The casualties of climate change: thousands die each year from weather-related disasters linked to global warming (Video)

GHF’s report was released just before the UN hosts talks on climate change in Bonn, Germany and months before the leaders of the world meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, to create a new global climate treaty.

We normally think of how fossil fuel emissions affect our planet, our weather, and how this relates to our safety.  This report puts a microscope over the devastating human costs of climate change.  It says that an estimated 350 [image-1]million people are already impacted by climate change, an amount that could double by 2030 if nothing is done.  It’s expected that over half a million people will die each year from global warming related disasters by 2030.

With more intense hurricanes, rising sea levels, eroding shores, increased wildfires, floods, and unpredictable weather patterns, we could expect that Floridians are some of the folks most affected by climate change. As we enter this unpredictable hurricane season, there is much reason for concern and more than enough evidence to call us to action. However, this report shows that weather-related dangers threaten our neighbors in developing countries most severely. GHF also highlighted the disparate reality that these countries only contribute about 1% of the world’s total global warming emissions.

Last Wednesday, I went to WMNF’s well-attended screening of the documentary ‘Flow’, at the Tampa Pitcher Show.  The film (theatrical trailer below) focused on the business of water and how a few multinational corporations are dominating the world’s water market for profit, buying local water systems and making it unavailable or unaffordable to people in poverty. I speculate that the victims of drought and greed portrayed in ‘Flow’ are many of the same peoples that the GHF found were being devastated by the effects of global warming.

It's awful that those least responsible, the world’s poor, are suffering the brunt of our addiction to burning fossil fuels.  They also take on a greater proportion of economic loss that results from disasters caused by climate change.

So, is there hope?  Yes.  But change doesn’t happen on its own.

A water rights activist in ‘Flow’ repeated the famous Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt th[image-2]at a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Her sentiment—one of speaking truth to power—is as applicable there as with any of the major obstacles in our lifetime.  Global warming is one of our generation’s greatest challenges and we’ve got to act to make our country’s leaders act.

Right now, Congress is ignoring the science on global warming and is being swayed by major oil and coal lobbyists (these dinosaurs are putting forth their biggest push for survival yet).  What is it going to take for them to realize that burning coal and oil is not healthy for children, our planet, and other living things? Eventually, they’ll be forced to take climate change seriously, but how many lives will have needlessly suffered by then?  The GHF report tries to put a number on that and it reminds us that this struggle is global, shared between us and millions we will never know, rich and poor, in every hemisphere-- it is all of ours and we must fight together, to win it, to survive.

If you're interested in learning about 88.5FM WMNF's upcoming events, check out their website and to learn more about their ongoing film series in the Tampa Bay area, send an email to [email protected] and feel free to tell them I sent you.

Have you ever heard the Vietnam-era quote, “war is not healthy for children and other living things?” It is a staunchly obvious and painstakingly reasonable appeal that cuts to the ethical core and casualties of war.  I read an article this week that reminded me of it, but instead of war, the murderous culprit in this story is climate change.

A new report by the Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF) says that global warming already kills about 300,000 people a year.  If that projection is not startling enough— or if you have more of an economic mind, and are not much swayed by stacks of human figures—the report also says that climate change costs around $125 billion in economic losses annually.

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