Fire, rain, snow and more

At this writing, San Francisco was welcoming us with sunshine although we were told that rain had gripped the city. Sadly, weather reports were indicating that the United States was bracing for yet another snowstorm.

From the north, to affect states from California to New York with an estimated 16 million people exposed to its fury. This storm was looming after the winter bomb that had humbled the great New York and caused other northeast states to come to a halt, with temperatures plunging to as low as -30 degrees Centigrade.

It’s apocalyptic: the roaring fires that burned the enclave of the rich in Montecito, California; the deep freeze and the fires in Australia; the storms and floods in the Philippines and other parts of Asia; snow in desert lands…

And the ash fall and lava coming from Mayon volcano in Albay. What more do we need as Nature takes charge? After the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s COP23, it seems the state of the world will only worsen. What is there to discuss in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 23-26 for the Economic Summit?

Surely a new agenda of food security, a call for global attention to the oceans, forests and general state of the planet, as well as a new development model that puts the importance of climate change front and center. It must be formulated.

Already, records are being broken, yet 2018 has just begun. I can only imagine the climatic events in store for this year.

Then there was the false nuclear alert in Hawaii that pushed residents to panic. Imagine if nuclear attacks were made to avert the alleged threat. A nuclear holocaust in the making?

All this makes you wonder what the most powerful country on earth can do if it’s so ill-prepared for a false alarm. What more in the battle against the very real threat of climate change? Yes, we have many things to fear and much more to do to avert these disasters.

There is the Arab Spring in Iran and Tunisia, and a possible war in Jerusalem due to its being pronounced the capital of Israel despite its being the home of multiple faiths. What is worse is the state of the world’s values and the morals of people everywhere. Money and greed seem to rule, and a downturn system has produced even more poverty, homelessness and racism.

San Francisco, which I have grown to love, is so filled with destitute people, as if the plague had descended on this beautiful city of peace and love. I have never seen it this way.

Ironically, today (Jan. 16), Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated in the United States, remembering what he fought for and accomplished for civil rights and equality and the very sad fact that he was assassinated for speaking his heart and mind in the name of the greater good. It is time to ponder on one’s priorities in life as we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Perhaps we can win the fight against ourselves and beat climate change.

It’s time we understood that our ecology is deteriorating at a rate faster than ever before. Our planet, our only home, is in danger, yet the ones responsible for its destruction are the people who lack the proper use of their intentions and resources to do good. Noblesse oblige. It all begins with us.

ANTONIO M. CLAPAROLS, president, Ecological Society of the Philippines.

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