Climate change in Covid times

Climate change doesn’t stop because of Covid.

As much as we would like to believe that global warming will stop because the economy has come to a halt, that simply isn’t the case. We are still burning fossil fuels and we are still cutting down trees in massive droves. Even though the economy has come to a standstill due to the lock downs caused by Covid 19, it is estimated that global emissions will only go down by a mere 5%. This is indicative of just how bad the situation is, that even in a global pandemic where we all stayed at home, we still couldn’t reduce emissions. It also tells us that the fight to prevent climate change must go on and we must not give up.

The pandemic has certainly destroyed many lives and livelihoods and people are struggling to make ends meet. Some in the restaurant and hospitality industry have had to go months on end without any real income and thousands have had their entire savings destroyed by the pandemic. Although our incomes have been decimated, the costs are still mounting. The common denominator during all of this is that climate change is still ever present. Using data from the Spanish Flu and COVID 19 and averaging them over 100 years we predict that the global pandemic has increased the death rate per 100 thousand by about 14. It is also estimated that predictions for deaths caused by climate change mid way through this century could also reach 14 per 100 thousand, which would mean that in 30 years time climate change will be just as deadly as Covid 19. If we do nothing by the end of the century death rates are expected to go up by 75 people per 100 thousand. These are terrifying statistics but they are a hard truth we will have to swallow. Climate change is a real and deadly threat and we as people living in a developing country where we do not have access to some of the coping technologies like drought-resistant seeds will likely be the hardest hit. This should not, however, scare you but rather draw you to arms to start fighting. If you were told that someone would invent a disease in the next century that would destroy the planet and kill millions would you not do everything in your power to stop it?

And it’s not just scary stats anymore way off in the distance. We already are feeling the effects of climate change in the changing weather patterns. Hard-hitting droughts are regular, floods are more likely and other even more disastrous weather events are expected to follow. These events will halt our progress and set our infrastructure decades backwards if we do nothing to stop it. Millions of people will die if we do nothing to stop it and our planet will become a living hell if we do nothing to stop it.

So what can we do? We can as I have always said do small things to make meaningful changes. We can spread the word to our close family members and relatives. We can lower our carbon foot print (and our ZESA bill ) by lowering our power consumption. For those who can afford it invest in solar energy systems to provide us with clean energy. These are tiny things but they do amount to something tangible. I understand our already devastated economy has been crushed by Covid 19 but we can still make an effort .We can still try. We can still succeed!

 

by Mikhail Hawa

 

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