According to the daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, on August 11, 2021, Syracuse, a city on the southeast coast of the island of Sicily, recorded Europe’s hottest-ever temperature. The mercury rose to 48.8°C. In early July this year, temperatures hit 49.6°C on Canada’s Pacific coast, a region not previously known for its hot weather, and I am sure there are heaps of other examples of record-breaking temperatures being registered all over the world. “Fires Rage Around the World,” The Guardian wrote on August 9, and delved into the details of fire catastrophes in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Russia, the United States, and Canada. On August 12, a total of 69 fires were burning in the mountainous Kabylie region of Algeria. The fires were some of the worst in the country’s history amid a heatwave that is sweeping across North Africa.
As if that were not enough, since July 12, 2021, several European countries have been affected by severe floods that have caused death and widespread damage. It started with the United Kingdom, then the floods affected river basins across Europe. Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy witnessed unprecedented floods, but Belgium and Germany suffered the most. “It’s one of the greatest natural disasters our country has ever known,” said the Belgian Minister of Home Affairs. A German senior official described the floods in his country as “devastating.” In Belgium and Germany, the floods are estimated to have cost up to €2.55 billion in insured losses alone.
In the wake of a report recently published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the report was nothing less than “a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable.” The report basically warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts, and flooding, in addition to the possibility of a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. Scientists say a catastrophe can be avoided, however, if the world acts fast. They add that there is hope that deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilize rising temperatures.
This is why we need a sustainable ecology. This is why we need to move to clean and renewable energy, convert waste to energy, consider the environment when we build, sustain our cities, and basically “go green,” meaning “to pursue knowledge and practices that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.” (https://www.thrall.org/special/goinggreen.html)
I would like to thank the Italian NGO VIS (Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation for their request to use this issue of This Week in Palestine as a platform to promote and shed light on the environmental component of sustainable development and sustainable ecology.
Long Live Palestine!
By Sani Meo