MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/04 April) – Spring, that season in temperate regions that follows winter, is supposed to symbolize hope, rebirth and renewal. Indeed, nothing compares to the sight of fresh leaves and flowers emerging from branches of trees and other plants as the snow thaws and the frigid rivers flow once again to the waiting oceans of life.
It is perhaps for this reason that some historic events of humankind had taken place in springtime. The Arab Spring, the popular struggle for political change that swept across the Middle East and North Africa last year and deposed well-entrenched authoritarian regimes, easily comes to mind.
Decades back, the people of the former Czechoslovakia, which split into the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic at the end of the Cold War, waged their own campaign for reforms. Called the Prague Spring of 1968 and led by Czech Communist Party leader Alexander Dubcek, the campaign was cut short by a Soviet invasion. Czechoslovakia was then a satellite Soviet state and a less than willing member of the Warsaw Pact.
Last month in several European countries, as reported on foreign TV networks, people welcomed the literal coming of spring – but not with the same elation that met the political versions of the season.
Residents were surprised to awaken one morning and find neighbors and friends playing beach volleyball. In Scotland the daffodils have started to bloom. Those were familiar post-winter scenarios except that they happened earlier than expected.
Scientists in particular noted with a huge amount of apprehension that the ice melted totally too soon in parts of the continent, and warned that it’s likely to have catastrophic implications on climatic patterns.
The premature coming of springtime was a logical outcome of the notable rise in atmospheric temperature (measured in Fahrenheit) that was said to be unusually higher compared to those recorded in previous years during the same period.
For laymen, a single-digit increase in atmospheric temperature may look insignificant and not a cause for worry. But as explained by experts, this “insignificance” could have frightening repercussions on the climate as we know it. A higher temperature means faster rates of evaporation and consequently, a bigger amount of precipitation or rainfall. “Sendong” tells us what happens when a particular area receives an amount of rainfall which is higher than it can accommodate within a certain period of time.
Scientists have issued warnings on the disastrous impacts of a warmer world since the early 1990s not only on global climate but also on biodiversity and other life-support systems, and various initiatives have been undertaken to mitigate such impacts.
The 1991 Kyoto Protocol would have been a great step forward in rolling back climate change. But it was ambushed by industrial greed. Worse, the world has become content with media stunts like “Earth Hour” and “Earth Day” and for voyeurs, “Miss Earth.”
As one writer put it, “Climate is an angry beast, and we are poking it with sticks.” (H. Marcos C. Mordeno writes mainly on the environment, human rights and politics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)