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Climate change a threat for future generations

As if there were not enough challenges facing countries around the world, including our island home Bermuda, no longer lurking in the shadows is a threat that no country large or small can ignore. Climate change has become the subject that scientists fear has already begun to impact life on earth, with floods and devastating fires that are a direct result of temperatures that in some cases have been never seen before.

The signs are clear that unless drastic steps are taken internationally to sharply reduce fossil fuels, the planet will be under siege from conditions that will alter life for all.

Here in Bermuda in the middle of the Atlantic, it would seem for those not paying close attention to recent developments that it is not a subject that should bother us. Without pushing any panic buttons, we should be very concerned because in the latest United Nations report on the subject, a grim warning has been issued that scientists believe rising ocean levels could already be at an Irreversible stage.

In this shot on July 26, cows graze as smoke rises from the Dixie Fire burning in Lassen National Forest, near Jonesville, California. An historic drought and recent heatwaves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West. Yesterday, US weather officials said Earth in July was the hottest month ever recorded (File photograph by Noah Berger/AP)

While there is no need to make a mad dash for the nearest boat, it is not a comforting thought to know that there are low land areas that could face the unthinkable.

It is not something that will happen tomorrow, next week, or a few years away. However, scientists are not biting their words in warning that time could be running out for immediate action by powerful conglomerates to reduce fossil-fuel emissions in their production processes. There has been plenty of talk about what could be considered as good intentions by corporate bosses, but it is action not words that could at least slow down global warming, which continues to impact so many lives in so many ways.

The real enemy could be scepticism, which has resulted in many refusing to accept being vaccinated despite overwhelming evidence by leading medical scientists around the world that it is the best protection against Covid 19 and its Delta variant, which has been devastating in many countries.

Warnings were sounded early, but it was not until hospitals were overflowing with thousands succumbing to the virus that a mass effort was launched to halt what was becoming a threat globally.

The battle to get people to co-operate in getting vaccinated continues not only around the world, but also here in Bermuda. The virus could not be happier with those who for whatever reason turn their backs on vaccination — it is these people that become bridges making it easier for the virus to infect as many as possible.

Not facing up to reality always carries consequences. The same holds true with climate change. Years ago, the term climate change sounded like the title of a new blockbuster for an afternoon matinee. For quite some years, scientists studying global weather changes have been warning that atmospheric conditions caused by damaging our protective shield with fossil-fuel emissions from major production facilities need to be curtailed as a joint effort to at least give the planet a better chance of slowing what certainly will be a threat for future generations.

No scientific credentials are required to know that something is happening on our planet with weather changes that cause raging fires engulfing millions of acres, leaving thousands of homes in ashes, along with a heavy with loss of life. Apart from out-of-control fires, there are unrelenting floods in parts of Europe, swept-away homes along with many lives, much of it happening with little warning.

Many of these catastrophic events are captured live on camera and, while it may be dramatic footage, when the waters recede and the cameras leave, people are left trying to come to grips with what normally would be unthinkable.

Some may ask what has all this to do with Bermuda? Well, it is important to realise that we may be small, but we are a part of life on this planet. Most important of all is, while we do not have to worry about massive fires or raging floods, we are surrounded by water, and the Atlantic Ocean as with other oceans is expected to rise as a result of melting ice in the Arctic. This creates concerns for low-lying areas, which include Bermuda.

Again, there is no need spend the night in a boat with the thought “I am on top of this one”. If there is a bright side to this, many scientists are convinced that with immediate steps to reduce fossil-fuel emissions, there could be a positive climate change in bringing some degree of control over rising temperatures that cause so much devastation, including hurricanes with such power that few structures are left standing after a strike.

There are many problems in the world today that need urgent attention. As long as children can die of starvation and sickness, as a result of various conflicts, and powerful nations struggle with hatred and racism, one could wonder why worry about climate change.

While there are no easy answers for any of that, the world itself may be hostage to giant corporations and powerful executives in sleek boardrooms, who have their hand on the budget when it comes to deciding whether action on climate change is worth risking a loss of income. We can only hope they will take scientific evidence seriously and, just like the vaccination process, do what is right because in doing so, they will be helping to save lives now — and for future generations.

That should be the objective by those who with the stroke of a pen could start the path towards helping to tackle climate change before it changes all life on our home planet earth. There is still time to act, but according to scientists, the window of opportunity will not remain open for ever.

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Published August 14, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated August 13, 2021 at 5:38 pm)

Climate change a threat for future generations

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