Weather we like it or not
The trinidad Guardian / The Book of Exodus tells the story of the liberation of the Hebrew people and their flight from Egypt.

According to the text, following Pharaoh's refusal to release them from bondage, God smites the kingdom with ten plagues.

While the last is the most terrible of them all, most of the other nine are a series of environment-related events that brought suffering to the Egyptians.

The Almighty gained a vengeful reputation after that, and there have always been those who believe that natural disasters are a manifestation of His wrath upon humanity.

Now, while man is to blame for these destructive occurrences, it has nothing to with the Creator's displeasure.

Science instead points to modern civilisation's impact on the environment, i.e. our irresponsible dominion over the Earth. Worse yet, if we fail to make changes towards conservation, the extreme weather patterns the world is experiencing will only continue to get worse.

The recent super storms that devastated this hemisphere has thrust the subject of climate change into the spotlight. It even hit close to home in the last few months as we find ourselves in the midst of an exceedingly "wet" rainy season.

But "climate change" is still a relatively new concept and only entered the pop culture lexicon following the release of the 2006 documentary titled "An Inconvenient Truth".

That being said, it's a term that is often heard and yet not fully understood by the public.

As a general definition, climate change refers to the measurable variations in global or regional weather cycles. In a more contemporary context, it involves the analysis of the rise in mean temperatures during the mid-to-late twentieth century and its effects on the environment.

The scientific community has already produced numerous studies that strongly suggest a connection between this rise and the increased level of atmospheric carbon dioxide that's produced by the use of fossil fuels.

The result is the unusual weather that's been taking place: hotter summers, colder and longer winters, melting glaciers and rising ocean levels, and the list goes on.

Despite the deluge of scientific evidence, the theory of climate change continues to have its detractors who believe it's nothing more than alarmist rhetoric. But even if the climate is changing-so what? Those same climatology studies show that it's always been that way, meaning mankind will continue to adapt as it always has.

In response to the sceptics, renowned American astrophysicist, Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson, asserted that they need to recognise that some of those very adaptations are actually unnatural. For example-the changes to both the migratory patterns of animals and the diminishing cultivation potential of traditional farming lands.

Such a realistic attitude may hold the key to appreciating the importance of this phenomenon.

This is especially so for Trinbagonians, whose lack of environmental consciousness, coupled with the flippant mentality that "God is a Trini", tends to blind us from facing reality.

Compared to most of the Caribbean archipelago, our location puts us just outside of the hurricane belt. However, while that "blessing" does spare us from the worst of it-we still manage to get a lot of rain.

And as anyone can attest to these days, it doesn't take a lot of rain to cause a lot of flooding.

The irony here is that while storms are natural events, floods are usually man-made disasters that result from people and their planning getting in the way of proper drainage. Unfortunately, here in T&T, we're guilty of doing both and are thus suffering the consequences.

So let's continue to carelessly dump refuse and build indiscriminately. Whether or not we believe in climate change, our ignorance when it comes to protecting and conserving the environment will eventually be exceeded by the rising flood waters. Infrastructural development at the expense of destroying nature is self-defeating. Because when it comes to what we have in store for our planet, just remember-men may plan, but God always laughs.

Ryan Hadeed

Weather we like it or not

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