Water, water everywhere-A A +A
Saturday, August 31, 2013
WE live in a strange climate and we can’t stop talking about it. It’s sometimes referred to as “extreme weather.” There’s unforgiving drought, killer heat waves, heavy precipitation causing floods, landslides.
Gone are the days when we went poetic with the romantic subject of soft and gentle rains. The news these days are all about too much water out in the streets and inside the houses instigated by flooding, by bad weather, by a strange climate, and not a drop to drink.
News on flooding includes agitated dams, like the La Mesa Dam now called La Mesa Ecopark near Quezon city, Caloocan city and Rizal province.
As a newcomer in Manila in the ‘60s, I was guided by friends who used to drive me around the metropolis on my first weeks there.
When I was told about the La Mesa watershed, I was fascinated and terrified. What happens if the man-made part of it breaks, I wanted to ask, or if too much rain water spills over land down in what is now called Metro Manila? The 700-hectare La Mesa Dam is a water reservoir supplying water to Metro Manilans.
I was horrified imagining a flood from the dam, like in a terror film. But it never happened in those years, and the misuse of carbon as part of the causes of climate change was then hardly given any thought.
There were hardly streets flooding profusely. The only one I experienced was flood in Dapitan at the back of the University of Santo Tomas. During the rainy months, I would wait for a jeepney ride after classes, wading out into the street with water reaching my heels. Now the news says flooding in Manila is in more than a half of the metropolis.
The river systems, which are biggest in number in Asia, are drawn into a condition of disrupted water resources for humans pushed by the experience of climate change.
Last month, the Philippines had its share of the recent (until the next?) flooding pain.
Other people in the world are even hurt more. Russia evacuated the populations from three Far East regions to escape the recent rush of water. In Pakistan, the rivers have over-flowed, too.
China, of course, will always have flooding problems, as in the past. Its Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia, discharging water the biggest in volume in the world.
One of its deadliest floods killed over 3 million people in 1931 with the Yellow River spilling into cities and villages. In 1975, as the article puts it, “more than a year’s rain fell within 24 hours” in China.
But what is good news is that U.S. Pres. Barack Obama has given Congress an ultimatum to act on climate change. This may not work with Republicans but it would be worth trying. Craft a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at 17 percent, he says. He hopes this will be accomplished by 2020.
In the earth summit in Brazil in 2012, Obama, Germany’s Angela Merkel and UK’s David Cameron—the countries emitting more carbon affecting the climate—weren’t there.
The countries which are the biggest users of carbon could make a difference if they keep their word about reducing greenhouse emissions in refrigerants and airconditioners.
In his speech on climate change, Obama talked about true cooperation with the world, especially with China and India, in dealing with the rattled environment. This includes finding ways to protect people from the effect of heatwaves, flooding, landslides and other climate change catastrophes.
According to Obama’s challenge to Congress, the US will finally exert effort, with the rest of the world, to give back to nature what man has thoughtlessly taken away—steady seasons, the environment’s natural beauty, and clean water.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 01, 2013.