National Geographic Show, Years Of Living Dangerously (4–13–2014 — Still Airing)

Climate change and Social Phenomenon #YearsProject

Climate change and Social Phenomenon #YearsProject
I have had this Medium account for a few months now. Diving into different stories ranging from technology, climate change, and even personal stories. Yet now I have succumbed to inspiration and decided to write my first post.

I don’t want to start this off talking about myself but let me give you guys a brief picture of what this post is about. My focus in studies is currently Sociology. I have thought numerous times to pick up a minor like comm media because I’d love to be the “David Attenborough of Soc” (something I use to say all the time). Yet I started to lose interest in working the camera because I figured that the idea of getting into the realm of social change, involves networking. Therefore figured I can work with people who specify in those non directly related areas and I can focus on the studies themselves.

I was laying down aimlessly looking for something to watch on TV. (Let me add that I am a passionate and avid viewer of the news, documentaries and educational channel shows) Scrolling through my block of favorite channels all stacked together (Nat Geo/Wild, Discovery, History, Science, etc.) I came across a show called “Years of Living Dangerously” Season 2 Ep 5, on the National Geographic Channel. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on, because I was staring at my ceiling thinking about all of the school work that I’m procrastinating on. I zoned back in and remembered tuning into at a part that was talking about the Philippines. The discussion was climate change (as the entire series is about). The importance was its impact on the people that live there. Not just how generalized climate change will affect the people. But the specific effects of it. It started talking about the vast amount of ocean that the Philippines cover. How it consists of over 7,000 islands and a population of over 100 million people that all rely on the natural environment to sustain life. And the threat they are being faced with due to climate change and people who can AFFORD to turn a blind eye.

The obvious problem that I came across was that the people who contribute the least to climate change, end up suffering the most. Dawson’s Creek and The Fringe actor Joshua Jackson explored the lives of these vulnerable people to discover what threatens their way of life. He discovers (I did too) that the Philippines is home to the worlds most biodiverse oceans in the world and sits at the apex of the coral triangle. Walking through a fish market, he is being guided by a local scuba instructor who is also a teacher at the local university in economics. They talk about how there are fish there that was once never sold before because there was no need. With the effects of climate change gripping these nature reliant islands with an iron fist, there is now a need for an abundance of the unnecessary because the necessary is no longer available. Fish yields, along with fish sizes are also shrinking. Which means a population highly reliant on what nature can produce to survive is now in jeopardy. This gets even more difficult with the fact that the parts of the reef surrounding the islands are dying off. What took our Earth thousands of years to create, can easily be destroyed overnight. And what is destroyed may possibly never exist again or may possibly take tens or even hundreds of generations to regenerate.

This brings me to the reasoning that I came up with, in a completely shameful yet interesting and sympathizing way. That our social problems we face today, will only get worse the more we allow climate change to progress. Remember when Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was asked during a debate what he believed the greatest threat to our nation and national security was? As everyone else giggled, his response; Climate change. And he wasn’t wrong.

Jackson interviewed Laura David, one of the leading oceanographers in the Philippines apart of an international team of scientists focused on climate change. David says that if they stop getting the bulk of their food protein from the ocean “we’ll start doing it inland, and we don’t have enough land…once this part of the world is hungry, I mean where do we go?”. Hinting at the fact that a high percentage of the population that resides in that part [Coral Triangle] of the Pacific ocean rely on the food provided by the ocean and reef that is being threatened. Not to mention the islands that reside in this Coral Triangle are, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.That’s about 308 Million people whose lives will be impacted by this and most likely will be displaced because of climate change.

What really hit me hard was hearing David say “… once this part of the world is hungry, I mean where do we go?”. Which makes me think of epidemics where people have to flee their homes and land in search of food, water, safety, and shelter. These problems that we face now are problems in places like Syria, who the UN back in March 2017, gauged the number of Syrian refugees at over 5 million people. On top of the atrocities and fleeing being seen in Yemen, Afghanistan(2.7 million ref.), Somalia (1 million ref.), South Sudan (1.1 million ref.), and the Lake Chad Basin (2.2 million ref.). All in which flood into their neighboring countries, causing an influx of people and decrease in resources now available in the newly resided countries. This will lead to a chain reaction of people fleeing a land with borders because of a lack of resources due to climate change and a friction in society due to things like the rise in nationalism and exclusion-ism.

Just as how countries already try to deny the influx of refugees with these present-day crises, they will do the same in the future. Especially with the lack of resources, space and honestly time. Of course all countries who aren’t economically stable have a higher chance of civil unrest. But the countries who are less likely to suffer from civil unrest due to a lack of necessities are the main contributors to climate change and are the reasons why these third world countries won’t stand a chance in the future. And we will be the countries that these low sea level, low GDP, free-spirited, nature-loving and reliant people will turn to for help. Can we help? Can we not turn a blind eye? Can we fix the problem now? These are the reasons as to why I decided to pick up a natural science as a minor to focus on these topics and relate them to our global interactions that may put the way of life on this precious planet Earth in jeopardy.

So whether you embrace nationalism, capitalism, and consumerism or embrace nature, fixes to global strife and global sovereignty, the issue is for ALL OF US to fix. Remember that the people with the least always gotta pay the most!

Diamond Blenman