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Rough Cuts | A warning

By 2050 some 13.6 million Filipinos are at risk of being displaced due to rising sea level.

That is according to the report titled “Addressing Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific” published by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and launched recently in Bangkok, Thailand. It considers the Philippines as “one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.”

Scientific studies conducted have advanced the theory that one of the effects of climate change is the melting of ice glaciers in the Artic and Antartic regions. Thus, according to scientists focusing their studies on climatic conditions of the world, the melted ice would add up to the present sea level causing it to rise and inundate areas along shorelines.

But honestly, we do not take that assumption hook, line and sinker. The Filipinos are wise enough.

This early, they have already beaten the sea to the draw. Instead of waiting for the sea level to rise and inundate residences along the seashores, they are now invading the shorelines putting up houses on shores or above water through tilts. One need not go far. All that is needed to be done is visit areas like Piapi, Bucana, Times beach, parts of Matina Aplaya, seaside portion of Bago Aplaya, San Juan in Agdao district, Jerome, Panacan and Tibungco.

Thousands of families have allocated for themselves the shores where their houses now stand and connected to each other with wooden foot bridges.

So, now, it is not really the people who are at risk of getting displaced. It is the sea that is denied less and less spaces to occupy because human beings are out to dislodge the surface liquid instead.

And in the shores of Metro Manila, there are a number of ongoing as well as pending applications for reclamation projects with thousands of hectares expected to come out from under water.

Of course such a possibility of a sizeable portion of the Philippines submerged to the sea in 2050 should not be taken for granted, even as our assertion that the “invasion” of the sea on the lands should not also be considered a joke. It is already happening.

While the time-table is still 30 years from now, the warning that comes from a study conducted by a non-arguably very credible institution could happen like the Corona Virus Disease (CoViD 19) pandemic. The difference is that the former potential disaster that could hit the entire world has a prior warning in the ADB study, while the latter came like a thief in the night. Its jet-quick spread though, like the melting of the ice glaciers in the Artic and Antartic continents, is likely aided by the people’s complacent attitude on the role of nature in bringing potential world-wide disasters.

It is clear that the horrendous impact of climate change to the entire world is brought about by the people’s lack of concern with the fast deteriorating global environment. The economic activities of countries clearly shown by the operation of industries and other businesses lead to the emission of various toxic matters into the environment. The diminished level of oxygen in the universe brought about by the wanton destruction of its forest covers made it much faster and easier for the heat of the sun to penetrate the ozone layer. Thus, the extreme heat becomes too much for the icebergs to bear. The consequence is the slow but sure melting, and the liquid from the melted glaciers adds up to the level of the sea water. So the 2050 grim scenario.

But, given the warnings one coming from the study conducted and published by the ADB, the projected disaster brought about by the melting of icebergs can be obviated if governments and peoples of the world undertake contingent plans and preventive measures. Of course, there must be changes in the peoples’ and governments’ attitude to the issue of climate change and the global environment.

Meanwhile, in the case of CoViD 19, reports have it that the deadly virus started because of the Chinese people’s vanity for exotic food. It said that the deadly virus apparently was transmitted to the human body by eating the meat of a kind of bat sold openly in a Wuhan, China meat market. The bat meat is only one of many that are regular fares for the Chinese gourmet loved by residents of Wuhan including those belonging to the affluent class.

In other words, the virus, the infection of which has already evolved into a global pandemic and killed close to half a million people all over the world, appeared to be hosted by a specie of exotic animal that may have been affected by toxins in the deteriorating environment.

And unlike the projected 2050 alteration of the sea water level, the present pandemic that has brought the entire world to its feet, never had any prior warning given before it happened. The only thing that could be considered as kind of a warning to governments and people is their learning from lessons in history.

Unfortunately, it was apparent that no one seems to have a serious look at the history of such pandemic as the bubonic plague in the 1300s, the Spanish Flu in 1918, and the more recent yet not really massive, the SARS and Merscov global afflictions. And nobody paid attention, even if on superficial level only, to the predictions of the historically-acknowledged Nostradamus about important incidents that had affected and still to hit the world.

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