Thanks to Paul Schaafsma and his extensive on-line research. These are stories we should all absorb. Of course Africa has almost no responsibility for Climate Change so the suffering is entirely undeserved.
There is more information in this radio interview with Paul on May 7.
The rest of this page is essentially a blog by Paul.
Climate Shock: The Human Toll of the Climate Crisis
In Southern Africa, 5 years of severe drought have led to water supplies disappearing, massive levels of crop failure and 45 million human beings going hungry. Landslides and floods in East Africa impacted 3 million lives in just the last 3 months of 2019. The floods in turn helped spawn a plague of locusts, that are devouring what crops survived drought and flood, threatening the food supply of tens of millions. Back to back cyclones ravaged Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi last Spring, leaving 2.5 million in dire need of humanitarian relief in Mozambique alone.
The numbers are staggering, and yet they barely hint at the reality. We think of extreme weather disasters striking infrequently, followed by disaster relief, rebuilding, life returning to something like ‘normal.’
In Africa, the situation is very different.
“The climate crisis here is a permanent one, ripping away the coping mechanisms that people here have relied upon for generations to help see their communities and families through the lean times. This crisis is not an occasional headline – for the people of Southern Africa, it’s now a profound way of life.”Care International, February 2020
Most of Africa’s population gets its living from the land, in farming that is rainfall dependent. It is common now across Africa for record heat and drought to be followed by rainfall that comes all at once, bringing flash floods and landslides. There is no time to recover from one “climate shock” before another begins. Life is not just becoming harder, it’s becoming impossible.
The 54 countries of Africa together are responsible for just 5% of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. By contrast, the United States emits 19% and accounts for the largest share of the CO2 now in Earth’s atmosphere. Yet it is Africa where climate catastrophe is not a future threat but a daily fact of life.
Humanity’s Birthplace Is Also Humanity’s Future
Like the Arctic, Africa is warming at a much faster pace than the Earth as a whole. Southern Africa is “two degrees warmer already.” The result is a concentration of extreme weather disasters on the African continent that you almost have to see to believe. The BBC continues “So what you have here, essentially, is a glimpse into the future, and its not looking promising.”
Why Don’t Citizens of the Wealthy Countries Know?
This is my good friend Mulindwa Moses, a Ugandan climate activist who educates school children on ecological crisis and the need to move rapidly toward a sustainable future. In a Guardian article this year, Mulindwa said:
“Being a climate activist in Uganda is very hard,” Mulindwa says. “You cannot hold a strike with large numbers to create awareness because the government [does not] allow it, and I have lost friends, who say they can no longer associate with me because I stand on the side of roads holding signs and spend most of my time planting trees.”