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The Human Race: A race we have to win

The Human Race: A race we have to win

How do we quarantine when our house is on fire? How do we isolate from the impacts of climate change when flood has taken over our houses? Or drought has taken over our farmlands? We can no longer predict the rainfall pattern and it is becoming difficult to know which country is the next to be impacted by the climate crisis. Permafrost already melting, the iceberg is on a free fall, losing its gravity every day. Likewise the glacier is melting away. This is not normal. The disaster therein is that, climate change is the only pandemic that has no vaccine. There is nothing we can use to mask ourselves from climate change neither can we isolate nor quarantine from its impact. The climate crises knows no boundaries – nowhere is safe until everywhere is safe. Also, climate change has defied all rules to keep us safe from a pandemic. In such scenario, no one will be left behind; whether white or black, developed or under-developed countries.

The outbreak of coronavirus overwhelmed institutions; led to death troll, lost of livelihood and increase in vulnerability to food insecurity and poverty. It has given us another chance to recover “greener” so we can bit any crisis. There are more of this severe weather we will keep seeing due to lack of preparedness, resilience and our inability to recover greener. This is the time to invest on environmental surveillance because climate change is now a; social, economic, cultural and educational issue; which are all affecting sustainable development. We can no longer sugar coat the climate crisis. If we keep playing politics on climate change it might consume everyone. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that the greatest single impact of climate change might be on human migration which could be the next phase of the impact of climate change. We will see increase in child bride: children out of school from the increase in internally displaced persons. And also, the displacement of school children from schools due to extreme weather events and processes. Climate change will be the biggest disruptions to our human rights. Part of environmental surveillance is to shun all investment on coal and other fossil fuels. There are no profits when we can’t live in a habitable planet or when we spend the profit to deal with the loss and damage of the consequences of the “profits”. Consequently death accrued to climate change has increased greatly more than any other crises.

In a continent like Africa where 60 to 80% of our livelihoods are climate sensitive, it makes us more vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The climate crisis has been our reality. More droughts mean more hunger and poverty. Furthermore, heatwave means increase in mortality rate; floods mean more displacement. All of these affect lives and property. Dealing with all of these climate change reality alone consumes time, but climate action save time and lives. Sometimes I wondered how long it will take for us to persuade world leaders to act on climate change. Isn’t climate change a reality enough? How many lives need to be lost before we act? This has been what scientist has been warning us for decades ago, now we are saying the climate science has failed rather it is the people that are not listening to science that have led us to this path. This unprecedented time calls us all to be united behind the science. Now we keep demanding for green recovery yet we are seeing more investment in fossil fuel. This is not the “new normal” we asked for. Climate change will come for everyone.

Currently, the monsoon patterns are changing due to global warming. With a side effect of heavy down pour while dry regions are faced with extreme droughts, same as permafrost. What the world is currently witnessing is one of the several waves of climate emergency. The next wave might be deadlier than this. This is why we need to act now and act fast. The waves of climate change are unequal. The World Food Programme has stated that, Madagascar is the only country in the world where climate change but not armed conflict is leading to food insecurity while in regions like that of Sub-Sahara Africa, climate change is leading to armed conflict. This is why we keep advocating for the restoration of Lake Chad that has shrunk by 90 because if it finally dries out, it means total disaster. These are signs that we need to act now. For every ton of ice that melt increases 0.5 degrees of warming to global temperature. So if we don’t act now, we wait for 2050 or 2030 some changes might become irreversible. So the cause of action now is far greater or positively impact than the cost of us waiting for 2050 to act.

Oladosu Adenike (Email) is an eco-reporter, climate justice advocate, ecofeminist and an advocate for the restoration of Lake Chad.

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