As a young idealistic student at Saint Charles Secondary School in the 1970's, I always thought the end of the world as we know it, will come about at the hands of human beings waging catastrophic wars to annihilate each other and in the process ensue the complete destruction of planet earth.
The First and Second World Wars which killed millions and which saw the deployment of nuclear weapons against a frightened Japanese population and various other regional wars in between were windows into how destructive humans can be.
The wars invariably taught us all useful lessons about how easily a few mentally unstable men can manipulate the world and bring it close to a fiery end.
For centuries, various brands of religion continuously taught and preached that our creator, God, Allah, will destroy his own handiwork, perhaps more out of anger and a fierce desire to teach the sinful and incorrigible among us an important lesson.
I beg to differ. I think it is just incomprehensible that an all loving God, Allah, Jahweh, will be so depraved and mean as to ingloriously terminate creatures he put on planet earth. Instead, it is we humans with our complete disregard for the things God has bestowed on us who will bring about our own end.
All along, outside of devastating military wars that I ignorantly thought will destroy our earth, I couldn’t place a finger on anything else, or any other factor that could do us in, that is, until the world started talking about climate change.
In the 70s, climate change was not even in the public lexicon. Indeed, it was neither a household word nor a concept that many thought would seriously pose an existential threat to our home, planet earth. Until now.
At the pain of sounding repetitive and boring, let me say for the umpteenth time that climate change is real and is fast wreaking havoc on our planet.
And to highlight the threats, last week, the United States government came out with a terrifying report that said among other things that the “global average temperature is much higher and is rising rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced and that human beings are living with the warmest temperature in the modern world.”
As if that was not enough scare, the report added that health, heat, flooding and food production will be drastically impacted by climate change. The report concluded that there is no convincing alternative explanation for the changing climate other than human activities.
Though the report is United States specific, that is to say it is entirely about America, it can still be extrapolated to other regions of the world. The effects of climate change will be felt all over and not just in the United States where the report was generated.
For those of us who live in the poorest parts of the world, Africa, especially, it is important that we not view climate change with the skepticism shown by those in the West. They have the resources to fight climate change. We don’t.
All of which means that we must all, as inhabitants of this planet, in our own backyard, do our very best to contain or at best minimize the destruction that is eminent, if anything at all, for our children, grandchildren and those who will come after them. A healthy and vibrant earth will be a good inheritance we can leave behind.
Let me end today’s commentary with a quote from a Guardian newspaper writer: “Climate breakdown could be rapid and unpredictable. We can no longer tinker around the edges and hope minor changes will avert collapse.”