Climate Change/Biodistress: The Test Of Humanity

East Africa: "It's Because Of The Drought"

"Changing climate

East Africans are no strangers to drought conditions. Traditionally, the rains here have failed around once a decade, giving communities time to build up emergency stocks and to restore the condition of their livestock on the good years. But for the past decade, droughts have been coming more regularly.

The people here reckon the rains fail one year in every two now; consecutive failings, like this one, have the potential to totally destroy the herds upon which they rely.

With their prime assets gone, they lose both their source of food, and their sole source of income. Their nomadic lifestyle prevents them from growing crops; the animals they graze are their only means to survive. Now it appears that climate change is robbing them of that livelihood.

A study by the US Geological Survey, published earlier this year, linked the increased frequency of drought in East Africa with global warming, suggesting that there is more than bad luck behind the latest wave of hunger sweeping the region.

Faced with a changing climate increasing numbers of pastoralists are leaving the land, settling in permanent communities on the edge of towns like Wajir. A way of life that has persisted for thousands of years is slowly dying out.

Those who leave will find little in the way of work in the towns. That pastoralists are willing to opt for grinding urban poverty over the only work they have ever known is a testament to how bad the situation has become.

For those who remain, the next few months will be critical."

Horn of Africa in throse of worst drought in 60 years

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The persistent and severe drought in Somalia and Kenya has led to people walking for almost two weeks in search of food and water and a place to stay. Refugee camps are full and the situation is serious. Only now is the international community seeing the humanitarian disaster unfolding here due not only to the severe drought caused by successive yearly failures of the rains, but a war raging on that has used religious intolerance as an excuse for Al Shabaab to turn away their own people. It is unconscienable to do this, especially to children. My hope is that aid can reach them in time to save more lives as we are now seeing more graves being dug on the outskirts of the camps. As climate change and its effects worsen in these areas of the world, we as a species will have to reassess our priorities from placing religious intolerance and politics above humanity in order for us to survive.

I keep trying to have hope that the right thing will be done here and in all places where such harsh conditions exist. For this is a primer to a world of climate change/biodistress and it is one in which what we see now is exactly what has been predicted by climate scientists for years. Should these lands be rendered uninhabitable where would these millions of people go? How would they be provided for? We already know the answer to this and it is a totally inhumane, unconscienable and unacceptable answer.

In a world of biodistress there is no way we can continue to use the resources we are at the pace we are using them. We simply cannot replenish what we are taking in time enough to deal with the fallout. For example, what if this were the Southeast US and the same conditions existed for the same time period with such drought occuring every two years instead of just say every 10 and the land was declared uninhabitable? Where would all of those people go? This is the one facet of climate negotiations and summits that has always been left out. Planning for the millions of people who will have to leave their homes in search of food, water and shelter. This is now our reality. And it isn't just happening in Somalia.

Field News From Doctors without Borders

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