Floods, fires and failing politicians
Extreme weather is currently wrecking millions of lives across the globe. So, what role does climate change have to play in these disasters?
In Australia, fire crews are currently battling over 120 bush fires, which have so far killed four people and destroyed more than 300 homes.
Record high tides have also hit Venice, submerging the famous site, St Mark’s Square, in up to 74 inches of water at its peak. Local jewellery shop owner, Antonella Rossi, told The Guardian, “work that took a lifetime was wrecked in seconds.” Two people have died in the floods which are at the highest level since records began in 1923. Leaders within Venice have said there is “great devastation” to famous monuments and museums too.
Back home in the UK, hundreds of homes and businesses are flooded, with thousands of people being evacuated for safety. In Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire, many people are currently homeless and without work, and the waters are due to rise again.
So, can these disasters be attributed to climate change?
Climate change is complex. Although it is not the direct cause of the bushfires, in fact, a 16 year old boy was arrested for causing one of the fires, scientists warn that a hotter, drier climate would contribute to Australia’s fires becoming more frequent and more intense.
Australia’s Prime Minister refused to speak about climate change being the cause of the bush fires, simply saying, “My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families.” Of course, paying respect to the victims and their families is of paramount importance. But there are only so many times that ‘thoughts and prayers’ can be the resolution to these tragic environmental disasters.
Image credit: Wikipedia
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, took to Twitter to state that the “apocalyptic” floods were “the effects of climate change.” A 2017 report by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development warned that Venice will be underwater within a century if climate change isn’t slowed and adequate defences aren’t put in place.
“I have never seen anything like it,” said Venice Archbishop Francesco Moragli. “Venice is a wounded city, but it can’t keep on being wounded every year in the same way.”
Image courtesy Allison Lince-Bentley (Image from 2007 used for illustrative purposes)
A further 50 flood warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency for the days ahead. “This is exactly what climate chaos looks like – not in some far off future, but right here, right now, in the UK,” says Amelia Womack. “Yes, it’s climate change which is driving rainfall at unprecedented rates, but it’s also the degradation of our natural world which fuels flooding, ensuring that this rainfall can’t be absorbed by the environment and leaving it nowhere to go except our living rooms.”
Iconic images of politicians turning up to these flooded areas in wellies, with a ‘concerned’ expression, has been riling many people in the UK. When will real action be taken? When will climate change be seriously acknowledged?
Image credit: www.oxfordlight.co.uk (Image from 2012 used for illustrative purposes)
The future of the planet
The future of the planet looks bleak if world leaders cannot acknowledge climate change as a serious, imminent global threat. These extreme phenomena are becoming more and more frequent. Our future depends on bold actions being taken in order to prevent future disasters wrecking havoc on the lives of innocent victims and causing irreparable damage to the planet.
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