The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has released “Vital Climate Change Graphics for Latin America and the Caribbean,” to help identify effects and make suggestions for mitigation.
The report finds a dramatic increase in the number of people affected by disasters, up from 5 million during the 1970s to 40 million during the past decade, costing an estimated US$40 billion.
Executive director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center in Belize, Dr. Kenrick Leslie (PhD) spoke of the increased storm intensity in the region.
Dr. Kenrick Leslie - Executive Director, Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, Belize (M): What we have been seeing over the last few years is that the hurricanes are much stronger. In other words, instead of having the categories 1 and 2, we tend to have categories 3, 4, and 5. And they also develop much faster, which means you have less time to give warnings to the public.
VOICE: The report also forecasts that increasing sea surface temperatures by 2050 will bleach corals, leading to decreases in tourism.
Dr. Kenrick Leslie (M): Most of the islands in the Caribbean depend on tourism. So, if you have your coral reefs being damaged, the infrastructure where the hotels are damaged, it means you will have less work for people to do. And hence, it creates a labor problem for people to survive.
VOICE: Dr. Leslie discussed one important countermeasure to avoid climate change's devastating consequences.
Dr. Kenrick Leslie (M): As I said, if we eat less meat: So the governments can say, “What we will do is to find alternative food for the people.” But the people must also recognize that we have a role to play as individuals. So it is the government, people together that will help to make our atmosphere better secured for the future.
VOICE: Our appreciation, Dr. Leslie and United Nations Environment Program for helping governments and people across the globe understand not only the increasing effects of climate change on lives and livelihoods, but also their role as agents of change.
May such efforts as yours push us all to act evermore diligently to avert disasters and to protect lives, first and foremost by adopting a plant-based lifestyle. During a November 2009 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai expressed as on many previous occasions her concern for humans' safety amidst worsening conditions as she highlighted at the same time the best way to avoid them.