November 18, 2009

Climate change refugees: a growing sector

In the coastal village of Moti Danti, the Gujarat state government tried building a 10-foot wall to protect residents from the encroaching sea waters and intensified storm effects. However, a portion of the village remained engulfed by the sea, and hundreds of families have had to flee their homes. Further south along the state’s coastline, rising seas have also eroded the entire road for Kaladra village, forcing hundreds to rebuild further inland.

Meanwhile, up to 10,000 people in the Sundarbans region have been permanently displaced following cyclones, and other villages in Orissa state have completely disappeared due to coastal erosion.

In fact, with global temperatures continuing to increase, sea levels will continue to rise, unleashing extreme weather events and rendering a projected 125 million people in South Asia alone as environmental migrants by century’s end.

We pray for Heaven’s protection and for the climate refugees. Let us quickly take compassionate and sustainable actions to halt climate change for the welfare of brothers and sisters around the world.

Supreme Master Ching Hai, whose humanitarian endeavors include assistance to refugees, further addressed this tragic situation during an interview with Ireland’s East Coast Radio FM in November 2008.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: If we don’t have global warming, then no one would be a climate refugee I ask everyone to please imagine if that were yourself in the refugee’s situation, experiencing all these troubles – insecurities, hunger, lacking all comfort, humiliation, undignified situation, uncertain of the morrows of your future and the future of your helpless children.

Just imagine it. Then try to solve this tragedy by helping in whatever way we can. And above all, and most urgently of all, be veg, go green to save the planet, to prevent such trauma and to build a bright future for the world, for our co-citizens.

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