Maybe you still believe that rich, western countries will go free from the consequences of climate change. Brace yourself for a reality check.
Until now, we westerners have relied on an assumption. Western countries will not suffer too much from the effects of climate change. That assumption is wrong. I believed it as well. After all, we have so many possibilities, that other countries don’t have. We have enormous wealth we stole from our former colonies. We have good education systems, that can produce great minds to come up with solutions. And, if you live in central or northern Europe like me, the climate is very temperate. How bad can it get?
Well, let me give you a little glimpse of how climate change affects Germany. Germany is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet. We can continue, as usual, right?
Record Droughts and Forest Fires
As I write this, it is 38 degrees outside. This is a common occurrence now.
Look at the chart. It shows the highest recorded temperatures in Germany. We began measuring in 1881. Do you notice something? None of them happened prior to 1980. Since then, we have been breaking record temperatures in the summer over and over.
The heat intensity is not the only thing that changes. We also get prolonged periods of drought. I thought that the drought in 2018 was a unique event. It wasn’t. Since then, we even surpassed it. The soil is as dry as it was then. I can see it on my vegetables. They scream for water. Even mulching doesn’t help much. It does rain from time to time. But the water just evaporates. It does not penetrate the soil.
The forests outside Berlin are extremely dry. And there are a lot of forests. Right now, 400 firefighters are busy fighting a huge forest fire just outside Berlin. Yesterday afternoon it was only a size of 40 hectares. The firefighters were confident they would be able to control it. By now, they lost control. The size is now over 200 hectares.
Forest fires are becoming extremely common. It does not help, that the majority of forests are monoculture, that has been planted for extracting profit. Most of them are pine trees. Pine trees burn well. Also, these forests are more water craving. Which exacerbates another issue.