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The Tsunami and Climate Change
Alex Steffen, 16 Jun 05

In an update from Worldwatch this morning, I saw this juxtaposition: an invitation to join an online discussion of the "ongoing social and environmental impacts of last year's South East Asian tsunami," and a "Vital Sign" indicator: "Global Warming to Contribute to Rising Numbers of Environmental Refugees."

The pairing may be a coincidence, but it echoes a point I've heard made repeatedly over the last six months: the Tsunami was not caused by climate change, but we can expect to see more disasters like it if climate change gets as bad as now expected.

Climate change may already be having profound effects: unusual weather disasters killed 75,000 people in the developing world in 2003, and hundreds of thousands more lost their homes. Things are expected to get much worse: by the 2080s, as many as 200 million people may have been made refugees by climate instability. If the models are even half right, big swathes of the world are going to be experiencing massive disasters on a pretty regular basis.

That, to me, seems to be a lesson that we shouldn't ignore as we mark the six-month anniversary of this terrible disaster: we weren't ready for this one, but we could do much, much better in facing those disasters we know are coming.

Our responses -- from our monitoring systems to our relief and reconstruction approaches -- were insufficient; but so too were our actions beforehand. Many of the dead died because they were poor: they lived in places where warning systems had not been built, in homes that couldn't withstand a bad storm much less a wall of water, miles from medical care and with few resources with which to survive, much less rebuild.

We know that the planet's climate is changing. We know that we're largely responsible. We know that the poorest people on Earth will be hardest hit. We also know how to do many things to help them live better now, and better withstand the heavy weather that's on its way. The only question is whether we care enough to put our knowledge to use.

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Comments


A opinião do FDMAI - Fórum em Defesa do Meio Ambiente de Icoaraci, quanto a questão da degradação ambiental, que pode levar à extinção das espéciés, inclusive a humana, é que há solução para esse problema. No entanto, assim como o problema é enorme o que tiver de ser tentado como solução tem de ser em proporção maior. Nesse caso, a sugestão é para que seja mudada a sociedade, passando de capitalista para socialista, com a ciência e a história sendo as ferramentas utilizadas para alcançar o objetivo de preservação das espécies.
Isso porque, na sociedade capitalista, a ciência e a história são contingenciadas pelo sistema que explora visando lucro, e essa exploração causa a extinção, portanto, jamais a atual ciência e história poderão mudar esse quadro.


Posted by: FDMAI on 26 Jun 05



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