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Bringing the Developing World to America

November 12, 2009

WASHINGTON - They've traveled thousands of miles to carry the message this week that what we do - and don't do - in places like Pennsylvania to reduce carbon pollution linked to climate change has consequences for people on the other side of the world. Visitors from the South Pacific and Africa are making the tour stops to share their frontline view of a rapidly changing climate.

Sara Kaweesa, who works with the Christian conservation group A-Rocha Uganda Initiative (ARUI) in Kampala, Uganda, says it's a fragile situation for people like her who live very close to the land.

"I have my land in front of me; I go and look for what I want to eat. Get some greens, cook them. I go get my firewood. All these resources are within my reach."

Flooding, water-borne illness and drought are making life difficult for many in the developing world, Kaweesa says. Reducing climate change pollution in the U.S. and other industrialized countries, along with increased investment in the developing world, is needed for humanitarian reasons, she adds.

"It makes more money, we save more money. It's good for everyone, and we will become healthier. That's what we are asking for."

Kaweesa says people are dramatically impacted by climate change in places such as her native Uganda, where generations of weather-related practices have been upended.

"We do not know when the rains are coming, we do not know when to plant. And if they come, the rains come in such an amount, the water is so much you can't do anything with it."

Federal climate change legislation is before the U.S. Senate; however, it has been criticized for its price tag and affect on businesses.

The "Ankle Deep in Reality Tour" through the Midwest and Southeast this week is sponsored by the Christian education and advocacy group Restoring Eden.

More information is available from Laura Rusu, Oxfam America, at 202-496-1169.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - PA