So, do we just give up?

We envision the world to be a great place in 2020, but we enter the year with various devastating news of natural disasters

pic by AFP

“I KNOW a lost cause when I see it. That’s the reason I don’t recycle,” said Barney Stinson, a character in the American sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” in the fifth episode of Season 4.

Right on cue, the live audience laughed but I, on the other side of the screen, did not find it funny at all. Especially now, when the Earth is deteriorating and climate change is spiking, no thanks to us humans.

We envisioned the world to be a great place in 2020, but instead, we entered the year with devastating news of natural disasters around the world.

In Jakarta, floods and landslides have killed 67 people, while tens of thousands were displaced from their homes. Over 200 of those badly affected have submitted a class action against Governor Anies Baswedan for losses of up to 42.3 billion rupiah (RM12.6 million).

The victims said the situation could have been handled better by the government and claimed that Anies was incapable of providing an early warning system for potential floods.

Meanwhile, Australia has always experienced a “fire season”, but the one which began in September 2019 and is still burning is said to be the worst in the country’s history, fuelled by rising levels of CO2 which is warming the entire planet.

To put into perspective, the size of the fires is from Pahang all the way to the south, crossing Singapore to Tanjung Pinang in Riau, Indonesia.

Australia’s wildlife, particularly koalas and kangaroos, are nearing extinction, and some activists have said humans should be next in line, considering our contribution to global warming and killing of innocent animals.

As of Jan 12, the death toll stood at 28 nationwide, while thousands were made homeless.

Worryingly, experts are echoing the fictional Stinson’s sentiments.

“Get used to it,” they tell Australians as they concluded that dangerously high temperatures, low humidity, minimal preceding rainfall and strong winds are becoming more frequent in Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s administration has been accused of not doing enough to address the intensifying climate change.

On Sunday, the Philippines’ Taal Volcano began erupting, spewing thick ashes and threatening volcanic tsunamis, mudflows and superheated flows of gas and debris. Experts are looking at whether the ground is expanding, which would indicate that magma, gases or fluids are surfacing.

Pictures from Australia show koalas and kangaroos fleeing the bushfires and in the Philippines, images of pigs, horses, cows and birds covered in thick ash.

In recent days, at least 130 people were reportedly killed, while many are stranded or missing in avalanches, floods and harsh winter in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The avalanches were caused by heavy rain which led to landslides, while forecasts are suggesting that more harsh weather is on the way.

While these are forces of nature, an analysis in 2017 revealed that scientists opined that 100% of climate change is due to human emissions and activities, putting too much carbon in the atmosphere by burning coal, oil and gas and cutting down forests.

These findings are not new as it has been observed since 1950, but we have been ignoring it. Today, many are not only still ignoring it, but living in denial too, gunning their worthless arguments at scientists and climate activists.

Among famous deniers, who are also delaying policy actions, include US President Donald Trump, British Conservative politician Nigel Lawson, Australian geologist Ian Plimer and British journalist James Delignpole.

On Jan 14, the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) urged Asean governments to urgently step up climate action ahead of the looming Paris Agreement deadline, which is next month.

“The situation is dire. Instead of reaching the goal of keeping the global temperature to ‘well below 2°C’, the world’s climate action plans are on track for a 3.2°C increase in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels by 2100. This is a catastrophic scenario and Asean member states are part of the culprits,” APHR said in a statement.

We may dismiss scientists or even call them crazy, but those who read the Quran will have come across verses 10 and 11 of Surah Ad-Dukhan that read: “Then watch for the Day when the sky will bring us visible smoke. Covering the people; this is a painful torment.”

Humans have been warned centuries ago. So, do we just give up and get used to living in ashes? Or do we do something for the sake of our children, if not for ourselves? The choice is ours; how we prepare for climate change and address it are entirely up to us.


Farezza Hanum Rashid is the assistant news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.