IT’S that time of year when we reflect on last year and look forward to the New Year.

As far as the environment is concerned and the fight to mitigate and eradicate the harm caused by climate change, will this year be better than last?

My 11-year-old son Rafa said something to me recently when we were driving in the car. He asked me: “Dad, why do we continue to destroy the planet? There will be nothing left for future generations.”

Pretty profound for an 11-year-old.

Water Pollution With Plastic Bags In River
Illustration: Freepik

These simply put questions set me on a much deeper reflection. In many ways, world events are allied to climate change.

When you consider what’s going on in the world –

·         Putin’s inhumane and disastrous invasion of Ukraine is nearing its first anniversary and is highly unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

·         The number of people facing starvation on the African continent continues to rise.

·         Kim ‘Wrong-Un’ is hell-bent on increasing his nuclear threat.

·         The Arab/Israeli conflict will undoubtedly escalate with the election of the far-right Benjamin Netanyahu.

·         The Taliban will continue to take women’s rights back to pre-historic levels in Afghanistan.

·         China will ramp up its claims over Taiwan this year, giving America the opportunity to fight another war abroad.

And I don’t have enough column space to go into Myanmar, Columbia, Haiti, Sudan, Lebanon, Nigeria, The Sahel, Yemen or Ethiopia.

I think you’ve got the message…. the world is a messed-up place.

Reflecting on some of the major environmental issues of last year tells a similar story.

·         Hurricane Ian caused havoc in Cuba and the US.

·         Extreme drought in Europe saw river levels drop to the lowest levels on record. Spain’s reservoirs fell to the lowest levels for more than 30 years. End result – billions of euros of losses to the agriculture, livestock and energy generation sectors.

·         Unprecedented floods in China.

·         Despite the floods in China huge areas suffered drought conditions.

·         Floods in Australia.

·         Super intense monsoon season in Pakistan inundated a significant part of the country killing over a million livestock and destroying 10 million acres of crops. Some 7 million people were forced to evacuate their homes and nearly 2,000 people died.

·         Storm Eunice hit northern and Central Europe in February. Billions of euros of damage was caused in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Poland, the UK and the Netherlands.

·         Continued deforestation in Brazil caused reduced rainfall and ensuing drought.

·         Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Canada. It was the most intense tropical storm ever.

·         Biggest floods in South Africa ever recorded.

NOT A GOOD YEAR FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

Will this year be any better?

Sadly, I very much doubt it. Expect to hear even more hollow promises and commitments from the same people who could actually make a difference.

Martin Tye is the owner of energy switch company Mariposa Energy. Contact him on +34 638145664 or email him at martin@mariposaenergia.es

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