Climate Change Impact, will I survive or one of the casualties?

May 31, 2013 7:05 pm0 commentsViews: 109
Climate Change Impact, will I survive or one of the casualties?

Climate Change Impact, will I survive or one of the casualties?

The Global fever: Climate Change – a familiar word you hear, see in television, read in the newspaper and browse in the world-wide-web. Clearly our environment is changing. But are we ever aware of this? Do we mind or not? Or we simply square our shoulder because this is not for us, leave it to the expert attitude.

In summertime, we can feel the excruciating heat once we step outside in the comfort of our homes and offices or wherever we may be. In rainy days, are we even aware of the increase of rainfall? And even without any typhoon, flash foods is happening in some parts of the world damaging homes and livelihoods to many who were affected.

For the past years disaster after disaster is happening. For those who experienced it, can’t describe the exact feeling of being in the middle of this disaster especially to those who lost their love ones and friends before their very own eyes and they can’t help or even prevent it from happening. But for those who are lucky enough of being spared by it, when will be your time? What do you need to do in order not to experience the blows of nature?

We abused too much the land that gives us so much life and abundance in our day to day existence. Majority of us did not care as long as we are not affected by it. People throwing its garbage unceremoniously anywhere they go. Observe peoples behavior in times of celebration – tons and tons of garbage were littered anywhere after the event happened. Garbage that brings hazardous effects to the atmosphere, when is the time that people learned to be responsible to dispose it properly?

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle is a mantra you can see everywhere. There were few local government units who has the political will to strictly implement the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, but the majority does not. Why others can do it and some others simply can’t? What are we waiting for? Another landslide, floods and typhoons like Ondoy, Reming and Sendong? When are we able to build discipline and act responsibly in taking care of this land that we are living? Or we would simply wait and watch until it happens in our own backyard?

Now, Climate Change is happening as fast as we could never imagine. Some see it, but the majority does not or simply ignore it. Disaster after disaster is happening. What we thought that impossible to happen before is happening now before our very own eyes. The facts literally slapping our faces, we are currently experiencing it, the entire world – the world is getting warmer and it will continue to get hotter in this century and beyond – we are causing this dangerous trend.

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We abuse too much of our environment. Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane & nitrous oxide have increased as a result of human activities since 1750. What is worrisome is that the level of CO2 emissions we are at now has not been seen in the past 400,000 years. We don’t know how the earth will react to this increasing trend of emissions… the last 15 years were the warmest record and 2001 to 2013- the warmest decade since 1850. Our very life is at great risk. Results could be as devastating as the like of nuclear bombs and bio-chemical warfare. We would not know or foresee the impact of extinction to human beings, animals and other life that is existed on this planet.

Four Major Effects of Climate Change

1. Temperature Rise

Based on the IPCC middle range scenario, entire East Asia Region will experience temperature rise of about 2.5°C by end of the century. Winter temperatures will change more than summer temperatures. Minimum daily temperature will increase more than max. daily temperature. Land will warm more than oceans, causing stronger monsoon. Higher latitudes and altitudes will experience greater warming. Thus our vulnerable sectors(Philippines) that would be affected were Agriculture, Freshwater, Health, Biodiversity and Forests. Our very own life poses a greater risk in the years to come.

In our oceans, an increase in sea surface temperatures of about 0.50°C can already initiate coral bleaching. Our Coral reefs occupy 1% of total earth’s surface but is home to 25% of marine life. 50% of Filipinos depend on agriculture /mariculture as their primary source of livelihood and about 50% of Filipinos depend on seafood as their primary source of protein.

2. Sea Level Rise

Our Country(Philippines) as an archipelago is most susceptible to sea level rise; and many of our cities and towns were located in coastal areas. It was foresee that a 5-feet sea level rise would occur once our earth temperature increase at 2°C. It is our point of no return. Its effect: Inundate wetlands and other low lying lands, beaches will erode, flooding will intensify, will increase the salinity of rivers, bays and groundwater tables and it would adversely affect movement of people and goods. Developing countries will be hit soonest and hardest. Adaptation provides the way to prepare for and respond to these impacts. So, how can we adapt? Move our airports away from the sea/coastal areas? Install barriers for sea level rise in our ports? Relocate the people living in the coastal area and riverbanks?

3. Increase of rainfall

ADB Study on Economic Impacts of Climate Change in Southeast Asia shows that- Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam will be generally drier in the next 2-3 decades or 20 to 30-years, while Philippines will be generally wetter until the end of this century. Floods and landslide would be a normal occurrence in our country. This is further aggravated by loss of forests which serve as carbon sinks & watersheds.

Half of the forests that originally covered 46% of the Earth’s land surface are gone. Only one-fifth of the Earth’s original forests remain pristine and undisturbed.

4. Extreme Weather Events

How about extreme events/stronger typhoons to add? The Philippines is visited by an average of 19 to 20 typhoons per year. What would happen to us if this typhoon is as strong as Ondoy and Sendong? I could never imagine.

Sea level rise, increase in rainfall, increase in earth temperature and stronger typhoons combined; what would happen to us? This would be a lethal combination that would threaten our lives, existence and everything that surround us.

This is the challenge that we face. Are we up to the challenge? Our businesses and work that took so much of our time, we make our nights into day just making sure that it would not collapse and bankrupt in order that our children will have a secure future? Do we really think that they have a future to live with which is safe to all these calamities? Maybe temporary material things, yes they could have that, but what would they do, to all the money in their hands when they have none to buy with even for its basic needs, which is food and water.

If half part of our country will be under water, what we should do? As Filipino’s, we are resilient and can very much adapt in whatever kind of situation, yes maybe our daily transportation would be from luxury cars to jet ski? Bus to Ferry? Jeepneys to boat/bangka? What would happen to our agricultural land? To our homes? To our seas? To our food and basic needs? Would it be available? Then remembering this line would be the answer, “Only after the last tree has been cut down…the last river has been poisoned…the last fish caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

Now, these changes in our environment are happening faster than ever before. They have begun & will continue for the foreseeable future. They are non-linear and no one knows when they will end and there are no assurances that natural or human systems can adapt quickly enough.

Is our country capable of responding to our changing environment? Business as usual is NOT AN OPTION! Unless action is taken now: the standard of living will suffer far worse consequences, poverty will be exacerbated, there will be more damage to property & lives, decades of growth can be wiped out and man’s very survival is at great risk!

Then, what should we do?

We must plan and work together. Climate change action will require concerted effort of governments & their partners (PRIVATE SECTOR. NGOs, communities, development partners) to manage and adapt to a changing & more invasive environment.

Under the framework of Sustainable Development we have two options.
Reduce our carbon (Mitigation) and Reduce the risk (Adaptation).

Now the ball is in our hands. What do life wanted us for the taking? A world that is dying before our very own eyes and or the one that is restored to its natural beauty and bounty?

The future of our planet depended on us.

Are you willing to take action in order for it to be livable in the next 20 to 50 years from now?

What kind of planet are you willing to leave behind? Hotter or cooler? Green fields or Brown fields? Sufficient land or under water?

Climate Change Impact, will I survive or one of the casualties?

The choice is ours for the taking.

So what’s next?

The answer would solely depend on us.

Take Action Now! Learn and Volunteer. The little things that we can do today and can be done by many will have a bigger impact and can spell the difference to everyone living on this planet.

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Resource:

Credit to Ms. Elisea”Bebet” Gillera Gozun  – for the data and facts here as she shared with me the CLimate Change Impact file presentation she uses, which I updated some data and use it in giving symposium talks in our community events and some Colleges and Universities in our Province.

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