Our worn out global village of landslides, floods and hurricanes

by Alexander O. Onukwue

The landslides that ravaged Sierra Leone a week ago took north of 1000 lives. About the same of number of casualties have been reported from South East Asia floods that have cut through India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Fatality from Hurricane Harvey is under 50, but it is not any less of a disaster, while hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes in Benue State Nigeria.

The cost of lives from these catastrophes have been very unfortunate, but the wider implication of these major natural disasters being recorded almost concurrently in different parts of the world is that of a world that appears tied to one impending destiny: climate change.

The world has always been a global village before neoliberals gave us open borders and globalisation. Contained within the same gaseous envelope, and with inter-connection of seas, there has never been much doubt that what happens in one far-away island in St Kitts and Nevis has a good chance of affecting the people of Comoros. Some challenges are still peculiar to certain regions, like malaria in Africa, but the world has always been one.

Now, more than ever, it is now also becoming worn.

Perhaps as a consequence of the measures that have fuelled the rapid globalization over the past five decades, the counter effects are beginning to weigh on the fabric of the earth. The rains are pouring like never before, while the winds are being more violent and haphazard. Thousands continue to be uncertain of what kind of weather they would wake to; like the award-winning documentary about the Niger Delta, there is, for many, nowhere to run.

There are floods which occur due to bad or lack of drainages, but scientists are telling us that the ravages occurring in many parts of the world are more than just the fault of construction engineering. They say something is changing up there in the skies, that the globe is getting warmer due to the activities of man. Emissions from fossil fuel exploitation, agriculture and high carbon buildings are contributing to the increases in temperature, and we are told that these increase evaporation, increase the rate at which the ice caps melt, with the consequences being increasingly unpredictable rainfall and larger bodies of water to much to control.

The scenario is that this one global village – the only one man can reasonably have and live in – is becoming warmer, and more worn.

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