The Floods, The Climate, The Future

Queensland
Queensland

Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro

St. Bernard
St. Bernard

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Doesn’t it seem all wrong? And Australia is supposed to be a “dry continent”. Or something like it. The experts are saying that the extreme weather that the world is experiencing today is due to what has been long called, “climate change”. The Earth has become warmer. Due to that there is always water overhead just waiting to pour when the clouds can no longer keep themselves together.

Images of floods and landslides are all around us. Homes destroyed, futures uncertain. Everyone is affected. And neither am I an exception to that. But, thankfully, the situation in our area is not as bad as in the images above. However, just across the street, where houses are along rice fields, some have beds all wet due to too much flood water. (Most of us live in one-storey dwellings.)

Amidst all these, one good thing always comes up. A lot of people are always seemingly willing to help – giving relief wherever needed. Unfortunately, very few think of long-term aid. The very same tragedy has happened in Southern Leyte a few years ago. The place where the landslide occurred was almost, as they say it, “written off the map”. But, apparently, no one bothered to do anything much about it. Now, people, politicians mostly, are bickering, passing around the blame. (Because someone just has to be blamed…)

Last year, it was the earthquakes. Haiti was the most devastated. Millions of dollars was supposed to flow into Haiti to aid in the nation’s recovery. However, after a year, not much has changed. A huge portion of the promised aid has not yet appeared in the country. Only a few people saw the bigger picture last year. And just like in Southern Leyte, no long-term plans has been effected.

On a lighter side, whenever there are floods, I’m always reminded of a song by the Jonas Brothers: Year 3000. (Or should I say Busted? I’ve never heard their original version so I wouldn’t be reminded of them.) In that song, there’s a line that says,

“Not much has changed but they lived underwater”

Is that what the future has in store for us? A world where people lived underwater? I sure do hope we’d have developed gills by that time.

Oh, well not all of us can look that far. To some, the world is gonna end in 2012. There’s even a dreadful radio advertisement from a fast food chain here that speaks of tragic events and ends with, “We only have until 2012.”

Blog Action Day: Water and Life

Water is simply one of the single best gifts that man ever received. Different people call it a great many different names. Some even give it a lofty importance. Chemists call it the “universal solvent” as an acknowledgement to the superiority of water over all other solvents. While some, call water the “sustainer of life” owing to the fact that water supports the life here on Earth.

Water is indeed such an important resource and we all depend on it for survival. Ironically, many of us just ignore water, take it for granted, not caring about what could possibly occur if all the earthen waters get soiled. In the end, it is us who suffer.

This year, a huge El Niňo season devastated millions worth of crops and livestock in the Philippines. There is no way we can get that back.

Even in the world’s biggest countries, water is gradually becoming a scarce resource. However, it is the poor who are hit hard. Those who have no water reserves and can’t afford to buy water. See, according to the UN, “Across the globe, about 4,500 children die each day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities. Over 90% of deaths from diarrhea diseases from unsafe water and sanitation occur in children under 5 years old.” Thing is, water should not be bought. It is a gift and should therefore be shared among all of us.

There are a lot of ways with which each of us can help. As it is said, “change starts from within.” Therefore, we should take steps to make sure that we are not wasting water and are making the most out of this precious gift. Here are some simple and practical ways with which can help us save water and help ourselves taken from 100 Ways To Conserve of WaterUseItWisely :

  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
  • Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
  • For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
  • When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • Walkways and patios provide space that doesn’t ever need to be watered. These useful “rooms” can also add value to your property.
  • Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.

These are just some of the ways with which we can help the worsening water situation here on Earth. It all starts from all of us. One simple step a day can go a long way.

Right now, we can also do more. The UN needs our help.

Take action today in support of the UN’s work to supply clean, safe drinking water to the world’s poorest populations and urge UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to continue the UN’s life-saving work bringing water and sanitation to developing nations.

Through continued efforts of the United Nations and organizations like UNICEF, the world is currently on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal on water. With the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, all regions should meet their water targets — but only through continued dedication and efforts by the UN and member countries.

Together with partners like UNICEF, we are on a path to provide clean, safe drinking water to millions around the world who need it most.

Helping the UN with there efforts is as simple as signing the petition.

Support the UN's Efforts to Bring Clean, Safe Water to Millions

350: We Should All Know About It

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Actions for the climate change should not end with Blog Action Day last October 15. It should be the start of the call for the change.

October is almost over. That also means, December is coming. And so is the convention at Copenhagen. This is when the world’s leaders will meet for a new climate treaty following the Kyoto Protocol that is near expiry.

350.org made October 24 the International Day of Climate Action. People all over the world have already organized actions for this day. This is already becoming a huge global event. This is all for the support of the most important number in the world: 350.

We need to make 350 a number known across the planet. This will exert some pressure on this world leaders to make a decision that will work best for our planet and for us. This pressure is needed as the fossil fuel industry is the big force that might hinder this drive towards 350.

So why 350? What is the significance of 350?

Scientists say that it is the safe limit of part per million of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. And guess what? We are already way past that.

We are almost at 400 ppm and this is not good. This is not able to kill our planet immediately but if we do not get back to the safe zone, and fast!, the planet will be more at risk of dying. We have gone to the danger zone as we have poured too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – from our home systems, cars, industries, and a lot more. Signs of big trouble are already very evident – huge ice caps melting, glaciers cracking, strong typhoons. We don’t want that.

How do we get back to 350?

We need an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions fast. The United Nations is working on a treaty, which is supposed to be completed in December of 2009 at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. But the current plans for the treaty are much too weak to get us back to safety. This treaty needs to put a high enough price on carbon that we stop using so much. It also needs to make sure that poor countries are ensured a fair chance to develop.

We are hoping that this December, world leaders will make the right decision for us to be able to preserve the only home we know.