Climate change is one of those touchy subjects the acceptance of its reality implying governmental responsibility and re-examining economic costing which heretofore had ignored ecological costs.
The assumption that humans are contributing to Mama Earth’s turbulence is anathema to thinkers who tolerate the aberrations as part of Mama Earth’s unpredictable nature but cannot stand any suggestion that economics abuse the use of natural resources.
Better reporting, we are told, explains disasters’ frequency, and has nothing to do with mineral extractions and exploitation of Mother Nature’s processes. More specifically, any suggestion that the extraction of oil and the emission of fossil fuel into the atmosphere have anything to do with the convulsions being experienced in many places around the world is voodoo science.
Yet, if we consider the quakes in areas where oil explorations are occurring, (one struck Xinjiang south of Urumqi, and another devastated Sichuan again), add the flooding in areas of excessive water accumulation and flow, and the droughts in areas that could use some, and we begin to wonder if the patterns we relied on in the past had been altered by the change of currents and the increase of volume in the rapid melting of ice on both ends of the polar cap.
Science has confirmed the increase of temperature through the greenhouse effect of our carbon emissions, but it does not matter ’cause to many, the climate aberrations are Mama Gaia’s feminine inscrutability. Pseudo science. There.
Meanwhile, quakes, floods, and droughts put considerable stress on our state of preparedness and programs of mitigation. Hurricanes and typhoons have always been with us so their devastations should be taken as a matter of course.
The fires. They are the product of criminal intents of arsonists and our failure to control their spread is a matter of human incompetence, plus an unusual climate dryness. It should not be laid on the altar of Mother Nature’s changing patterns.
La-di-da. Blah. Blah. Blah. Anyone who says anything differently is an alarmist.
We were part of the NGO crowd in ’76 during the Habitat UN Conference, and in ’92, some colleagues joined the NGOs again in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. As anyone who ever dealt with procedure-guided agencies like UN bodies, they move at tectonic pace. Thus, in the Rio+20 held this June, 20 years later for the follow-up, the NGOs took to the parliament of the streets to promote alternative scenarios. Some representatives of indigenous peoples aired their right to be heard, honored, and recognized.
My participation in the NGO village of the ’76 UN conference was from a stance of "methinks-you-protest-too-much" to "tell us what you are doing to create the new, and we shall listen; we might even follow." We highlighted the efforts of the Institute of Cultural Affairs in launching Human Development Projects around the world with a heavy emphasis on broad community participation.
I was one of the anchors in the initial efforts in Mactan, the Philippines. This was about the time I appropriated the "earthrise" as the symbol of my global village, and the blue orb in the sky as my hometown!
The efforts have since become institutionalized with national ICAs around the world continuing the replication of the facilitative style of leadership developed out of the projects, and the comprehensive decision-making process it entailed. This is, however, a drop in the bucket compared to the enormity of the planetary challenge, but as the Nike slogan keeps reminding us, when one opts for a way, "Just do it!"
The doom talk about what is causing the accelerated incidences of quakes, floods, droughts, fires, and hurricanes is just talk, and as an old Chinese saying goes, "Talk does not cook the rice." The negotiated text from the Rio-20 conference was ritually ripped into pieces during one of the street protests, so emotion on that sector remains high. And alternative write-up (people’s manifesto) is circulated by the Civil Society Group for people to read and to sign (http://sustainabilitytreaties.org) though we confess that numbers in petitions had never shown any significant effect on policy.
Nevertheless, in the words of the petition: "They (the signatories) announced their own responsibility for undertaking actions, inviting and encourage similar actions and commitments by other rightsholders and stakeholders, communicating a vision for healthy communities, sustainable and equitable human well-being and its associated strategies, and coming together in the form of a global citizen's movement to shepherd the transition to a sustainable, equitable, and democratic future." We added our Hemingwei.
In a more specific matter in our backyard, the navy’s project in the Pacific includes the use of high-frequency sound that incapacitates dolphins and whales. For information and an invitation to sign the circulating petition on the matter check out http://signon.org/sign/navy-under-water-sound?source=s.em.mt&r_by=4906938.
"Just do it" remains our creed. "Observe and judge the given facts, weigh up the values, decide and act," we sang in the '60s. It’s on the acting that we’re still singing these days!