Climate change: It’s personal

KD Suarez

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Climate change: It’s personal
I do not want future generations to suffer the wrath of Mother Nature, especially since we can actually do something about it

Howling winds terrify me.

I trace my fear to the first time I experienced a super typhoon. It was Typhoon Rosing (international codename Angela), back in 1995: I was a 9-year-old kid, and I remembered the deep, horrific, monstrous growl of 215-kilometer-per-hour winds trying to rip off the roof of our house in Virac, Catanduanes. I still feel a sense of dread whenever I recall that long, cold, sleepless night when Rosing hit.

Fortunately, back then, super typhoons were somewhat a rarity, even for our hometown – right smack in the middle of the typhoon belt, where dozens of storms usually pass every year.

Well, that was then.

In recent years, just here in the Philippines, we’ve been experiencing stronger and fiercer typhoons. We don’t need to look far: just look at Yolanda (Haiyan). Or Pablo (Bopha).

Scientists don’t explicitly link these individual extreme weather events to climate change. The evidence, however, points to a strong connection between extreme weather events and a disrupted climate. And scientists are warning us: If we don’t do anything to limit our damage to our climate, millions of people will be at risk of more weather-related disasters.

In the 8 years that I’ve been working as a desk editor, it feels like it has become increasingly common for me to edit stories that show the horrors of these monstrous storms.

And when I do, it’s like 1995 all over again. I imagine countless kids, even adults, cowering in fear, as storms destroy everything around them.

I imagine these kids growing up to fear nature, because it has turned against them; stronger, angrier, more terrifying at every turn – all because of what we’re doing to our home.

We don’t want this to be the “new normal.”

I certainly don’t want this to be the new normal.

This is why climate is a personal issue for me, and I actually believe climate should be a personal issue for all of us. I do not want future generations to suffer the wrath of Mother Nature, especially since we can actually do something about it.
I fly to Paris wearing 3 hats: as a journalist covering the climate negotiations; as a trained environmental scientist; and as a human being who cares about our planet’s survival.

I hope to witness history being made, but not as another historic blunder, as it was in Copenhagen in 2009. I badly want to see the world come together again and clear the path for a better future for our species and the entire planet.

US President Barack Obama, in his speech during the COP21 opening event Monday, November 30, told his fellow leaders assembled at Le Bourget: “Our generation may not even live to see the full realization of what we do here. But the knowledge that the next generation will be better off for what we do here – can we imagine a more worthy reward than that?”

I hope these leaders heed that call, and that someday, children in our hometown and elsewhere around the world would grow up not traumatized by howling winds, and Mother Nature. –

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