Chunks of ice from the Arctic that are the size of Manhattan in the United States are melting and the sea level is rising.Coming are food and water shortages and extreme heat.These predictions are not from a prophet of doom but from Caroline Alexander-Lewis, an education strategist and consultant, founder and executive director of the CLEO Institute, a Miami-based non-profit organisation that advances civic engagement on environmental issues.
Alexander-Lewis, a Trinidadian who lives in Miami, works with scientists on the CLEO Project on Climate to bridge the divide between science and society and has been invited to several related events at the White House in Washington.She warned of the coming major disruptions that climate change would bring to every area of life at a climate-change education and public engagement seminar at the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Westmoorings on Monday.
"Climate change disruption will create a future we can't even visualise. This is settled science. You know Venice is sinking?" Alexander-Lewis asked participants at the seminar.Dismissing those who deny the effects of climate change, some within the US Congress itself, she said her ultimate goal was to get people to understand what climate change was and what their roles were.
Alexander-Lewis goes all over the world doing this."Half of Congress pretends it's not true. But even the Pentagon is on to climate change," she said.Alexander-Lewis said even religious groups such as the Baptists and the Catholics were getting together on climate change. Catholics all over the world are taking the St Francis Pledge to join the Catholic Climate Covenant, she said.
The earth, she added, is warming at an unprecedented rate and greenhouse gases, the primary cause, are being pumped out at an accelerating speed. China, the US and Europe are the main culprits, with India an emerging main greenhouse-gas emitter.Giving some climate change projections for the end of the century, Alexander-Lewis said there would come a time when the temperature would be over 90 degrees for more than six months at a time.
"There will be a three to five-foot rise in sea level. The volume of ice is decreasing in the Arctic."Among birds, 13 per cent would become extinct and 25 per cent of mammals and 41 per cent of amphibians would be no more, Alexander-Lewis said.Stating that Miami already experiences flooding due to sea level rise, she warned that parts of Trinidad on the coast were under threat.
Alexander-Lewis said scientists are so worried about the rates at which these things are happening they sometimes call her in the early hours of the morning to express their concern.She said people could help if they "reduce, reuse and recycle" and a clean energy economy would help minimise the effects of greenhouse gases.