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Looming catastrophe: Earth on fire, oceans dying

Just this past week, we have seen hurricanes, fires, cyclones and mass shootings.

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Updated: September 2, 2019

Can we put out the fire in the Amazon, the world’s largest rain forest and the planet’s green lung? The latest outbreak of forest fires would seem to suggest that the global environment crisis cannot be averted because every country places its national interest first without seriously taking into account the high risk of a global catastrophe.

China, the US, India, Russia and Brazil have the largest footprints globally. The EU’s biocapacity deficit is on par with China’s. Although China’s total footprint is double that of the US and the EU, they both have much higher consumption per person, according to Global Footprint Network.

Amazon nations to discuss response to wildfires

While it’s understood that national interests come first, this is not just in North America and Brazil. Countries around the world are growing increasingly nationalistic, Tara Buakamsri, Thailand country director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, told The Nation.

“We are all living in the most challenging time in human history,” he said.

The only way to avoid our planet getting dangerously close to the tipping point and becoming a “Hothouse Earth”, we need every country and everyone to collectively work to reduce carbon emissions and achieve the target set in Paris Agreement. One action is to work together to create investment funds that can support poorer nations that don’t have as much capacity to reduce emissions as richer countries do.

“It is completely unacceptable that a country like the US leaves the Paris Agreement, because now more than ever, we need every country in the world to collectively decarbonize in order to secure a stable planet,” he said.

Regarding the death of the beloved baby dugong Mariam in Thailand and whether it would make people change their behavior in using plastic, Tara noted that while Mariam’s death has gone viral, there were already several groups of people doing good work to solve the plastic crisis in Thailand.

“Yet we still continue to produce 45 billion plastic bags per year. It is vital that we come up with a plan of action and/or platform that will allow more and more active citizens in Thailand to be agents of change. While we must have legislation to reduce/ban single use plastic, what we really need is individual responsibility, community responsibility, industrial responsibility, professional responsibility, and political responsibility. We need community responsibility at the back-end of plastic crisis and industrial responsibility at the front-end of it. And we need responsible political leadership to bring these two together. Because this crisis is too important to leave to the narrow focus of experts, we need every sector of the society and economy involved. We need to integrate zero waste planning with farmers, doctors, artists, educators, communicators, philosophers, scientists, engineers, economists, environmentalists, industrial workers, architects, community developers, social activists, and children. We need everyone involved in this massive effort,” he added.

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The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

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