“It is only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught and the last stream poisoned, that we will realize that we cannot eat money.”
A Native American proverb that says it all with such abundant eloquence, and we wonder if the old half-naked chief of the Misty Mountain was an illiterate man, or a sage who knew what was to come to planet Earth?
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The men of the world, through their third eye, could imagine what calamity would befall humans as they chopped down trees, leveled hills, blocked streams, and polluted the oceans with criminal consistency in the name of modernity and progress. The greedy men scoffed at the warning words and set about digging a mile deep in search of diamonds and gold. The more they found them, the more they dug.
There are more plastic bottles and nylon nets in the oceans than mackerel. The deep forests where birds and animals once built their safe homes are now razed by humans to build multi-story concrete cages. The mechanized boats on the rivers pollute the water with burnt oil so that the fish suffocate and die. Industries produce drugs for humans, but spew black smoke into the air to make humans choke and die. The more fossil fuel you burn, the warmer the air. Forests are heating up. The clouds are heating up. The cold arctic zone is heating up. The thousand-year-old ice is melting. The water level in the world is rising. Torrential rains and flooding hit low-lying coastal areas. And then we hear the echo of the wise words of the old men of the misty mountain. They warned us: don’t abuse nature, because nature will fight back.
All around you see the vicious manifestation of calamities of unparalleled ferocity. Global temperature is about to cross the threshold. Massive blocks of ice in the Himalayas are slowly melting to crash into the human dwellings below. The century-old climate model is no longer familiar. The rains linger shamelessly; winter bids farewell earlier than expected.
Nature is on the way to revenge all over the world. Environmentalists may not want to put it so bluntly, but deep down they know there is some truth to this. The human population of over seven billion people is tearing this tiny planet apart in its infinite greed for material gain, to make profit by selling whatever it can grab with both hands. Their indifferent atrocities contribute to a serious imbalance in nature, which in turn accelerates the process of climate change on a global scale.
Climate change causes sea level rise, storms, cyclones, drought, land erosion, landslides, floods and salinization, and these extreme weather conditions are forcing people to seek refuge. elsewhere in search of livelihood. Bangladesh is at the forefront of these impacts.
The low-lying geographical location, Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to the frequent vagaries of nature. The high population density exacerbates its attempts to turn the wheels of the economy.
A study shows that by 2050, one in seven people in Bangladesh will be a victim of climate change. And he further says that up to 18 million people may have to migrate due to rising sea levels.
As humans continue to destroy nature to sate their greed, they are also taking the liberty of coining the phrase âclimate refugeeâ. This is irony at its peak – a caustic joke about the unfortunate people in the refugee camps. The term climate refugee designates: “People or groups of people who, for reasons of sudden or gradual climatic changes in the environment which adversely affect their life or living conditions, are forced to temporarily or permanently leave their usual place of residence, and who move either within their country or abroad.
Here are some grim facts about Bangladesh. It is estimated that two-thirds of Bangladesh lies within five meters above sea level. And up to 28% of the population lives on the coastal belts, where frequent flooding caused by the tides caused by the sea. The rise in sea level forces them to migrate to the heights.
Another estimate says that by 2050, with an expected sea level rise of 50cm, Bangladesh could lose around 11 percent of its land, affecting around 15 million people living in its low-lying coastal region. Farmers face salinity issues when farming on damaged land. Arsenic in drinking water is still very present in many tube wells.
In such a haunting context, world leaders, most of whom come from large polluting economies, have attempted to pacify the people with the declaration of a multibillion-dollar pledge to end deforestation by 2030. But environmental groups and protesters took the statement with great skepticism and demanded more urgent action to save the planet. Although the pledge is backed by nearly $ 20 billion in public and private funding, and has been endorsed by more than 100 leaders representing more than 85 percent of the world’s forests, including the Amazon rainforest, the boreal forest of northern Canada and the Congo Basin rainforest, environmentalists are not convinced how much this will help heal deep wounds and stop the bleeding.
Leaders of “industrialized” countries argued that the deforestation deal was important to the overall goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which was the Accord’s most ambitious goal. from Paris. But the fact remains that the extent of the damage done to this planet under siege for some 300 years, in the name of industrialization and modernity, has been more serious than what can be seen at naked eye.
The same destructors and polluters of industrialized countries, and their paid operatives, said in sour words: âWe cannot cope with the devastating loss of habitats and species without addressing climate change and we cannot. fight climate change without protecting our natural environment and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples. So protecting our forests is not only the right way forward to tackle climate change, but the right way to a more prosperous future for all of us.
We wonder why it took them until conferences like COP25 and COP26 to say all these things, and why couldn’t they act decades ago?
The following countries are responsible for the acceleration of massive deforestation in their respective territories: Brazil, Russia, the United States, China, Australia and France. And they all signed off on the deal. They have already done so at many other summits and conferences on climate change and related issues. We are witnesses of their follow-up actions. Nothing valid has yet been done.
They say it was too little, too late at COP26. Planet Earth will not sit idle for polluters to free up their money for their pet organizations and groups to hold seminars to educate people about the adverse effects of climate change. Planet Earth will continue to take revenge.
Sadly, polluters will read this in the newspapers, while innocent victims will drown in distant Bangladesh.
Shahnoor Wahid is a freelance journalist.