It was a hot and stuffy night.
I woke up this morning at around 5 am, and cast a bleary eye on the phone to check the weather forecast.
It showed “28 degrees Celsius”.
“Ok, it is a bit higher than usual, but it seems to feel warmer than that,” I thought to myself.
I scrolled down the screen to check the humidity.
It showed “88 percent (feels like 33 degrees Celsius)”.
That explained why it felt like being under the hot afternoon sun, even though it was barely pre-dawn at this time.
Meanwhile, the table fan continued to whirl, doing little to cool the air around me.
I don’t recall Singapore getting this hot and stuffy, even at this time of the year.
I think that climate change is affecting us all at a faster rate than we might have expected.
Time is of essence.
A verse came to my mind later today.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
The psalmist who wrote that verse had prayed for a heart of wisdom by being taught to number our days.
I realised that once we learn to count our days, knowing that we have a limited time on earth regardless of our attempts to increase our longevity, we will learn to make each day count.
For many (if not all) of us, we would learn of the passing of a loved one or someone we looked up to, every so often.
I am also coming to realise that it is not only individual lives that are temporal, but also humanity as a collective.
(After all, from the perspective of the geological time frame, humans have only existed for a fraction of the entire history of the earth.)
In other words, it is a matter of time that human extinction becomes a reality.
Is this another bogus “end of the world prophecy” that we are too used to seeing in the media?
No, I am not referring to any religious belief or superstition that uses fear mongering to control people.
Nor am I referring to some political agenda for depopulating the earth (though there are indications that can serve as evidence of it being carried out in some places).
Rather, there is scientific reason to raise this concern (which isn’t new by any means).
The signs are everywhere, both close to home and abroad.
Some signs are gradual, such as rising sea levels and temperatures, which are slowly killing coral reefs and flooding low-lying coastal settlements; they are so imperceptible that many of us miss them as we go about our hustle and bustle of life.
Other signs occur suddenly in a big way, whether in terms of extreme storms or heat waves or some other natural disasters, which can result in casualties.
As another writer has observed in her blog:
“What can we reasonably expect to see every year for the next ten years?
More heatwaves like in Japan. More wildfires like in Greece and California.
More crop failures like in the UK and Australia. The big dry will continue.
The flooding will continue.
Food and water will continue to be just out of the reach of those who need it most.
Millions of people will be displaced by sea level rise or some other climate related catastrophe.
If the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior, the next ten years do not look promising.”
Some people may continue to ignore these signs.
Some people may dismiss efforts by individuals and companies in recycling, reusing or reducing waste.
(After all, it has been said that privilege is when you think something is not a problem because you aren’t affected personally.)
But I find it rather ironic that many people would choose to observe the signs of the stock market et al than pay attention to the signs of the environmental crises.
No doubt, following the stock market accurately may bring them and their families material wealth through investment.
But the environmental crises affect us all – humans, animals, plants, the entire planet.
Also, some people are willing to pay thousands of dollars to learn all kinds of persuasion skills to sell products and services and make more money.
(I suppose there is a place for that, so long as we are in this unsustainable capitalistic economic system, and it depends on how we utilise that, if we choose to do so.)
But I think that the environmental issues require no persuasion skills.
I have nothing to sell by highlighting environmental crises, and I have no persuasion methods to employ, except to present these evidences as they are.
I also have nothing to gain, except perhaps the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing Nature preserved and conserved just a little bit more, a little bit longer.