December 13, 2009

Climate change’s most vulnerable nations call for urgent action

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced that climate change is already forcing large-scale human movement, mostly to other regions within the same country or to neighboring countries.

For instance, migrations due to drought have become common in places such as Ethiopia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and even Syria. The IOM predicts that at least one billion people will be forced from their homes due to global warming by 2050.

At the Cop15, the United Nations’ Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, negotiators for the small island nation of Tuvalu warned that the current emission reduction goal of stabilizing CO2 at 450 parts per billion is too high to assure the survival of island nations, which in some cases have become uninhabitable and in others are experiencing the adverse effects of rising sea levels. Representatives from other island states also presented their call for urgent mitigation as well as adaptation assistance.

Jacky Bryant – Secretary-General, Ecology Party of Tahiti (M): All water and the land, the taste is very salty, trees dead. All people must migrate to find a new island. We need to say to all the world it is a very very big problem.

VOICE: Without effective action, all countries will sooner or later be impacted by the ravages of global warming. According to the American Medical Association, more than half the US population alone will be at risk of increased hospitalizations for climate change-induced diseases such as pneumonia, asthma and other lung diseases, with potentially worsening health of people already weakened by illness.

International Organization for Migration, island nation leaders and American Medical Association, we are grateful for your concerned voice and endeavors to protect fellow citizens. Our prayers that all climate change negotiators and leaders choose wisely for the sake of ourselves and future generations on Earth. Supreme Master Ching Hai has frequently spoken with concern about the need for leadership to focus on saving human lives made fragile due to global warming, as in a videoconference with our Association’s New Zealand Center in August 2008.

Q (f): What encouragement can we give [government leaders] to stand up and spread the message to the people to be vegetarian?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I think they will have to, in time. And I hope they do it soon, so that we still have a chance to save millions, billions of people or the whole planet. What is the use of having economy or political power when everybody is dead? Even if the leaderis still alive, whom would he or she rule if there’s no citizen left? I am worried about your country; it’s a small island surrounded by water.

And if the water level rise then… I don’t want to talk about it. But I’m sure your leader will realize it sooner or later, that survival is number one. Political position, economic power is number ten, very low, low, low, low down there. First we have to survive.

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