Thursday, 26 March 2009
I am to academia what an oxyacetylene welder is to a repairer of Swiss watches.
So I read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent talk about the environment with delight because it was so easy to understand that I did not need a theological dictionary as I read it.
One phrase leapt out of the page for me “The ultimate tragedy is that a material world capable of being a manifestation in human hands of divine love is left to itself, as humanity is gradually choked, drowned or starved by its own stupidity”.
The human race has the amazing talent of burying its collective head in the sand and the environmental catastrophe we face is like the banking crisis, only worse. By 2030world population is expected to hit 8.3 billion, causing a 50 percent increase in the global demand for food and energy and a 30 percent increase in the demand for fresh drinking water—a resource that is already in short supply for about a third of the world’s people.
This though is thought of by many as a problem for the distant future, to be ignored along with future long periods of drought, short periods of flooding, ever higher summer temperatures as the years pass and all accompanied by food scarcity with crop failures and cattle unable to cope. Actually, if you are in Australia, especially Sidney, reading these words they more than just ring a bell, they are daily facts.
Scientist Martin Cope of the state-funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization said that rising summer temperatures due to global warming, drier weather and smog from transport and bushfires will make Australia's lifestyle capital a health hazard.
Most at risk will be the increasing number of elderly from heat stress and anyone with asthma or heart complaints, he said. By 2060 is was expected that "We are looking at a 20 percent increase in the number of days above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) ... You can be looking at a 100 percent increase of the small number of extreme temperature days," he said, referring to temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius.
Australian computer modeling predictions suggest that if global emissions continue unabated, then rainfall will decrease in the southern states and increasing further north. As if to demonstrate that, Queensland, in the North, is currently experiencing widespread flooding after rainfall of historic proportions while in the Southern Australia is in the grip of the worst drought in a century, which has stretched for more than seven years in some areas and has forced restrictions on water use in the country's big cities.
A government-commissioned report on climate change last year warned that exceptionally hot years, which used to occur once every 22 years, would occur in years to come every one or two years, making drought a permanent part of the Australian environment. The present drought has hit farmers so badly that one commits suicide every four days.
Water is actually more valuable than oil, ask a farmer in any of the drought stricken areas of the world and not just Australia and Africa, but in California and the surrounding states, parts of Spain, China, Malta, The Amazon in Brazil, Mexico, The Middle East, and the list goes on. Australia and the others are in crisis now, who is to be next?
The Archbishop of Canterbury Said in his talk, “We need ways of redefining business excellence in terms of sustainability and deliberate encouragement of low-carbon technologies”. Quite right ABC and we need them now, because if the well runs dry then even the woman at the well in John 4 won’t be able to help. In the fight against Climate Chaos we are our brothers and sisters keeper.
And the picture? That’s Australia.
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 10:34