Article for NATURE DOES NOT NEGOTIATE in Perreault Magazine
As Typhoon Hagupit hit the Philippines, one of the biggest peacetime evacuations in history had been launched to prevent a repeat of the massive loss of life which devastated communities when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the same area just over a year ago.
"One of the biggest evacuations in peacetime" strikes a sickening chord. Is this peacetime or are we at war with nature?
I was about to head to Lima, when I gota call to come to the Philippines to support our office and its work around Typhoon Hagupit (which means lash). In Lima another round of the UN climate talks were underway to negotiate a global treaty to prevent catastrophic climate change. A truce of sorts with nature. But these negotiations have been going on far too long, with insufficient urgency and too much behind the scenes, and not so much behind the scenes, interference from the fossil fuel lobby. This year, like last year and the year before these negotiations take place against a devastating backdrop of a so-called 'extreme weather event', something that climate scientists have been warning us about if we don't take urgent action. Tragically, we are not taking urgent action. Nature does not negotiate, it responds to our intransigence. For the people of the Philippines, and in many other parts of the world, climate change is already a catastrophe. Only one year ago, Super Typhoon Haiyan killed thousands, destroyed communities and caused billions of dollars in damage. Many survivors who are still displaced had to evacuate the tents they have been living in as Typhoon Hagupit carved a path across the country. In Manila, we prepared to travel to the impacted areas in the wake of Typhoon Hagupit, or Ruby, as it has been named. We offered what minor assistance we could. We will stand insolidarity with the Filipino people and we will call out those who are responsible for climate change, those who are responsible for the devastation and who should be helping pay for the cleanup and for adaptation to a world in which our weather is an increasing source of mass destruction.
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