“There are a lot of places in the world at risk from rising sea levels, but Bangladesh is at the top of everybody’s list,” said Rafael Reuveny, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University at Bloomington. “And the world is not ready to cope with the problems.”Those two paragraphs are from Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land: Facing Rising Seas, Bangladesh Confronts the Consequences of Climate Change, an article in today's New York Times that I urge everyone here to read.
The effects of climate change have led to a growing sense of outrage in developing nations, many of which have contributed little to the pollution that is linked to rising temperatures and sea levels but will suffer the most from the consequences.
- because the the impact of climate change is already having severe impact upon millions
- because those feeling its impact are the poor, in nations that did little to create the problem (although some of what happens in those nations can make the impact even worse)
- because all of our wealth as a nation will be insufficient to protect all of our citizens when such impact begins to regularly affect this nation, which is why this nation should be leading the efforts to STOP and REVERSE the human impact upon global climate change.
Please keep reading.
I am not a scientist, but one does not have to be in order to understand what is happening. Stories like the one to which this posting refers provide the kinds of information readily accessible to anyone not willfully blinded either by private economic interest or by an ideology - political or religious - that is used as an excuse not to accept the reality of what is already happening.
The article is far more than words - take your time, at not only read the words offer by reporter Gardiner Harris, but look carefully at the accompanying photos and videos.
If I have not already convinced you, let me offer the beginning of the piece:
DAKOPE, Bangladesh — When a powerful storm destroyed her riverside home in 2009, Jahanara Khatun lost more than the modest roof over her head. In the aftermath, her husband died and she became so destitute that she sold her son and daughter into bonded servitude. And she may lose yet more.heartbreaking choices and impossible hopes
Ms. Khatun now lives in a bamboo shack that sits below sea level about 50 yards from a sagging berm. She spends her days collecting cow dung for fuel and struggling to grow vegetables in soil poisoned by salt water. Climate scientists predict that this area will be inundated as sea levels rise and storm surges increase, and a cyclone or another disaster could easily wipe away her rebuilt life. But Ms. Khatun is trying to hold out at least for a while — one of millions living on borrowed time in this vast landscape of river islands, bamboo huts, heartbreaking choices and impossible hopes.
For millions upon millions of people.
Whose sources of potable water are disappearing.
As ice masses melt and ocean levels rise and coastal regions flood:
Such a rise will be uneven because of gravitational effects and human intervention, so predicting its outcome in any one place is difficult. But island nations like the Maldives, Kiribati and Fiji may lose much of their land area, and millions of Bangladeshis will be displaced.Bangladesh has tens of millions being impacted. Bangladesh produces just 0.3% of the carbon emissions that are contributing to the problem.
Why the focus on Bangladesh?
River deltas around the globe are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising seas, and wealthier cities like London, Venice and New Orleans also face uncertain futures. But it is the poorest countries with the biggest populations that will be hit hardest, and none more so than Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated nations in the world. In this delta, made up of 230 major rivers and streams, 160 million people live in a place one-fifth the size of France and as flat as chapati, the bread served at almost every meal.50 million Bangladeshis are at risk. A country with a population half that of the United States, which contributes 1/75 of what we do to carbon emissions, and which is suffering at hundreds of times the rate we are.
Remember, if the entire world lived at the level of consumption of Americans we would already exceed the carrying capacity of our planet by a factor of at least 5.
It is not that we have not been able to realize that this was happening. Perhaps people might want to take a look at this paper co-authored by Paul Erlich - in 1992!!!
Read the article.
Perhaps the impact upon Bangladesh will appear as not all that relevant to the US.
But it is.
Perhaps we are not yet understanding all the impacts upon us, but there are already happening.
Because of our insistence upon profligate consumption we are wreaking environmental devastation upon Appalachia through mountaintop removal to get at coal, we are poisoning rivers there and with what we are doing with going for oil from tar sands. We are causing earthquakes and probably poisoning aquifers by fracking.
We will see more extreme weather because more heat equals more energy which means more severe storms - winds and precipitation.
In the meantime, what about what we and the other industrialized nations are doing to millions, maybe even billions, around the world?
What about the island nations? What about Bangladesh?
What are we going to do as a nation?
what are we going to do as individuals?
I wonder . . . . .