An update on Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western hemisphere, from Mariana García Solana, managing director of Friends of the Maya Foundation A.C. and our ally in Movilización contra el Cambio Climático, Mexico:
The hurricane hit land a few minutes before 6 pm. It will continue inland. As I can see, in an area where different rivers will overflow with its rainfall. I believe the village of Emiliano Zapata will be one of the most affected.
People and mainstream media will keep calling it a nightmare of a hurricane, but hopefully no human or animal life is lost to it.
Will people become more aware of climate change and global warming or do we need a big death toll to talk about this problem for a couple of more days?
The human brain is amazing at forgetting painful memories. But we need to learn from our mistakes.
Fossil fuel burning is irreversibly affecting our ecosystems, our only planet. It's like eating poison. We wouldn't drink a cup of benzene, because it is harmful. But why do we keep igniting it? We quit smoking because it's bad for the lungs, but we keep hurting the atmosphere, our planet's lungs with our fossil fuel smoke.
Back in 1908, the first Ford Model T cars could run on petrol, or hemp biofuel. But petrol was cheaper back then and soon it became the only fuel available for motor vehicles. It took us only a century of motor vehicles to affect the weather to a point where now we have the warmest year every year and the glaciers are melting, releasing methane to the atmosphere, but also, without the white snow, our planet will not be able to deflect the sun's rays. A thick layer of smog prevents the heat from dissipating and heavy rainstorms and severe droughts are affecting many areas.
I'm not a scientist, neither a writer. I'm just a concerned citizen worried for the future of this planet, and ourselves. I'm a mother, and a young person with many things to live for. I don't want to die in a climate-related emergency or a world-war-for-water. Thank God I'm not in Syria running for my life. But I live on the coastline of the Caribbean sea, and we endure many hurricane threats every year. There are no mountains, so there are no landslides, and the porous limestone soil protects us from floodings. There is plenty of agriculture, and the weather is warm yearlong. You could live on a hammock and no sandals, and eat fruit from the trees for the rest of your life.
As of today, I'm not really worried for me or for my family. I'm worried for you, reading this in a high-rise or an overpopulated city with only concrete around. I'm worried about you running out of food at the grocery store, or for the coming power outages, when there would be no fossil fuels for the power plant at your city to work properly, and I worry about your house too cold to be inside. I worry for you, when you would not get running water at your home, and I'm also worried about you losing communication because the power shortages are affecting the mobile phone antenna.
Millions of people everywhere in the world will suffer, and die from climate change, and only a few will endure the end of the world as we know it. This is not about being one of the lucky few. This is about being a lightbeam in the dark; please become an advocate against global warming. Please change your unhealthy habits; we quit tobacco, sugar, salt, phthalates, and glyphosate, we don't get close to nuclear waste and we don't drink untreated water or so many sodas as we used to. We know any of those things will harm us and eventually might kill us if we develop cancer. But climate change is much more dangerous and massive than the occasional high blood pressure or diabetes. It is a real threat not only for humans, but for many animals, and forests, and corals, and they are all alive and thriving. Who are we to exterminate all natural creations just for laziness, comfort or greed?
Fossil fuels are killing our planet every minute and in every way it is appalling. Everything around us was made in a factory that polluted the air and the water very heavily, and also everything is transported many thousand of miles polluting all the way to our homes. And we do nothing about it. What about consumers' choice? Or ethical commerce? Why aren't we pushing our providers with a demand on safer, cleaner practices that don't affect our planet, or our weather?
Why is everything disposable and we don't really care? Why are we addicted to plastic? Do we really all know that plastic comes from petrol and that it is very harmful in many ways, from creation, to brief use, to dump? The bottom of the ocean is heavily polluted. Fisheries are ruining the fish stocks, grinding everything they collect to produce fish powder to feed livestock that we later eat into nuggets or fast food. Why!? Why are we depleting the oceans so we can eat chicken nuggets? It's absurd. But people don't know about it, and they should.
There is a topic, Western lifestyle and global warming. We should look deeper into it, and change from within. Let's become an example to follow, an educator, and an advocate for a safer future.
Thank you for reading this.
I'll keep you posted on the aftermath, the hurricane is still on its first hours.
Mariana García Solana
[UPDATE: Thankfully, there were no reported deaths after the hurricane's landfall, and damage in coastal communities was much less than expected.]