

The training consists of three parts: 1) theoretical, 2) group work, 3) presentation of the results. So, for practical tasks (2nd part) we formed 6 groups of 7-8 people. In each group were residents of the centeral, northern, southern, western and eastern parts of Ukraine and one group of Red Cross Germany representatives. They had the task of evaluating their region on vulnerability to climate change impacts according to the following factors:

  1. Climate factors
  2. Hydrology
  3. Industry
  4. Agriculture
  5. Forestland and green areas in cities
  6. Urban density

After each factor assessment groups determined which one has predominant importance to their region, who are the most vulnerable population, and what are urgent measures for Red Cross volunteers make in the direction of urban climate change adaptation.

The team from Central Ukraine assessed the impact of factors in a pyramid chart, and decided that   climate factors such as abnormally heavy rainfall, high summer temperatures and droughts were the first priority for climate change adaptation actions. Urban density is less urgent for the Central region. Vulnerable groups were identified as: children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

The Western Region presented a visual assessment of each factor separately.

1. Abnormal heavy rains and heavy snowfalls are usual for that territory.

2. Forests are cutting down, that causes landslides in the mountains, mudslides and floods.

3. There is huge industrial impact on the environment in the region.

4. Now, it become possible to grow plants such as peaches and watermelons.

5. There are many green zones in the Western region, which produce a lot of fresh air.

6. Urban density is almost comfortable for citizens.

 For the Northern part of Ukraine the chemical and radioactive pollution after the Chernobyl catastrophe is most significant environmental factor. Some climate warming has positive influence on regional agriculture, because of new conditions for plants growth.

Representatives from the Southern part of Ukraine presented analysis of factors according to climate seasons. During a winter, there are very high air temperatures, causing heavy rains and early flowers blooming. In summer, there is a problem of increasing number of fires caused by increased solar activity and in result reduce harvest. Spring season is characterized by sudden changes in temperature. That means that flowers blooming alternates with the snowfalls, the local people should have ready both warm and light shoes and clothes. Autumn - velvet season, but there are frequent cases of poisoning edible mushrooms by toxic sediments. Autumn is also a season for deforestation to build new leisure complex.

In Eastern Ukraine the most significant factors are industry and urban density. At the same time all other factors (climate, agriculture, hydrosphere, forestland and green areas in cities) also look important in their assessment of vulnerability from the effects of climate change.

The group of German representatives stressed the biggest importance to the second factor - hydrology. This year many German cities were suffered because of big floods. The 5th and 6th factors (greenery and urban density) look most negligible in that assessment.

As a conclusion, it is interesting to sum up that, findings of evaluations from all teams correlates with the relevant expert opinions for the same regions.