Monday, July 11, 2011

This is the Face of Climate Change And, For Some, It's Death

There is no way around this sort of completely turning our backs on it.   Climate change is consuming lives and it's becoming voracious.   At the moment, Somalia is taking a beating from severe drought.

Civil society groups are rallying together to help the vulnerable as the drought ravaging Somalia spreads to hitherto unaffected areas, amid concerns that hunger-related deaths are dramatically increasing.

"We are knocking on every door to collect help; nothing is too small," Asha Sha'ur Ugas, a member of a civil society drought committee, told IRIN. "Many people have already died and many more will die if help does not arrive soon - and by soon I mean right now."

She said they were already getting reports of people who died on the way and "ones who died after they reached Mogadishu [the capital]", adding, "most of the deaths were children and very weak adults, such as the elderly, pregnant and lactating mothers". 

And it's not just the poorest of the poor who are struggling to cope with the many scourges of climate change.   A United Nations report warns that Egypt is losing land faster than any country in the world.  Egypt is mainly desert with but 3% of its territory being arable land, dependent on the Nile for irrigation.   The report finds that much of this precious sliver of land is now being lost to the impacts of land development and spreading desertification.

The Executive Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification announced that Egypt ranked first in the rate of desertification, painting a bleak picture of fast-shrinking agricultural lands, deteriorating soil fertility and low productivity due to increased land abuse.
The UN report also said Egypt loses 3.5 acres per hour of fertile Delta agricultural land as a result of urban sprawl and construction, which is a record unprecedented in the global rate of deforestation.

Egypt's food security challenges are only just beginning.   Egyptian agriculture is heavily dependent on the Nile waters but now upstream countries are demanding a greater share of that water for hydro-electric projects and their own irrigation needs.   At the same time, declining Nile flows and rising sea levels are causing the spread of saltwater into what had been freshwater regions of the Nile delta.  Iraq is facing the same problem with Syria and Turkey diverting headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, reducing the river flows and accelerating saltwater inundation from the Persian Gulf.

Forget the Americans.   Forget the Australians.   When are we, the Canadian people, going to face up to our responsibilities and accept that, on a personal scale, we're generating morally indefensible levels of carbon emissions that, collectively, are taking innocent lives?  There is no disconnect.   That other affluent and would-be affluent countries are doing the same affords us no excuse.

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