Our environment calls us to take action; because every year the damages by seasonal storms affect us more and more.
By: Alexia Higueros, Ecociudadanos
Every year the hurricane season begins in the Caribbean sector and neighboring countries. This year, for Guatemala, the cyclone season officially began on June 1 and will end on November 30, 2020.
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In this century, the effects of climate change and the environment have become notorious through various natural phenomena. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused a series of damage, destruction and claimed the lives of many people in the United States. This hurricane reached winds of up to 333 km / h. Its effects were devastating, it generated floods in many states of the United States, with New Orleans and Louisiana being the hardest hit.
At the beginning of this cyclone season, Tropical Storm Amanda was the first event to affect the country. Initiating a low pressure system and opening the way to the formation of the tropical storm Cristóbal.
The most recent event that has affected the country and for which we have all joined in solidarity to help the victims is the tropical storm Eta. In much of the country, especially in the departments of Cobán and Izabal, among others, the storm has affected more than 311 thousand people. Floods, mudslides and landslides have claimed the lives of people and destroyed the assets of many more.
Consequences of environmental damage
But why is the damage so catastrophic? Climate change is an important factor; Climate change is not responsible for the formation of hurricanes or storms, but it is responsible for their recurrence and intensity. The increase in the temperature of the oceans generates hurricanes of greater power.
On the other hand, the damage that this class of natural phenomena causes in communities is directly proportional to the footprint that human beings have left. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, MARN, establishes that the estimated annual deforestation in the Guatemalan territory is 73 thousand 148 hectares.
Forest clearing in Guatemala has as its main objective the planting of monocultures. Sugar cane and African palm are the main monocultures in the country. Theories have been proposed that a higher density of native forests can help reduce the frequency of cyclones, as well as prevent the effects from being so catastrophic for communities.
This theory comes from the fact that native forests have a high capacity to intercept and evaporate a greater amount of water than any other ecosystem or surface. The fact that the natural ecosystems of our country are being disturbed to satisfy our consumption is what today has led thousands of families to have material losses and, above all, human losses.
As individuals it is up to us to do
- Realize the importance of forests and their preservation; and reduce the consumption of firewood.
- In rural areas, encourage reforestation and modern agroecology techniques that allow for sustainability.
- Understand that the monocultures mentioned above are extremely harmful even though they are disguised as economic well-being.
- The consumption of many products that come from the African palm made with trans fats will reduce their commercialization and therefore their cultivation.
- Stop the depredation of the forests and avoid little conservationist techniques.
- Evidence of deforestation in our country, which is now most noticeable with tropical storm Eta
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