Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ondoy and Climate Change

I have been watching and following the news lately about Typhoon Ondoy aftermath. The pictures and videos of the extent of devastation speak for itself and we got the message very clearly. Nature is fighting back and we are no match against her awesome power and fury. The typhoon is lashing our neighboring country Vietnam as I am typing this post and there were already reports of casualties.

The loss to human life and property is staggering to say the least - more than 200 people left dead and still counting plus billions of pesos of damage to school buildings, infrastructures, homes, and crops.

The typhoon that hit us was not exactly a super typhoon. I actually thought it was just one of those typhoons that regularly visit us during this time of year, but what it lacked in strength it made up in the amount of water dumped - almost a month's worth of rain poured in continuously in a span of six hours or so. There is really something abnormal here. Of course, we cannot discount the fact that our not so efficient drainage system also contributed to the flooding.


I feel sad to all those who fell victim to this calamity. I live in a city that is almost synonymous to the word 'flood' and yet we did not figure in the news and we are immensely grateful for that. We were spared. Across the street from where I live, the waters only reached ankle deep and quickly subsided as soon as the rain ceased, thanks in part to the flood control systems in place.

Of course, some places were not as lucky.

We have never experienced a typhoon of such magnitude in terms of devastation in living memory, and according to experts it is only a foretaste of things to come. Imagine a storm packing winds of more than 200 mph and dumping that much water continuously in a span of 24 hours. And imagine typhoons of such ferocity visiting us 20 times or more yearly.

That is how worse things can get if we do not do something now.

Now, the word 'climate change' is becoming a concrete reality for us all. It's no longer a shady theory formulated by scientists or a propaganda by some politicians to advance their interests. Climate change is definitely man-made and I think it is real. Ultimately, the climate is not to blame; it's us.

After the Ondoy aftermath, the weather specialists are keeping their eye on another storm brewing in the Pacific Ocean and is set to visit our country still reeling from the destruction anytime this week.

I hope we have learned our lessons in disaster preparedness by now.

In the meantime, I just want to share this documentary made by a scientific organization called the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on climate change.

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

1 comment:

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