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Michael Wickham
 

Fire, water, air

A few countries control and consume a large amount of the world’s resources.

AUTHOR Michael Wickham MADRID 09 FEBRUARY 2018 12:30 h GMT+1
A forest. / Joshua Fuller (Unsplash, CC)

In the few months, three fundamental elements related to the environment in Spain (and directly related to our lives) have been highlited in the media.



- Fire: The tragic uncontrolled wildfires in Portugal and Spain as well as in other places in the world, such as California.



- Water: A growing drought that already rivals the great 2012 one.



- Air: Air pollution, the urban 'berets', caused by vehicle emissions in cities, helped by the great stationary anticyclone in the region.



All three are related. The fires, although many intentional, affected by the lack of rain, were caused by the abnormally long lasting stationary anticyclone. The drought was a result of poor management of water as well as a climatic anomaly. And the high concentration of pollutants in the air were caused by the lack of clearing winds in the same stationary anticyclone (high pressure) cell in areas with a high concentration of automobiles.



But the increase of these three situations is not accidental. According to meteorologists there are two main causes, both of human origin.



Firstly, poor management and a materialistic, short term attitude to life and the world’s natural resources is seen in the prevalence of forest fires. Regarding the droughts, the lack of foresight and misuse of such as precious resource as is water. Lifestyles made possible by readily available individualized transport cause the concentration of atmospheric pollution.



Secondly, the three problems are part of their origin in a global warming of the atmosphere and the oceans, a climate change unprecedented in human history. This warming also means an increase in extreme weather events, such as tornados, droughts and torrential rain. Urban air pollution itself produces a climate change effect in nearby continents: droughts in India have been associated with air pollution in European countries, according to recent scientific studies.



This warming is caused by the industrial production of greenhouse gases such as CO2, but also, as recent evidence shows, by methane produced by livestock that supplies the growing global food industry. The increase in livestock consumption consumes enormous resources of water and land at the expense of population.



In short, a few countries control and consume large amount of resources. Egotism is reflected in the broken relationship of man with the world in which he lives.



Fire, water and air. We will look at them in more detail in the next weeks.


 

 


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