|Climate Change taking its toll- thousands dying in worldwide flooding
|| PRINTABLE VERSION
| August 14, 2002
Floods have wreaked havoc in many parts of the world with up to 50,000 people evacuated from the mediaeval city of Prague yesterday and hundreds reported dead in Nepal. Some of the worst flooding Europe has seen in decades has left about 58 dead in Russia, while more than 1000 buildings in the Austrian capital, Vienna, are under water and the banks of the Danube are being reinforced by sandbags. In Germany and Switzerland, rain has caused widespread damage and landslides. Russia has been the hardest-hit country. Giant cranes hoisted ruined cars and other debris out of the Black Sea yesterday, and clean-up crews scoured coastal beaches in search of more bodies. Thousands of Russians who had descended on the Black Sea coast for their summer holidays were caught up in the surprise flooding.
Asia has not been spared either, with 17 people reported dead in the Philippines yesterday as torrential rain submerged dozens of villages over a wide area. New Delhi was also inundated with the beginning of a ferocious monsoon yesterday. In China, flooding over the past week has killed as many as 100 people, pushing this year's toll of flood-related deaths to about 900. In Nepal, at least 422 people have been killed, scores more are missing and over 30,000 have been left homeless as a result of weeks of monsoonal floods, according to the Nepalese Red Cross Society
While the immediate focus is on addressing the casualties and delivering aid to affected areas, we also need to carefully examine the cause of these wildly erratic weather phenomena. Climate Change has been in the news for over a decade now - but to no avail, since laudable efforts such as the Kyoto Protocol are callously thwarted by the obstinacy of people like President Bush. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase due to our inability to give up our crazy quest for 'modernization', exacerbating an already dire situation.
Yet, not a group to be disheartened, young people are taking serious action to convince people like George W. Bush to take action for the climate and for the planet's future. Take, for example, the efforts of the Pacific Youth Environment Network, which is a group of young environmentalists supported by UNEP. Climate change and sea level rise are the most serious environmental issues in the South Pacific islands. The PYEN recently called on the international community to do everything they can to stop water levels from rising in the pacific. Rising sea levels have already claimed people’s lives through storm events, giant tides, and, more recently, through the salt poisoning of fresh water and food crops.
Young people's convictions are a very powerful agent for change. Take the story of the World Youth Organisation on Climate Change. Having branches in over six nations around the world, WYOCC works to represent the voices of young people to governments and leaders such as Bush in an effort to convince them of the seriousness of climate change and the urgency of drastic policy changes. Members of the WYOCC have been present at major international negotiations and conferences such as the Conference of the Parties (COP) 6 and 7, the two major UN negotiations on climate. They have spoken to audiences all over the world. Furthermore, they have built an online network of members in over sixty nations and provide an online portal in seven languages to link this network at http://www.wyocc.org.
There are several such efforts around the world that you can read about at this address: http://www.wyocc.org/action/action.htm
Bracken Hill House
Bristol BS8 3PL
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| Dec 2nd, 2009
This article is right in many ways. It takes a fresh new pair of eyes to truly see the harmful effects impacted on the world today. A young pair of eyes are not blinded by greed and corruption. After all, it is today's generation who will deal with these problems. Future generations should have the same oppurtunity to enjoy this world as we have.
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