18 December, 2009

We are all Maldivians

"We are all Maldivians", so said the forty-two year old President of the Maldives: Mohammed Nashid. How right he is. Indeed we are all Maldivians; and we are all Bangladeshis. Maldives is sinking. If sea levels continue to rise, the Maldives will be no more; its survival is truly at stake. And so are the Islands of Tuvalu and the Solomon. Should Copenhagen fail, no country will be spared the repercussion of failure in Copenhagen.

Water. It is central to what climate change is doing. Sea levels are rising. Mountain glaciers, from the Kilimanjaro to the Alps, from the Andes to the Himalayas - are melting. Both Arctic and Antarctic, could all melt. Droughts, storms and flooding will wreak havoc in many places; they already are doing just that. Already we know of the many horrors due to storms, floods and droughts: the devastating floods and disappearing grazing lands in Bangladesh, India, Darfur and in many other parts of the world, have brought intense suffering and misery to millions. In the last few months, what droughts have done in parts of Africa, like Kenya - are so tragic that most of us don't want to watch it displayed on our TV screens.

Compared to what is to come due to climate change, this is just the beginning. It will get worst. What climate change deniers are after, I fail to understand. I don't have to be a scientist to see or know what is happening. Wherever I go, I notice the effects of change. Big change in temperatures and rainfall. Call it what you want, but change there is. With that change I see so much suffering: I see Masais full of pride, humbled and turned into beggars due to droughts. And due to droughts and floods, I see millions of people trekking and migrating into city slums like Kibera, Dharavi and the many slums in Dhaka.

As grazing land disappear and droughts and floods destroy crops, food prices will continue to rise fast. Leading to much more poverty; more people selling their children; and more crime. Don't the climate change deniers see these? Are world leaders aware of these? This is not for Maldivians only; not for Bangladeshis only; not for Kenyans only. Copenhagen has to succeed for US all. We are all in this together.

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