The warmest month

Who cares about climate change if it brings us this kind of sunny weather? Earth just had its warmest May on record, and keeping record is something we started doing about 300 years ago. Nobody in Europe seems to be too concerned, not even here in the Netherlands, even though most of the country is below sea level. Yesterday, I saw bulldozers on the beach, trying to repair the dunes whose task it is to keep the water out of the country. The flood barriers have already been closed at high water levels, so they still function as well. And we have long forgotten the shocking animations which showed entire countries flooding in Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Weather reports are more and more resembling crystal ball readings and we’re starting to get used to the tropical downpours replacing our traditional drizzle as well.

So is climate change all that bad? The Dutch are known for their water managing abilities, so can’t we handle those few extra inches of water? Yes, we probably can, but where is the wisdom in that?

Yesterday, I saw a photo shoot by the Indian photographer Arko Datto, showing the results of four years of climate change in the Ganges delta in Bangladesh. 300 million people there are faced with the consequences of massive floods each year, covering nearly two-thirds of the country. Beautiful pictures, absolutely. And interesting how resourceful people get during the rainy season (that starts again this month) in the search for shelter on the few remaining pieces of dry land.

The Dutch are involved in the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.  Consultants have drawn up a plan to counter the floods and salinisation of the delta. Although everything is moving at a snail’s pace and the billions that the World Bank has pledged to contribute have yet to be deposited, surely such a Dutch finger-in-the-dike solution will work.

Better yet, perhaps, is to tackle the problem at its root.


This post is also available in: Dutch

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