"We need to act courageously. We do not have time to wait. We are at the edge with climate change and the time to take action is now. We must care for nature so that nature may care for us." ~Pope Francis
It was the only story all week, about soaring temperatures here at home, heatwaves in the UK with temperatures reaching over 40C, more heatwaves all across Europe and how scientists point to the cause directly linked to climate change. Now that this weekend is cooler and wetter across Cork we will quickly move on and the significant hot weather becomes an old story.
But the reality is that this is not an old story. It is a story that is continuing and will not go away. Right now as you read this there are many parts of the world in trouble because of climate change. Oxfam chillingly reminds us that today a child dies every 48 seconds due to the impact of drought and climate change. Currently Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing extreme droughts because of a lack of rain. People experiencing hunger in these countries have risen from 10 million to more than 23 million. When you add in regional conflicts and soaring food prices because of the war in Ukraine you can see how serious the situation is.
It is well known that people in these countries have one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world and yet suffer the most because of the excess of others. For many people in poor countries it is simply a battle to survive. But the evidence brings it even closer to home as well. We heard during the week that 44% of the European Union faces a threat of drought going forward. We also heard how emissions in Ireland have increased by 6% in 2021 after a drop in 2020. This story is not going away.
We all must play a part and do something no matter how small. The Africans have a wise saying: "If you think you're too small to make a difference, try spending the night with a mosquito." If there is any lesson to learn from all the heatwave stories of the week just gone, the message is that we all must play our part to find a solution. Pope Francis puts it well: "We need to act courageously and we need to act now."
(Thought for the week will return on September 1st)