Not everything is climate change’s fault!

When the human body is exposed to certain excesses, such as food-related issues, drugs, emotional stress and even extreme physical effort, it may respond through a number of changes that, sooner or later, will lead to disease. We will never know exactly when these conditions appeared for the first time and to what extent, or when and if we will end up losing our lives because of them. What we know is that if we continue living our lives that way, it will result in something negative.

But, even if we are aware about the potential effects in our bodies —some of them are irreversible— we continue exposing ourselves to these extremes, even after listening to the opinion of health professionals, in hopes that nothing will happen to us.

Something similar is happening to Earth: a number of human activities that have caused deforestation, air and water pollution, and other damage, are gradually getting our planet sick. And people talk about a type of climate change that is causing some negative impacts. During the last few years, we have heard about some of the effects attributable to climate change, such as sea level rise and the disappearance of coastal areas, more intense heat waves and drought, extreme rainfall and floods, the reduction of arable land, insect migration and the incidence of viruses in areas where they did not survive before, more severe atmospheric events, decreases in glaciers, more pollution, and conflict between human groups because of water-related issues.

But is it really climate change what we are experiencing? Although we may not be able to clearly determine this yet, we know that something is happening to the planet, and something more serious might arise in the next few decades. However, we still hope that nothing will happen, so we continue deforesting, burning down forests, killing protected animal species, littering, discharging toxic substances into rivers and oceans, polluting the air, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, in Veracruz, media outlets report more accurately and timely on the damage caused by weather-related phenomena, and inform that rainfall is more intense than 30 or 50 years ago. However, when reviewing climate statistical data, we have been observing similar rainfall patterns for many years. What is true though is that heavy rainfall is now causing more severe damage. This is why we should ask ourselves, what is happening? Is it because the population has increased, because we obstruct river flows, or because we build our houses along riverbanks or in unsafe areas that could flood after a mild rain event?

Or is it because our houses are built on steep slopes that after continuous rainfall cause landslides because there are no trees that help hold the soil together, or because there is a low level of development planning in urban centers?

It is worth asking ourselves, what is really happening? Is it indeed climate change? If that is not the case, what will we face when climate change actually arises?

As a whole, society should stop for a moment to think about all actions that we are taking against Earth and ourselves. As the popular adage says, “God can always forgive, man sometimes forgives, but nature never does.” What we are witnessing now could be nothing compared to what could happen to us when the full effects of climate change arise.

Governments should take the lead in taking actions to mitigate and/or stop climate change. However, we, as a united society, also have an unavoidable duty: respect for nature.

For further information, please contact:
José Llanos Arias
Organismo de Cuenca Golfo Centro
Dirección Técnica