Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Weather Migration - an environmental challenge

I am sharing a point of view on global distress due to weather change or Global Warming, or Climate Change, whichever you prefer. I do not believe we can remediate the earth and go back to the way we were. The change has come, and is not going anywhere soon.  And while many diverse groups are talking about the cause and the cure for this event, people, governments, and aid agencies are struggling to address the fall out.

We, globally, have initiated programs to address pollution, remediation, corporate responsibility, government action, citizen action, and lifestyle moderation. What has not been talked about is how our investments, socially, geographically and economically will have to uniquely change in order to move forward with humanity, and without bankrupting our future, lifestyle and societies.

If things continue to change at the current pace, and with the current approach to problem solving, we are doomed to the cycle of endless remediation and of throwing good money after bad. What do I mean by this? I am talking about the endless dollars spent on rehabilitating communities and business situated in the path of change.  The repetitive cycle of suffering, loss and destruction, and the building anger from all parties, that is fired by the status quo.  As staggering as you might think it would be to move cities and populations out of the path of destruction, it may, in the end, prove more sensible and sustainable to start thinking and planning this way.

This does not mean a suspension of efforts to address and correct human impact on the earth, it does not belittle the astounding support for people caught in the tide of events. It is merely a reality check and an opportunity to explore the notion of prudent repositioning in the great scheme of things. It is staggering to think that it might be a best case scenario to move communities, and all that implies, rather than try to work from an old playbook. The financial considerations, the challenge to humanity, and the logistics are staggering, but so are the implications of staying put.

Consider, where communities have existed and thrived relatively easily for hundreds and even thousands of years, we now have routine devastation, enough to demonstrate and support the notion of change. And yet, we are set on rebuilding in situ, with the reasonable chance that there will be a repeat catastrophe. This does not make sense, in any practical way at all. Throughout the history of man, we see that people have moved, re-established their capitols, markets, and lives and positioned for war, to meet political and financial strategies, and because of changing weather patterns that impact every aspect of a community, country, life.

It is clear that the earth has had many climatic changes, this is borne out through history and research. There is evidence that the arid deserts of Egypt were once home to large lakes, and today, for example, there is a desert growing in northwest China, and in Africa we see desertification the Darfur area. Everyone can describe examples of weather change in their lives today, and they can describe the impact at a very personal level.

The impact of weather change eventually translates into migrations with the eventuality of food scarcity and famine,  loss of work and income. The speed at which this occurs varies to a greater or lesser degree depending on the intensity of change. It is not surprising that this can lead to war, if the impact is a matter of life or death, then war becomes an option to try and mediate the effects of the change. It goes without saying, that the climate transitions can prove to be very beneficial to populations experiencing positive change. But the bottom line is that the weather changes bring economic, social and political  impact wherever visited.

We know this and I believe we are capable of addressing the eventualities, without food scarcity or war - but not without migration.  It is time to think and plan with the goal of managing the changes, as a component of the environmental movement, rather than trying to maintain the status quo for people in the path of these weather events.

It is a global challenge and it will require magnificent cooperation to accomplish a good, even, result.