Each day, as I browse through Google, Yahoo and the web pages of broadsheets here and abroad, I could see the screaming headlines of wildfires (massive and uncontrollable forest fires), heavy floods (even in the wealthiest nations of Europe), severe droughts and heatwaves. hunger and poverty, food riots, civil unrest and earthquakes and collapsing buildings and high-rise towers.
I can’t help but ask myself, why are these calamities, catastrophes and disasters coming in close successions or even simultaneously. Are we now in Armageddon?
I feel so bad that people have to suffer needlessly, properties are lost and the resultant hunger and deprivation would stalk nations at a time when the world is scrounging for resources to address a major health disaster like COVID-19 and its variants and new strains. There is a general sense of helplessness because even the wealthy nations that used to be big donors or benefactors are themselves now victims. And no doubt, there is also such a thing as donor fatigue.
What makes it worse is that a few filthy rich people can even afford to buy yachts or private jets worth hundreds of millions of dollars just to avoid being in the scene of the rampaging virus that has killed over 4 million globally.
Then you see of billionaires who spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build their own rocket ships to cruise the space for their own sense of “high” in being able to launch their personal vessels in the galaxy. Instead of using these funds to help the millions of people who are hungry, sick and to supply vaccines that would save the inhabitants of the planet, they are only after satisfying their selfish curiosity and need for terrestrial accomplishment.
Hospitals around the world—esp. in Myanmar, Indonesia, Afghanistan, the Africas and South America—are hard pressed with vital medical supplies like oxygen, PPEs, beds, quarantine facilities and ICU.
Every economy that was forced to lock down to stem the spread of infections suffered near zero or negative growths, which meant that their governments could hardly feed their people and provide subsistence allowance.
UN Climate Science Report
Last June 23, the Agence France Presse prematurely obtained a UN Climate report that showed how climate change had decreased major crop production globally and is predicted to impact yields throughout the 21st century, putting greater pressure on countries with exploding populations.
“Rising CO2 levels will also degrade the quality of crops, reducing vital minerals and nutrients in key foodstuffs. Production of marine fisheries will fall by 40 to 70 percent for tropical regions of Africa if emissions continue unabated,” the study said.
Despite greater levels of socioeconomic development, nearly 10 million more children will go undernourished and stunted by 2050 exposing them to a lifetime of associated health risks. Halving red meat consumption and doubling intake of nuts, fruits and vegetables could reduce food-related emissions as much as 70 percent by mid-century and save 11 million lives by 2030.”
Rising temperatures will reduce people's physical ability to work, with much of South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Central and South America losing up to 250 working days a year by 2100.
An additional 1.7 billion people will be exposed to severe heat and an additional 420 million people subjected to extreme heatwaves if the planet warms by two degrees Celsius compared to 1.5 degrees -- the range laid out in the Paris Agreement.
By 2080, hundreds of millions of city dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia could face more than 30 days of deadly heat each year
Flooding on average will likely displace 2.7 million people annually in Africa. Without emissions cuts, more than 85 million people could be forced to leave their homes in sub-Saharan Africa due to climate induced impacts by 2050.
Some 170 million people are expected to be hit by extreme drought this century if warming reaches three degrees Celsius. The number of people in Europe at high risk of mortality will triple with three degrees Celsius warming compared to 1.5 degrees of warming.
Diseases and other impacts
As rising temperatures expand the habitat of mosquitoes, by 2050 half the world's population is predicted to be at risk of vector-borne diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever and Zika virus.
Without significant reductions in carbon pollution, an additional 2.25 billion people could be put at risk of dengue fever across Asia, Europe and Africa. The number of people forced from their homes in Asia is projected to increase six-fold between 2020 and 2050.
By mid-century, between 31 and 143 million could be internally displaced due to water shortages, agricultural stresses, and sea level rise in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America
Much of what the study said is already happening now, and we could expect the worst, the UN climate study stressed.
Much of the political, social and economic unrest and chaos in the world are caused by inequitable distribution of natural resources and their manipulation by only a few greedy owners who want control over these resources and their intended beneficiaries for political power and market dominance.
Such insatiable desire for power and global dominance is what has caused nations to unite against China—blaming this communist country of manufacturing in its laboratories the coronavirus that has gripped the world and caused economies to slow down.
The military junta in Myanmar, which was triggered by the expulsion of some generals in the list of officials under the economically- fragile democratic government, has now caused untold sufferings, displacements, and hunger of young and old alike and the persecution of those who oppose the junta.
War-torn Afghanistan badly needs $850 million to cope with the impact of the Taliban offensive, a protracted malnutrition affecting a third of the country, a severe drought and the repatriation of 627,000 Afghans this year, most of the deported from neighboring Iran.
UN Humanitarian chief Ramiz Alakbarov told reporters at a virtual briefing from Kabul that at least 80 million Afghans need assistance and the UN plan is to provide help for at least 15.7 million of them.
NASA Sea Level Change Science Team
Meanwhile, the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team spoke of “a dramatic increase in flood numbers” in the 2030s that should be expected because of a “wobble” in the moon’s orbit and rising sea levels, which expectedly would lead to more high tides in every coast of the United States.
A story of USA Today cited the conclusion of a study published in the Nature Climate Change journal by NASA Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii,on the moon's orbit, which takes 18.6 years to complete, according to NASA.
For half of that time, Earth's regular daily tides are suppressed with high tides at a low average and low tides happening at a higher rate. In the other half of the cycle, the opposite occurs.
"High tides get higher, and low tides get lower. Global sea-level rise pushes high tides in only one direction – higher. So half of the 18.6-year lunar cycle counteracts the effect of sea-level rise on high tides, and the other half increases the effect," NASA explains.
"If it floods 10 or 15 times a month, a business can’t keep operating with its parking lot underwater. People lose their jobs because they cannot get to work. Seeping cesspools become a public health issue," said Phil Thompson, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and lead author of the study.
Climate change—loosely described as the melting of glaciers in the Antarctic which took billions of years to form because of the excessive heating of the Earth’s surface brought about by the over production of greenhouse gases (CO2)—did not happen overnight.
It took years for countries, people and governments to ignore the possibility that one day soon—what they have grown accustomed to as their natural climates will change drastically and bring forth sickness and death to species (including mankind) that cannot cope with it.
It took generations of wanton neglect and disrespect for wildlife, the natural resources (as if they were infinite) and doing what we do best (litter our space with plastics and all sorts of garbage that can otherwise be recycled and reused) for the sake of convenience and personal ease.
And nature is now having its revenge on us. We will not win over nature. The seas will devour us and heatwaves will drain our body fluids until we char to death.
If we do not act now to reverse climate change, let us not count how many more years we and the planet would live. We led ourselves and our planet to extinction.