Thursday, October 15, 2009


THIRTY-FIVE SUMMERS ago, I lived in Cebu City when there were wide open spaces, few people on the sidewalks, fresh and clear air all around, clean seas to swim and tap water was still drinkable. I still live in the same place but I am now in a crowded neighborhood, sidewalks that are difficult to navigate, breathing polluted air, shying away from murky seas and forced to drink bottled water. Oh, yes, before I forget – constant flooding!

For many years, I have felt the temperature getting hotter and hotter every year and the rainwater getting higher and higher although, at times, the el niño and la niña phenomena visits the country every ten or eleven years and brings with it extreme drought or an abundance of rain fall. It has been like that and, I assume, it is normal. Yes, it has been like that and it is just normal when I analyzed the Philippine meteorological records from 1905 up to 1995.

But something weird happened when unabated development punched a hole above the Antarctic. It grew in size until the whole world became alarmed and asked how could that be? I think it was in the early '90s when I came to know of the news about the ozone layer getting thinner and thinner. The community of scientists and social activists were able to trace chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs as the main root of this grave issue although trapped CO2 gases and other harmful pollutants contribute also to this world-wide malady.

Now going back to my little place in the fringes of the Pacific, I find it perplexing when a visiting typhoon make its mark on the topography of the land. Yes, we have been ravaged by super typhoons in the past but it was rare and far between. It does result to overflooding and sheer destruction caused by an abundance of rain and spurred by 200++ kph winds brought on by its strength.

The problem is, these new typhoons visiting us are not of the super genres but are mere tropical depressions and low pressure areas that grew in size to signal number two typhoons, at the most, but, they bring a lot of rain. Not only that, they come regularly as they wished and they bring flood and destruction that equal in intensity brought on by signal number four typhoons! Yes, climate change may have a hand in that, but, I'm quite sure it does. IT IS ALREADY HERE!

Why? There was a movie titled A Perfect Storm starring George Clooney that told of how two hurricanes crossed paths in the Atlantic and wrought havoc upon a fleet of fishing vessels. Tell you frankly, it is just kid's play. You know what, three typhoons entered the Philippine area of responsibility at the same time on November 25 to 27, 2007 and, I presumed they were more than “a perfect storm”. I featured this in my blog on March 25, 2008.

Lately, Metro Cebu have been experiencing subtle weather changes that goes scorching hot to cold, rainy and windy to scorching hot again and, believe me, it has caused many sick calls upon the hardy populace. These micro weather changes have been consistent that most residents begin to believe that they are typhoons of a smaller scale! They call it “mini-typhoons”.

On September 26, 2009, a squall visited the metropolis and little did I know that it has caused injury to many commuters at the Cebu South Bus Terminal when the steel railings blocking an access road collapsed under the weight of a gusty wind. Also, it has resulted to the damage of a see-trough steel gate at the Cebu International Convention Center. Not only that, the play of the winds uncorked a mini-maelstrom in CICC's small man-made lagoon! Jeez, I am fully convinced that climate change had finally made its mark in this part of the world!

Elsewhere, typhoon signal number 1 Ondoy (International Name – Kistana) ravaged Metro Manila and its outlying areas and brought with it water levels of a magnitude that is unsurpassed in 40 years! Flood waters surged on the streets leaving residents no time to evacuate to higher grounds and trapped them on their own rooftops. Death piled along river banks while garbage and other debris hang on to tree branches showing the waterline at levels of two-storey houses.

Following its trail is typhoon signal number 2 Pepeng (International Name – Parma). People in the National Capital Region braced for its arrival but it swerved to Northern Luzon and stayed there for a week causing massive landslide and mudflows and lots and lots of dead people! I could not believe a tempest staying in its grid for a week! It is unbelievable.

I hope this short article of mine would get the attention of the United States, Canada, Japan, China, Germany, Brazil and Russia to change their attitude of how we, the small poor nations, have been suffering due to their indifference and shortsightedness in steering their energy programs and managing their excesses. Their large industries caused the globe to get warmer causing water levels to rise and to an abundance of excess moisture which small weather disturbances siphon off.

It was for this reason that I opt to join a community of bloggers to give voice to Blog Action Day 2009 (as I have done in 2008 for poverty) to help create a better world to live in.

May God bless us all!

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer

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