Butterfly wings and Louisiana

Fig 1: Global map
NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies shows anomalies in current temperature data from our historical data, and if you are feeling hot under your collar, it is truly the hottest July in history. We have also just gone through the hottest months of Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun for any living human being. 2016 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, since we started recording world temperatures. So I did a little more research and discovered that as a corollary to rise in our temperatures, many other effects take place. One of them states that for a one degree rise in atmospheric temperature, our skies are able to retain 7% more moisture.
Since atmospheric temperature does not vary much over decades, we have had steady seasonal patterns. Now I would say that all bets are off, as increase of 1 to 2 degrees would make a quantum jump, in the power of future storms, that deviate from normal rain patterns. We are about to learn the true meaning of the term “when it rains, it pours,” as witnessed in almost a half meter of rain; in Louisiana recently over a week, which is more than the annual rain of most of tropical India. Flood prone areas are likely to get more floods as a result. Mass destruction and storm surges will happen, as water can be very destructive, just like any of nature’s great forces, when unleashed on an unprecedented scale.
The effect of the polar ice melting, compounded by the lack of huge mass of snow cover means less reflection of the sun’s rays back into space, causing even more warming in a vicious cycle. The addition of huge amounts of fresh water will dilute the salty oceans leading to unintended consequences. Majority of our earth is the oceans, and when unchecked the rise in water temperatures or fall in them, will have dramatic consequences to our weather systems. The rise in oceans will cause the drowning of many low lying nations amongst other things.
The many raging forest fires will get worse as weather patterns change, and huge forest swaths become dry tinder, ready to burn at the first lightning strike. We are seeing the burning fires in California and will see these in other areas, if weather pattern become erratic due to the rise in world temperatures. Also as waterways dry up due to lower snowfall and rain, agriculture and human survival will become increasingly at stake. We need nature to grow our food and sustain us in its natural cycles, and if we disrupt them our food supplies will dwindle, and the differences between the have and have nots will become stark. The rich will need giant tankers to ferry their drinking water, much like they ferry oil today, as fresh water sources dry up, in the megacities of the future.
So next time when you are out with your loved one, be careful and do not call her or him hot, as he may be sweating from this heat already, and not be in an amorous mood. My advise is to be and act cool instead.Will we be confined to artificial domes of air conditioned metros, and the world as we know it, become a dream? Double and triple rainbows will start to appear on our rainy horizon, and the rivers and streams will become torrents of flows in some areas, and dry up in others. The flora and fauna will change, as evolution will kick in, and the plants and creatures we have today, may not be there tomorrow. Everything changes over time and we will have to change with the times.
My first recommendation is that we get rid of the politicians and leaders, who do not see the change coming, and are not ready to take action. The second recommendation is that we research and study the facts, and not dance around them hoping that they will go away naturally. Our oversized carbon diet, has caused our earth to change, and greening gasses like methane and carbon dioxide levels have risen, and we can use scientific methods to reduce them. Industrial, transportation, lifestyle changes will have to be enforced, not to harm, but to protect ourselves. Just like we moved from wood burning to coal, and then to oil, we now need to move to solar, wind, tidal, biomass, nuclear or any other new renewable sources of energy.
The entrenched interest need to be broken and new interests created. Ingenuity and newer methods of production and consumption are called for, and the sooner we start on this new road, the better off we will be. It has taken us centuries of modernization, to reach the state we are at today. We need to spend the next few centuries correcting our past mistakes, and moving towards a brighter future. I am not angry, and do not blame anybody, that we have come to this sorry pass, as we have done what we needed to survive, and prosper as a species. I am just sad at the state of things, and feel helpless that the problems is far more complex, than our current understanding of our earth and how it functions. It is with profound uneasiness that I write this, as there are no easy solutions, or glib sentences I can write to gloss things over.
We are at an impasse in human survival and the actions we take today, will define our future generations. We have an accord to reduce the rise in temperatures to less than 2 degrees, and now only our will to act is lacking. First we have to look into ourselves and understand and accept the reality, and only then can we act on it. To our earth mother I can only say, you are a hot one now, but I will find a way to help cool you down. Do not unfriend me now, as we will make all out efforts to sustain a long relationship between us yet. What I give to you, I know you return to me many times over, I sow a seed and you grow a tree, I have a child and you make it a human adult. We are one mother, and there is nothing more I can say, as you are my cocoon and I am your caterpillar. My children and grandchildren’s life is at stake, and I have become deathly serious in my old age; as I hope to laugh and play with them, for many more years!.

Independence (Refugee) Day


Beware the Ides of August I say to you, just like the soothsayer cried to Caesar, and I shudder at the bad omens that arise in my brain, at this time of the year. It bring memories of the partition of a homeland, on religious lines, in what was called the Independence for Pakistan and India. 10 million refugees migrated between secular India and Muslim Pakistan in the partition, and what is worse, a million died during the largest migration recorded in modern times. They were burnt, looted or killed at home or in the course of their forced migration. It is recorded that four and a half million Hindus and Sikhs left their homes in Pakistan and six million Muslims left their homes in India, and were forced to move, and actual displacement was still higher. Nehru and Jinnah carved out their homelands at a great cost, to the ordinary citizens of their country. What are nine members of my family, amongst such vast numbers, I often wonder. In the face of such huge carnage, rape, looting, pillage and crimes against humanity, what is this little guilt I carry, that somehow I am not equal and have been left incomplete? My life is stable and yet the trauma of separation of my people, from their ancestral homes lives on, even though I was born after the fact.

It is in our psyche learnt from the tear in a mother’s eyes at a memory, or the words of a father who never complained, yet was always incomplete somehow, no matter how successful he became. Who will complete my story, when I myself have been left incomplete as in this chasm of human suffering, I seek solace from a land, which is no longer mine? I have moved on in this world, but my DNA remembers a land of five rivers, where the wheat grew tall, and the city life was elegant, and we had a culture of enlightenment. That time has passed into history, and now the day has come to move on, but yet the heart still mourns those values that died in that partition. We are all refugees now in this world, and yet the story must not be told, as it may hurt someone’s feeling. Turn our heads and do not see, as what is another orphan in the chaos of our life, as humanity is lessened every day. I hope to see a time in the future when all of this will matter, and we will be aware of the tragedy, and rise to find our lost humanity, and finally be at peace.

Today new refugees are being created as homelands are being destroyed all over the world, and people turn their eyes from these strangers. Humanity dies a little more every day, as orphans and widows, fill refugee camps, and men raise war cries and mayhem. Sunni fights Shia and the Jews and Christians rise to protect their own, Hindus rise to Hindutva and Buddhists seek vengeance upon non-believers, and no place is safe. Mothers fear when their sons and daughters step out of the home, and fathers are silent in mourning, as their children die an untimely death. I am lost in this vengeance, as who could be right, when everyone is wrong? I meditate on sending waves of compassion out to all, but who is feeling the love? I pray for the best in humanity, and fear the worst. My vessel has been emptied of love, and there is no one who will part with even a drop of kindness, as I am only a refugee in this world. Woe be on this humanity as incomplete strangers roam the earth now, and whoever claims to be true in thought, is false in action.
‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.’ -Wole Soyinka, playwright, poet, Nobel laureate (b. 13 Jul 1934)

Comparison between the number of refugees and IDPs (Internally displaced people) who are supported by the UNHCR between 2014 and 1998.[71]
End-year 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014
Refugees 11,480,900 12,129,600 10,594,100 9,574,800 9,877,700 10,489,800 10,549,700 10,498,000 14,385,300
IDPs 5,063,900 5,998,500 4,646,600 5,426,500 12,794,300 14,442,200 14,697,900 17,670,400 32,274,600