CLIMATE change is already undermining the livelihoods and security of many people, exacerbating income differentials and deepening inequalities. Over the last two decades the number of recorded natural disasters has doubled from some 200 to over 400 per year and nine out of every ten natural disasters today are climate-related, according to the United Nations.

While climate change has been the subject of intense debate and speculation within the circle of environmentalists and scientific community, it could be noted that insufficient attention has been given to the humanitarian consequences it will generate.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

But just as the causes of climate change are being analyzed and its consequences projected, it is equally vital to anticipate foreseeable movement scenarios and strengthen the responses to the humanitarian consequences.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has forecasted that climate change could have a devastating impact on the country, leading to widespread destruction of the country's flora and fauna and flooding the capital Manila. The continued melting of Arctic ice caps, brought on by climate change, could cause sea levels to rise by seven meters (23 feet), it said.

As temperatures rise and land becomes less productive, the process of urbanization will accelerate, generating additional competition for scarce resources and public services. This will impact much on the Philippines with a very weak governance system that could help mitigate the impact of climate change.

The incidence of vector-borne diseases will also increase as a result of climate change, as will the cost of food and energy. Increased social tension and political conflict is thus likely, though it may remain difficult to trace the origins of such tensions to climate change.

What does this tell us? Mother nature does not use language. It is up for us to be aware of the signs and the changes in the environment which informs us that nature is sick and the survival of the human species is seriously threatened.

It will not talk, but rather give us consequences. The greatest defense against climate change is the recognition that we are one with the earth and thus, our decisions would impact on the environment in which we live.

The challenge lies in our culture and modern way of life, which has become consumption based and self destructive. Elders of indigenous peoples have long argued that the root cause is that humanity is in conflict with itself. The only way forward is to go back to basics. Email comments to roledan@gmail.com