April 28, 2010

Climate change forces movement from the Brahmaputra River

In the Indian state of Assam alone, persistent flooding and droughts are driving more than 500,000 people to leave their homes near the river. Many are small-scale farmers whose families have lived there for generations.

However, especially in the last five years,the river’s unpredictable fluctuations have destroyed crops and thus, livelihoods.

Repeated flooding has also washed sand down the river, leaving large areas unfit for agriculture. In what is being called the second wave so far this year, Assam state has seen disastrous flooding as rivers branching off the Brahmaputra breached embankments, with more than 50,000 people rendered homeless as waters spilled into some 50 villages.

Farmers choosing to stay in the region are trying various approaches such as planting different varieties of rice, such as ones that can tolerate deep flooding next to species that can grow with less water.

We are glad to know of the people’s efforts to overcome the challenges of global warming, even as we are saddened by the suffering and migration that so many must endure. May all humans join in solidarity to protect our planet through life-sparing acts such as choosing plant-based fare.

During a November 2008 interview on Ireland’s East Coast Radio FM, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke of the plight of climate refugees as a consequence of global warming, while highlighting how such situations could be prevented.

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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