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FLOODS AND FAMINE – The future is here – 1

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By Dele Sobowale

This week, we focus on two matters which are both urgent: food and shelter. Read on.

“400,000 farms; 36,000 houses in Jigawa….in Kaduna..heavy rainfall swept away more than 300 homes..”. PUNCH, September 18, 2012.

For more than 20 years, climatologists and futurologists have warned, an obviously deaf, world, especially the leaders of the advanced economies –USA, China, Japan, all of Europe – that a major climate change was inevitable and the conse ences will be catastrophic for the entire planet.

They were ignored. Major international summits aimed at finding solutions to the problems already being created by climate change, were often poorly attended, or when present, the powerful economies routinely watered down the resolutions, which necessitated revolutionary changes in their life styles. US governments from Ronald Reagan’s to George Bush, Snr and Jr,
administrations, were not only hostile to any suggestions which would alter American patterns of living considerably, they vehemently opposed their implementation. Suggestions meant to reduce high carbon dioxide emission, which is a direct result of the continuous use of fossil fuel (oil and gas), were ruled out. Even, President Bill Clinton made only the minimum effort to reduce global carbon dioxide – even though the US with less than three percent of the world’s population accounts for about twenty five percent of global carbon dioxide; China is second.

Africa, as whole, emits less carbon dioxide than the US alone. But, poor and developing countries will suffer all the same because nature is not a court of law which dispenses justice as we know it. In other words, life as we know it, is being threatened because the world’s most powerful nation, America, is prepared to hold the rest of us to ransom until it is ready to change – which might be too late for the majority. At any rate, they have already advanced plans to colonise the moon and, now, Mars.

Rising levels of water resulting in flooding in areas previously not flood-prone, and drought in areas formerly experiencing good levels of rainfall, as well as destructive typhoon, hurricanes, cyclones and tornados, were among the predictions of scientists and futurologists. Today, even George Bush, Snr and Jnr, must admit they were wrong and by delaying the implementation of the protocols aimed at averting disasters related to climate change, they have imperiled mankind in general and Americans in particular. Every single one of the southern coastal states, as well as some inland states (e.g Texas) of America have been buffeted by tidal waves and record rainfalls, resulting in heavy losses of lives and properties and flooding. Simultaneously, the heat wave sweeping through the Middle Belt states of the US, this year, is unprecedented in the nation’s history in two hundred years. And, it might not be limited to this year alone. Crops are either being washed away or they are shriveling on the farm. No soothsayer is needed to predict the worst harvest in centuries in God’s Own Country.

Nigeria’s story, this year, is easily told. On September 14, several newspapers reported floods in Enugu, Anambra, Taraba and Kogi.  On September 17, it was Cameroon dam water destroying 49 communities in Cross River destroying farms and homes. The same dam from our neighbor had inundated thousands of farms in Adamawa State and sent unknown numbers of people into early graves. Ogun, Oyo, Kano as well as twenty other states add to the list. Even the village idiot knows that when farmers and farms are swept away severe food scarcity looms; malnutrition (in a nation whose people are generally malnourished) is a certainty. The uestion is “what are governments doing about the inevitable emergency?”…..

“It ain’t the things you don’t know that cause all the problems; it’s the things you think you know that just ain’t so”. Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 117).
Take it from me, this is not a joke. Your building, irrespective of whether it is your house or office building, or shed, or place of worship runs the risk of collapsing; bringing a lot of grief, if not death, on your head. That is a warning which should not be dismissed with a derisive wave of the hand because you might regret heeding this message only, in the “other” world –heaven or hell.

My good friend, Dr Ezenwa Chizea, relentlessly pressed a book on me  for years, which was not accepted because the topic was depressing enough. It is titled WHY BUILDINGS COLLAPSE. Even without reading the book, it was clear that it would make every reader who owns a building, or more, very uneasy. But two months ago, Dr Chizea finally persuaded me, as a matter of public interest, and on account of the increasingly alarming rate of buildings collapsing, to assist in spreading the message. That meant reading the book in order to understand its basic message to the people and governments of Nigeria. Let me confess right at this point, that some parts of the book were incomprehensible to me because they were too technical. But overall, the message was as clear as truly pure water. Personally, I wish the book was available to me when my house was being built.

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