Our Areas of Focus

Environmental Sustainability

A healthy planet is vital for the reduction of poverty now and for future generations. According to the UNDP's 2011 Human Development Report, “Half of all malnutrition worldwide is attributable to environmental factors, such as water pollution and drought-driven scarcity, perpetuating a vicious cycle of impoverishment and ecological damage.”1 Exploitation of forests, land, water and fisheries, usually by powerful minorities, harms vulnerable communities most—those who depend on these natural resources for their livelihood.2 The world's poorest people are also the hardest hit by climate change, even though they've contributed the least to this problem… Read more.

TEAR partners, and the communities they work with, are already experiencing the effects of climate change. Changing weather patterns, including rainfall patterns and the frequency and severity of extreme weather events (e.g. droughts, floods and cyclones), have already resulted in the significant loss of homes, crops and livelihoods. TEAR partners help poor communities adapt to the impacts of climate change, but the most significant work needs to happen in the world's wealthiest communities, as we redress the causes of climate change.

TEAR partners are working with poor and vulnerable communities to help them restore their local environments and adapt to the effects of climate change in a number of ways:

  • Community forestry programs
  • Training in sustainable agriculture
  • Adapting to the impacts of climate change
  • Introduction of drought and disease resistant crops
  • Livelihoods training that reduces vulnerability through diversifying sources of income
  1. UNDP (2011) 2011 Human Development Report: Environmental trends threaten global progress for the poor. http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2011/11/02/2011-human-development-report-environmental-trends-threaten-global-progress-for-the-poor.html Accessed August 13, 2012
  2. End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign http://www.endpoverty2015.org/goals/environmental-sustainability Accessed August 13, 2012.

Related Projects:

Clear-felling Culture, Cambodia

"The imported Western culture defines land as solely the dry land. To the indigenous people of Cambodia, the concept of land includes the sky and its birds, the ocean, rivers and what lives in the water. The heads of households, and every indigenous person, understands they are linked to all these parts of the environment." - Sophal Cheng

As forest logging destroys the traditional ways of life for Indigenous Cambodians, TEAR’s partner is walking with villagers to connect them with the values that protect and nurture their culture. They do this with the conviction that “progress” is not…

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Clear-felling Culture, Cambodia

The Hanging Gardens of Bangladesh

Across the vast low-lying plains of Bangladesh, millions of families farm tiny patches of rich alluvial soil. Emerald fields may stretch as far as the eye can see, but not all of the land is good, and not all of the yield is sufficient. In the coastal areas, where families earn a living from fishing, many struggle to grow any food at all.

The poorest people often live on the poorest land, and many still struggle to feed their families. Faith in Action and BASD are two of TEAR’s partners helping families on marginal land find their own unique ways to grow food.

TEAR’s partner BASD supports…

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The Hanging Gardens of Bangladesh

EFICOR: A Complex Adaptation

What causes community disintegration? Anyone working in community transformation or, indeed, those living in communities in distress will tell you that just as there is no one symptom, there is no one cause.

EFICOR, an Indian Christian organisation, has run projects with thousands of poor and marginalised communities over its 47 years, many of them supported by TEAR Australia. Their community-based agriculture projects have trained farmers across the country, enabling them to make the most from their land. But only in the last few years have they been forced to introduce a new element to…

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EFICOR: A Complex Adaptation

PNKS: A Broad Approach to Adaptation

The staff at PNKS know too well the impact that climate change is having on the communities they serve. Working in rural areas of Cambodia, mostly with farmers, they hear the stories of the changing weather patterns and see their effects on family life.

For farmers already living in poverty, climate change is yet another burden they have to bear.

“Sometimes there’s too much rain that causes flood, and sometimes too little and causes drought,” says Leak Chowan, the program manager. “The rain sometimes comes late, and sometimes early. The climate is unpredictable. People start planting and…

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PNKS: A Broad Approach to Adaptation

Safeguarding the Environment - Nepal

Caring for the Environment

No matter how much money you’ve got, a clean and green environment improves well-being. Enabling communities to improve their environment can mean better soil productivity, sanitation, fuel and food supply, but it also gives shade and beauty – and you can’t put a price on that.

This gift supports a variety of projects that help to protect the environment from degradation and safeguard it for generations to come. Activities may include tree planting to reduce soil erosion, community education and supporting local environmental groups to help care for the…

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Safeguarding the Environment - Nepal

Creative solutions to climate change in Nepal

Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, with changing weather and increased flooding and landslides. TEAR’s Paul Hansen reports on how our partners are working in a variety of ways to support people affected by changes to their environment.

As a trained water and sanitation engineer, I’ve often been accused of having an unhealthy interest in toilets. So it would surprise none of my friends that when one of the members of the Self-Help Group I met on a recent trip to Nepal, a woman named Premi Devi Chaudhary, tells me she has built a biogas1 toilet, I couldn’t help…

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Creative solutions to climate change in Nepal

Sarishabari Area Development Project

Farida and Dulal Mia are a married couple who live in a village in the Sarishabari district of Bangladesh with their two children. Previously illiterate, the couple struggled to make a living for many years.

However, through their involvement with the Sarishabari Area Development Project (SDP) run by TEAR partner Symbiosis, they have now developed not one but several small businesses. The income from these businesses helps them send their children to school and provide them with nutritious food.

The SDP project, which TEAR has supported since 2004, focuses on education (literacy and…

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Sarishabari Area Development Project

Organic Farming Cooperatives

One man’s mission to return his land to subsistence

In the midst of a changing climate, one of TEAR's Indian partners, the Mussoorie Gamin Vikas Samiti (MGVS), is helping local farmers adapt their agricultural practices, enabling them to sustain not only their farms, but also their culture. They work in the foothills of the Himalayas, training local farmers in organic techniques, and have helped establish several Organic Farming Cooperatives through Self-Help Group activities.

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Organic Farming Cooperatives

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About TEAR

TEAR Australia is a Christian development, relief and advocacy organisation responding to global poverty and injustice. More >

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