Only One Earth: World Environment Day 2022

Luis Antonio Yus Diaz and his family grow tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables on a plot of land a half a mile from their home.

“Only One Earth” is the theme for World Environment Day this year. The theme is meant to emphasize the need to advocate for positive environmental change globally. At FINCA, the day reminds us just how much our actions impact the world, especially as it relates to climate change.

Here in the United States, climate change disturbs our daily lives through extreme weather events, more allergens in the air, and rising sea levels. Our global neighbors and FINCA clients also experience hardships that correlate with climate change. It will take a collective effort to combat it.

The Intersection of Climate Change and Food Insecurity

Across Africa, climate change combined with the fall-out of COVID-19 and political unrest increases the prevalence of food insecurity. According to the United Nations Africa Renewal Project data, “food insecurity increases by 5-20 percentage points with each flood or drought in sub-Saharan Africa.” Meanwhile, FINCA’s research team found that 50% of FINCA clients skipped meals due to financial turmoil caused by COVID-19.

A Good Nature Agro employee holding a bag of improved seed stock.

In the aftermath of COVID and amid a global climate crisis – and facing the likelihood of rising food insecurity, we must strengthen our customers’ long-term financial health and resilience. FINCA is joining in a collective effort to combat this by giving farmers loans to sustain and grow their businesses. We also partner with social enterprises in the agriculture sector. Good Nature Agro and East Africa Fruits are two of those partners. They help farmers improve their yields and get a fair price for their products.  

BrightLife and Climate Change

Along with our work in agriculture, FINCA is bringing clean energy solutions to Africa. Our BrightLife program offers clean energy products at affordable prices to families and businesses.

Without access to clean energy, people burn kerosene, wood, and charcoal to meet their lighting and cooking needs. These inefficient fuels lead to indoor air pollution that causes 2.6 million premature deaths worldwide each year. In addition, the open flames can cause house fires and burns.

A family purchases a BrightLife solar system for their home.

BrightLife not only positively impacts people’s lives but the environment as well. As Cissy Nakawesa, a BrightLife client, recently recounted, “We no longer destroy the environment as much as we did before Brightlife’s intervention because we now use less wood to cook.” Cissy is right! Since inception, BrightLife has eliminated 13,061 tons of emissions. In addition, 85% of clients reported improvements in their health.

Only One Earth: Collective Action for Change

Climate change and other environmental issues take a toll on people worldwide. It most certainly affects the poor, including our clients. With support from donors, FINCA is doing its best to alleviate these ecological harms.

By providing loans to farmers, making clean energy solutions available, and launching emergency response funds in the wake of natural disasters, we are making headway. So, on today’s World Environment Day, we celebrate all the organizations, individuals, and governments working collectively to create a positive change for our environment. We do have only one earth. Let’s make the most of it.