Climate change is the crisis of our time, a situation that threatens our very existence. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave us just 12 years before our damage to Earth is irreversible. In recent past we have experienced natural disasters, rise in sea levels and heat waves of unprecedented magnitude.
The reality before us is a virus that causes the deadly Covid-19, a pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives and put millions of others in the hospital. Its modus operandi is silent infection, an invisible enemy that has forced the whole world into lockdown.
Climate change just like coronavirus hits us with the reality that we must take scientists seriously. Because just like a horror Sci-Fi movie starts with a person in power ignoring a scientist, our lives could just take a turn for the worst. Climate change is as deadly as the coronavirus, and if we respond to it as religiously as we do the coronavirus, we are sure on our way to a carbon net zero future.
Climate change is caused by years of environment damaging activities, that’s why climate change research seems like a “farce” to some people and even making it hard for some global leaders to act confidently and swiftly in environmental issues. The link between climate change and a particular death used to be really long and quite tangled, but today it’s very obvious.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), additional deaths per year to be caused between 2030-2050 will be 250,000, as a result of diarrhoea, malnutrition, malaria and heat stress. One of the popular and unforgettable examples of deaths due to extreme heat waves was the summer of 2003 in Europe. Heat waves led to 70,000 deaths at the time.
Southern Africa suffered a combination of flooding and termite infestation at a reoccurring rate recently. Some other parts of Africa, experiencing extreme famine with an increasing poverty level. Millions of people suffering from hunger and poverty.
The Australian bush fires of 2019 to 2020 left the whole world stunned. Roughly 25.5 million acres of land burned, people lost their lives, homes burned down, and some animal species died. Some of the animals maybe even going extinct. All attempts to put out the fires failed; it took the rains in February to perform that miracle. The Australian fire was one devastating effect of climate change that we do not want to see again.
According to the Global Climate Report, March 2020, the global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.160C (2.090F). Above the 20th century average of 12.70C (54.90F). The second highest in 141 year record.
The Pabluk had smashed into the coastal resorts of Thailand in 2019, killed about 10 people and caused damage worth $160 million. The North of America froze for a while due to a disruption of the polar vortex.
We vividly remember the Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa, killed thousands of people and causing an immense property loss. There was the flooding in Iran that killed almost 70 people. The Cyclone Fani took on Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India claiming over 80 lives. France had recorded its highest ever heat wave of 45.9C. The Alaskan fires in the United States due to rising temperatures.
Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Britain also received their fair share of hell with record breaking heat waves. Low sea ice levels were seen towards the end of last year, and some towns in the South-Eastern parts of Spain were submerged in water. The lungs of the world (the Amazon rain forest) also burned. All these events followed each other so fast that the world was left numb.
Climate change is the crisis of our time and must receive bold and brave decisions from our leaders, just like was taken for the coronavirus pandemic. The main slogan of the pandemic is “wash your hands”, “stay at home”, “practice social distancing”, and etcetera.
With climate change, we will not have a home to stay in, as it might have been swept away by flooding. The heat will be so extreme that it drains life out of us, while hunger, malnutrition and diseases might wipe us off the face of the earth.
Policies that will help mitigate the effects of climate change is one that world leaders must discuss, no natter whose gains is at stake. Deaths and destruction of property is one that must be stopped at all cost and in all forms.
Climate change consequences are slow but sure and, just like that “revenge that is best served cold”, will give the final blow. Climate revenge is one I hope is never served.
By Halima Imam, @sadee_eemam