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Ice Watch Paris – The Clock is Ticking

January 27, 2016

From my visit to the Arctic last year I have a very lively memory of the horrifying noise and sight of huge ice blocks cracking and breaking away from the pack. The Arctic is indeed the gatekeeper of climate disorder: for years, this region has been sending us signals that we cannot neglect anymore. The international community must hear them and turn them into acts.

- Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of COP21

They said that an image is worth a thousand words. This might be the easiest 3,000 words that I might ever write.

imagesPhoto Credits: http://icewatchparis.com/

Denizens of affluent cities (like Singapore) lament the warmer weather and compensate by the extended use of air-conditioners indoors and Ray-ban shades when we step out. There are many others for whom such substitutes or adaptation measures don’t exist. In fact warmer temperatures impact their livelihoods and their very existence in extreme cases. We adapt to thrive whilst they struggle to adapt, even to survive.

ice watch

Photo Credits: http://icewatchparis.com/

Ice melts when heated. Every 10 year old knows that. When glacial ice melts in the Artic, the sea-levels rise and if all this ice melts, sea-levels will rise by 7 meters. While this might be a little far-sighted, let’s assume the scenario of a modest 2 meter rise in sea-levels.  High-rise buildings and a mandate to raise the minimum reclamation levels by an additional 1 meter on top of the previous level of 1.25 meters above the highest recorded tide level observed should keep the inhabitants of Singapore safe. We’ll Survive.

IMG_MDA117648_1600px

  Photo Credits: http://olafureliasson.net/archive/artwork/WEK109190/ice-watch

Without food, we will die. Agriculture represents one of the most climate-sensitive industries. A small variation in rainfall will impact crop cultivation and yield. Adverse weather patterns and an uplift on global sea levels will destroy crops, cattle and our food supplies as a result. Most of what we eat in Singapore is imported from the very countries that are threatened by adverse climate impacts. What happened to surviving?

These problems and consequences specified above are just the tip of the iceberg. There is still time for us to do something about this crisis. Everyone one of us. The melting icebergs in the Artic are not that far off after all.

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