Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Prolonged summer, heatwave and evolution

It's now the 4th week of July and there are not enough rains yet in the country. I went to our farm 2 weeks ago, and I saw along the way that hundreds of hectares of rice land in the municipality and neighboring towns in Pangasinan are still not planted with rice. I doubt that said lands have been planted with rice by now as there were no strong rains yet that could really wet the lands for easier plowing and planting.

I really believe that poverty and hunger will rise in the coming months in this country. If rice production is delayed for just 1 month over thousands of hectares of rice lands, then rice output should decline and hence, rice price will rise. If the delay is 2 months, then the adverse impact is worsened. This situation can only be prevented if there are lots of rice output in other parts of the country, say from the Visayas and Mindanao. But this does not seem probable because the whole country is experiencing lack of rain. At this time, typhoons will be welcomed by many people, if it's the only way that can bring in plenty of rain.

Today I read in the papers how southern Europe is scorching with a deadly heat. It's reported that in Hungary alone, about 500 people have died from the heat just last week alone. And thousands of hectares of forest land are burning in many parts and countries of southern Europe -- southern Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, etc.

The worst-affected country in Europe during the 2003 heatwave was France, with some 15,000 people estimated to have died. My country is near the equator. And yet when the temperature hits 38 degrees Celsius, life is very uncomfortable already. So I cannot imagine staying in a place where you can have snow during winter, and temperature can rise to 41 degrees, even 45 degrees!

Meanwhile, central Britain was swamped by heavy rains and flooding. I wondered earlier where the big evaporated water from the Philippines, southern Europe, and other continents are being dumped in the form of heavy rains.

This climate change is really tragic. Perhaps this is a new round of evolution and extinction of some species by nature. People have to live with this, endure this new climate development, and consequently, evolve with it. Food science and agriculture too, will need to change and evolve. Drought-resistant crops will be in bigger demand in the coming years, along with flood-resistant crops and varieties. Really ironic, but this seems to be the way if current trends will continue.

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