Warning - Climate Emergency

I’ve never seen as many climate emergencies at once as I’m seeing this July.

In parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda the rains have failed for five years in a row. The drought is terrifying. People are short of food and water, livestock is dying. ‘You leave when your last animal has died and you take nothing with you – only your family. You leave your home to save your life,’ says Godana, an Ethiopian farmer. 

Maasai people in Kenya in the dry landscape Jo Knight Anglican Overseas Aid

The monsoon in much of Asia has caused huge floods. Much of North India had a heatwave and then flooding, many people are displaced, and our friends at EFICOR are there serving people made homeless. 

In South Korea we’ve seen intense rain, floods and landslides with dramatic pictures of rescuers pulling people out of a flooded tunnel. President Yoon Suk Yeol said "Extreme weather events like this will become commonplace. We must accept that climate change is happening and deal with it." 

Japan has just had record levels of rain; the Philippines, Cambodia and many other places across Asia have been hit hard too.

Meanwhile much of China is in the middle of a heatwave with temperatures at record highs - reaching 52.2 degrees Celsius in Xinjiang province. Only six months ago China also broke the record for the lowest temperature, -53 degrees Celsius. 

Pine Gulch Fire in Colorado. Photo by Kyle Miller, Wyoming Hotshots, USFS

Canada has had huge wildfires that turned the air brown with smoke and dust, even as far south as New York City. The US expects to break their heat record too, in Death Valley, and bizarrely it seems tourists are flying in to experience it.

Southern Europe is also setting records with the extreme Cerberus heatwave, in southern Spain, France, Greece and Italy. A study of Europe’s heatwave last summer found 61,000 people died from it; but this summer’s total may well be higher, even somewhere as wealthy and as well-warned as Europe. 

And all around the world, the first week of July saw a record new global high temperature, the highest ever recorded - until the day after when the record was broken again. 

Cyclone Freddy credit Diocese of Toliara

It’s not long ago since Cyclone Freddy hit Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique, earlier this year, the longest lasting cyclone ever recorded. It moved slowly and caused weeks of devastation with millions of people needing emergency relief.

Let’s pray for every person - and every part of creation - hit by these emergencies. Let’s raise our voices to get emissions cuts much faster this decade, and to get the funding poor communities who didn’t cause this mess need to cope with it. Let’s remind our friends, families, colleagues and churches that these are climate emergencies and this is urgent. 

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