Coping With Climate Change
by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
Climate change, according to the United Nations, refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.
I remember almost a decade ago when I was still a writer for Operation Blessing in the Philippines, we went to Davao Oriental to help the victims of Typhoon Pablo. It has claimed hundreds of lives, displaced thousands of families and destroyed billions of pesos worth of properties and infrastructure.
During that time, the terms “climate change” and “global warming” were already becoming buzzwords. I interviewed several affected locals and I vividly recall what one of them said: “This was the first time a strong typhoon hit our province. We were just used to watching it on television and we never imagined it would happen to us.”And as I watch the recent news about what’s happening to the world – severe flooding in Australia, the drought, heatwave and wildfires across Europe, the US and many parts of the world, I couldn’t help but be reminded of what happened before. Things we never imagined we would experience are already happening.
I stayed in London for a few years when I was younger. The summer temperature was moderate and tolerable. I don’t even remember using an air conditioner because a fan was sufficient.
But now, Britons are advised not to go out because of the intense heat which poses real danger. Spain, France and Germany brace themselves for sweltering temperatures. Firefighters are risking their lives to extinguish the wildfires ravaging these countries.
Indeed, the earth is warming and extreme change in weather patterns will now be a frequent and natural occurrence.
According to studies, the earth’s temperature has warmed by 1 degree Celsius. It seems small but is significant, causing major changes in weather patterns. It’s disheartening, uncomfortable, overwhelming, and uncertain.
What awaits the next generation? What kind of world will our children look forward to?
The world is in entropy. The effects of climate change are irreversible and the world’s weather conditions will only worsen and intensify. The little things we did and continue to do as individuals and communities contribute to global warming. The greenhouse gases produced by human activities warm the climate. We are to blame.
We cannot completely prevent the harmful effects of this global phenomenon, but we can at least slow them down.
Limit the use of plastic, especially single-use ones. Reduce emissions by walking or riding the bike instead of taking the car. Reduce energy use and cut waste generation. These are just some of the ways to help deal with climate change, but they will go a long way.
I must admit, it’s easier said than done but we must act now before it’s too late.
Watching the world experience destruction and witness countless communities and individuals suffer can grip and cripple us with fear and anxiety. But every day, I encourage myself with this verse from Psalm 46:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roars and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
The Creator of the universe is still in control. There is only one earth our children and their children can inherit from us, we must do everything we can to save it.