The rising sea levels and melting permafrost caused by climate change are causing crisis situations in a number of places around the world, resulting in tens of thousands of people having to leave their homes, while important agricultural areas also fall victim to the changes.
The Mekong Delta is one of the regions of Vietnam with the highest population density – almost 20 million people live in the region that produces a fifth of the global rice production. The region is a globally definitive centre of agriculture, but increasing numbers of people are forced to leave it behind due to the reductions in fertile land area, rising sea levels and expanding marshlands.
River deltas are formed by sedimentation: their soil is usually highly fertile, but they need to be replenished with sediment continuously, otherwise the soils along the coast get eroded. However, due to the Chinese hydroelectric dams built further up the river, the amount of sediment and water arriving in Vietnam has decreased, and that is reducing the amount of fertile land.
The other problem is caused by rising sea levels.
said the head of a Vietnamese government agency in a BBC article. As the Mekong Delta is very low, an increasing amount of sea water mixes with the river’s water, which makes growing rice impossible along the lower section of the river.
In 10 years, 1 million people have been forced to leave their homes due to environmental problems.
said a couple in a BBC video interview whose riverside house had collapsed in June.
According to a Dutch study, rising sea levels will swamp the area much faster than previously expected, which may force 12 million people to leave their homes over the next fifty years.
The melting of glaciers has broken new records in Switzerland this year; they lost two percent of their ice mass this summer, while over the last five years, they have lost 10 percent of their volume altogether, which is unprecedented in the existing records spanning over 100 years.
The typhoon raging in Japan has claimed more than fifty lives; the number of injured has exceeded two hundred.
As a result of climate change, humanity is expected to face growing numbers of destructive storms in the future.
Climate change is causing severe problems in Antarctica, too: recently, a piece of ice weighing 315 billion tonnes broke off the area, while scientists investigating satellite images covering an area of 5 million square kilometres found tens of thousands of meltwater lakes, which indicates severe problems.
“Ice is the canary in the global coal mine. It’s the place where we can see and touch and hear and feel climate change in action.” Internationally recognised nature photographer James Balog believes it is extremely important to pay attention to the processes underway in the polar regions.
Massive snowstorms hit a number of north-western and northern states of the USA on 29 September.
Monsoon rain accompanied by storms and lightning hit the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India on 27 September. Tempestuous winds toppled trees and utility poles and tore off roofs, killing more than a hundred people.
On 24 September, the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountain Foundation) issued an avalanche warning on the Planpincieux Glacier, which is located on the eastern slope of the Grandes Jorasses peak.
More than a thousand people were evacuated or rescued in Houston, Texas, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States on 19 September due to Tropical Storm Imelda.
Due to their geographical position, the small island states of the Caribbean and the Pacific are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. The documentary entitled 1.5 Stay Alive showcases the sensitive and risky symbiosis between people living in the Caribbean Region and the water that surrounds them.