Friday, August 20, 2010

Global Warming: Effects and what you can do

There has been news of global warming anywhere; ice caps melting, sea levels rising, islands slowly sinking, yet nobody seems to care exactly. When you look around, it is impossible not to spot piles of garbage. At the nearby river, plastic materials float from all directions. If ever these wastes get collected and brought to the dumping site, it will have a tormented fate- burnt.

It was only two years ago when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the report on human contribution to climatic changes, but the predictions are gaining momentum, becoming a big, dreadful reality. If you live in Southeast Asia, then you probably agree you are having this kind of experience; the sun has never been this hot, for as much as storms weren’t exactly as strong as they are these days. As tragedies come one after the other, we get to ask ourselves, “Why do I need to experience the scourges of civilization?” We, on the other hand, may never have asked or even thought what our contributions were.

For the past decades, the weather pattern has been changing, becoming more unpredictable. You bring a jacket to work on a quite cloudy morning and eventually find yourself suffer from the scourging heat of the sun. The next day, you started the day with the mighty sun greeting you in the east, but found your way home totally drenched in the rain. These past few weeks, the Philippines have been hit by countless typhoons with strengths we never really imagined. In a matter of two weeks, three super storms pounded the islands, pouring more than a month’s average rainwater in three days. There have been massive floods in the north, destroying infrastructure, agriculture and other forms of livelihood. With much damage to account for, many had been left homeless and worst, bereaved. Those who are lucky enough to evacuate found themselves packed inside small school buildings or public gymnasiums where the risks of catching communicable diseases and other infectious illnesses are soaring high.

With the great Pacific Ocean, home of the world’s strongest storms, being affected by climate change, we can’t help but wonder what’s next. For countries in Southeast Asia, gifted with great landscapes and rich natural resources, changes in weather patterns mean having their minerals from soil rapidly being washed off to the seas. People from all walks of life feared the consequences. With major rice fields destroyed, we are facing the threat of food shortage, and thus, possible periods of hunger for those who can’t afford the high costs of produce.

Many believe using cars or having factories are just some of the main reasons for the earth’s fate. We build, innovate and use things for our absolute conveniences. People do have the power to make a change, and somehow for the better. There is no silver bullet to stop the earth from warming. One international research once said that even if we stop our C02 emissions, it would take about thirty years to reduce it from the atmosphere. The best things we did these days? In major department stores, it is encourage that we take our recycled plastic bags on a certain day of the week. Communities are also in the move toward proper garbage disposal through segregation. Universities had “car free” days, and students are out for the campaign against burning of garbage at home. Little steps, but it does help. What about you, what have you done so far?