30 April 2008

Silent Tsunami

I calculated that my flight from London to Italy for the Human Rights Film Festival resulted in 0.340 tonnes of CO2. The flight to Dubai was 1.259 tonnes, and then another 0.130 tonnes to get to Qatar for the Aljazeera Documentary Festival.

Was the benefits gained from these events worth it? Many human rights causes and other global issues that I had no knowledge of were highlighted, and if I spread that out in the world, urging people to act, then perhaps the benefits outweigh the costs..

And then my flight to Kuwait to attend the World Islamic Economic Forum added on 0.241 tonnes, leaving me with a total of 1.970 tonnes of CO2 for the past few weeks. And according to www.carbonfootprint.com that calculates your carbon footprint for you, carbon emissions are responsible for global warming. The effects of global warming caused by carbon emissions are also understood to play a major role in the current food crisis, dubbed the Silent Tsunami!

The World Bank has finally taken emergency measures to help countries cope with the rising food prices, and the crisis is also being blamed on the demand for biofuels in developed countries, and a myriad of other causes- 23 countries are said to be at risk of social unrest as the poor panic to survive! China, with a growing population and economy, is worried, but they are not alone.

North Korea- over a quarter of the population does not have enough food. Bangladesh- there is major turmoil and social unrest.
India- exports of rice have all but completely been halted, amid quotes from famous Indian economist, Amartya Sen that ‘famines do not happen in democracies.’
Cote d’Ivoire- two days of violence have delayed government elections and widespread riots have occurred.
Cameroon- at least 24 people have been killed in riots.
Egypt- army ordered to start baking bread.
Philippines- hoarding rice may be punishable by death.

In some places, between January and April, rice prices have gone up almost 150%, and some type of wheat went up 25% in a single day! Food markets are in turmoil, civil strife is growing, trade and free market aspects are being candidly challenged- hence globalisation itself may soon be challenged.

The World Islamic Economic Forum is being held in Kuwait from 28 April till 1 May, and while contributing further to carbon emissions by being chauffeured around in big flashy cars with police escorts, speeches by leaders of Muslim countries are being delivered under the ‘Islamic countries: Partners in The Global Development’ theme of this years forum.

Detailed reports of the proceedings to follow shortly, but for now let me leave you with a thought. Following the addresses by King Abdullah of Jordan, Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Dr. Silajdzic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, the Prime Minister of Kuwait was asked how the gap could be bridged between the richest countries and the poorest countries in the world- which both have Muslim majorities- his reply was translated from Arabic into English as, ‘…natural resources are the source of wealth and success in the world, and those countries that have this must share with countries that don’t…’

1 comment:

Dreamlife said...

This program i like using - Wordweb - has a licence condition in its free version: u can use the free version unlimited ONLY if u take 2 or less commercial flights a year. it's specifically designed for the CO2 emissions that come from flights.

i think if the Zakaah system was properly implemented around the world - whether they call it Zakaah or some non-Arabic term - it would solve the poverty problems, because Allah gave us that system to have a society in which people don't go hungry...right?