As a global ambassador for Oxfam, Djimon has travelled in sub-Saharan Africa and seen the direct links between climate change and human suffering. "I've witnessed firsthand devastation with drought," Mr Hounsou told reporters after he helped to kick off the UN Summit on Climate Change. "Year after year, local farmers are still expecting rain to come pretty much as it used to. Its not coming, so they adapt, with their crops and plantings."
I share Djimon's opinion about the human cost of climate change and I too am passionately aware of the enormity of the problem that it poses to mankind and to our home, the Earth. I applaud him for the good work he has been doing as a humanitarian and as a climate activist. He has let people know what the rich industrialised nations need to be doing to help the less rich developing nations adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, a very real problem that is creeping up on us slowly but surely. "Climate change threatens to roll back years of development gains", the UN Secretary General said during his address to the General Assembly at the UN climate change summit. The entire continent of Australia has been in the grip of a drought for the best part of a decade.
Parts of East Africa have experienced successive years of failed rains. In West Africa, desertification is a serious problem in the arid Sahel regions, causing the migration southwards of large numbers of people; whereas flooding is becoming more frequent in the coastal regions. Africa is the continent that is least prepared to deal with the effects of climate change, yet the people of Africa are those who will suffer most severely from its impact. And this is already being felt in many parts of the continent.
This is a global problem, the cause for which the rich industrialised nations must accept responsibility. It is a problem that we must work together to tackle, rich and less rich nations alike. However, it is trite that because the rich industrialised nations bear a greater responsibility for the problem, they ought to be providing assistance more actively to the less well-off countries in the fight against climate change. The idea being mooted that Western nations should pay for investment in technologies designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of emergent economies such as India and Brazil is encouraging. It is important that people recognise the seriousness of this problem that our generation has on its hands.