Monday, June 5, 2017

Climate Change is Real

By Rupande Mehta 

Climate change is real. Facts don't lie. They don't even care if you believe them or not. In Europe, this reality is not even debatable. We are seeing the effects everywhere. Antarctica is melting at a rate faster than any known to mankind. Greenland is literally turning green. Temperatures are rising, coastal cities are flooding and droughts are increasingly being linked to climate change. So in this environment, why withdraw from a treaty that isn't even legally binding? What kind of irresponsible person would think of withdrawing and then claiming to negotiate a new deal? 

The president of the United States is an abominable wound inflicted on this nation and now on the planet. In his desire to stay true to his base, to follow campaign promises, no matter how ridiculous and false they are, he has personally put the entire future of this planet in jeopardy. His actions will reverberate throughout mankind as either a turning point that ultimately led to devastation or increasing the strength of the resistance with more and more cities banding together to follow through on the promises made in Paris. 

One more thing: climate change disproportionately affects women and children. (For more on that read:
According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, women experience more poverty than men, have access to less financial independence and are less able to bounce back in terms of jobs and training after climate disasters. After Katrina, 83% of single mothers were unable to return to their homes for two years after. About 2/3rds of the jobs lost were by women. 

Take heat waves - children play outside and can become very vulnerable to heat related illness. Pregnant women and their unborn babies are also at risk. Changing weather patterns mean insects stick around for longer causing other illnesses and diseases putting women, children and the elderly at most risk. 

In addition, women traditionally have less power in the household - especially in many developing countries - than men. This means their say is limited and solutions implemented in the household, community or nation may not address problems faced by women. 

A report, Gender and Climate Change in 2007 concluded that not only are women more affected by changes in the climate but to make matters worse are also underrepresented in decision making around greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, adaptation and migration. 

So while Trump tries to invent new ways to manufacture clean coal and keep his promises to his posse, the real world is suffering by his rash, abrasive decision. Which means that the responsibility of preserving and maintaining the ecology of our Earth falls squarely on our shoulders - each one of us has a role to play to ensure we leave a clean Earth behind for our future generations. Cities, towns and communities need to step up - as many of them are - and fight this injustice. We have only one planet. This is the one fight we cannot afford to lose.