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A troubled world

Opinion & Analysis
The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.

THE world in which we live is incredibly turbulent. Our world is getting worse and worse, save for a select few individuals who benefit greatly from corruption and other unorthodox activities in terms of money and power. Even though the world is slowly burning, people continue to act as if nothing is wrong. We are living just like the proverbial boiling frog.

The boiling frog is an apologue describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.

What is it that people need to worry about right now? Climate change. The world is warming, and the climate is changing in many ways. Scientists have gathered evidence that the Earth is warming from a variety of sources, including thermometers, weather stations, weather balloons, satellites, and more. The average global temperature has risen by roughly one degree Celsius since 1880. By 2050, the world's temperature is expected to have risen by roughly 1,5 degrees Celsius, and by 2100, it will have risen by 2-4 degrees. The most recent data shows that, since the 1960s, average yearly global temperatures have been rising steadily.

There are a tonne of theories and assumptions explaining why the earth is warming, but for now, these changes are certainly having an effect on us and changing how people live. While it is easy to get caught up in the headlines about severe flooding, heatwaves, droughts, and other events, the real concern is what action humans are taking to protect the planet and themselves from the ravaging effects of global warming. For instance, with rains expected to begin in the autumn and continue into the winter, a significant drought is a threat for a large portion of southern Africa. That is unmistakable evidence of changing seasonal factors as well.

Seasonal changes and climate change both necessitate significant and quick adjustments to livelihoods. But rather than acknowledging that the situation has changed and calls for an adjustment, the responses that have been provided thus far seem to be focused on bemoaning the below-average rainy seasons. Because of these factors, millions of people will experience severe food insecurity due to a lack of planning ahead. Technology has come a long way, allowing the world to advise farmers on what to do and what to expect. However, our way of thinking seems to be obsessed with the conventional calendar.

As analysts have recently argued, Earth would still be extremely unstable due to changing weather patterns even if all humans were to vanish from it. Reversing global warming would take many more decades. As a result, given the political stakes in the carbon emissions debacle, adaptation and adjustment will likely be our only means of surviving the events that are currently playing out.

Even if we find ways of addressing the impact of climate change, the world will continue to be troubled by the deeply entwined political interests that have sparked conflicts that have global and far-reaching implications. Although the wars in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Eastern Africa appear to be the only significant causes for concern at first glance, a closer examination reveals that these conflicts involve the entire world, with many countries involved in these wars because of the various conflicting political and economic interests that obstruct efforts to achieve peace.

In the last two years, there have been more major wars with significant effects on the global economy, politics and humanitarian front than in the previous 10 years. Wars in other countries had localised impacts even though the humanitarian implications could be felt in other countries due to displacement. Today, the situation is different.

The conflict in Eastern Europe has had a significant impact on the global economy, driving up the cost of some necessities. This followed the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused supply and logistics chains to become disrupted worldwide. Just as the world was beginning to acclimatise and recuperate from these worldwide shocks, the Middle East war broke out, engulfing many more nations in its shadow. And once more, just as the people were becoming accustomed to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, a massive economic shock is about to hit, threatening to drive up the cost of living even further.

This is placing a great deal of people on the planet in a precarious situation. Overcoming the difficult-to-stop effects of the climate crisis and the financial difficulties brought on by the eastern wars is simply making life tougher for ordinary people. This is simply intolerable and ought to be of great concern, especially for developing nations that already must contend with enormous national budget deficits, poor economic performance brought on by the same issues, dwindling access to aid and the effects of climate change.

Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa. He writes here in his personal capacity.

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