I won't see that kind of life ever again.
March 22, 2019 3:02 PM   Subscribe

The Floods Are Coming: Climate Refugees in Bangladesh (42½min video) “An estimated 2000 people arrive in Dhaka every day. During monsoon season, the number rises to 4000 a day.”
posted by XMLicious (19 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
"And what’s happening in Bangladesh is only the beginning. Before long, every country in the world will begin to notice the effects of rising sea levels."

*Gulp*
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 3:07 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Global warming is a myth. Oh wait...

We're well past the Told You So moment. What we do next is going to be more expensive than what we thought doing something would cost.
posted by Chuffy at 3:30 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


What we do next is going to be more expensive than what we thought doing something would cost.

What's happening in Bangladesh is based on fossil fuel GHGs human beings emitted into the atmosphere before there was even broad consensus about climate change about 30 years ago.
posted by JamesBay at 3:44 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


An... interesting dimension of it is how many of the most “well-off” refugees (extreeeemely relative term, of course) work in the textile industry in Dhaka. I wonder how much of the relocation of the bottom end of the global textile industry to Bangladesh, and hence our continuing ability to buy cheap clothing despite rising standards of living in the parts of East Asia formerly preeminent in that sector, has been driven-slash-enabled by climate change and all those farmers and fishermen consequently losing their livelihoods.
posted by XMLicious at 3:53 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


Subsistence or cash crop farming is not very economically productive. While the working conditions may not be great (or very good at all), as those of us in the Global North have experienced, urbanization tends to improve economic outcomes. Not that that makes the condition of being a climate refugee any better, though. It's just that urbanization is occurring all over the world -- and has been occurring for at least the past century -- without the added incentive of sea level rise.
posted by JamesBay at 4:19 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


What's happening in Bangladesh is based on fossil fuel GHGs human beings emitted into the atmosphere before there was even broad consensus about climate change about 30 years ago.

There was enough consensus about large-scale atmospheric changes we were causing to successfully, if temporarily, deal with ozone depletion during the 1990s.

The degree of consensus at any given point in history doesn't change the fact that it would have cost much less if Ronald Reagan, for example, had taken preserving the environment seriously rather than ripping the solar panels off the roof of the White House, or simply if we'd gotten our shit together and gone further during the 1990s, even just with mitigation efforts and, say, fortified New Orleans and compelled a stop to oil-company-caused coastal erosion on the Gulf ahead of Hurricane Katrina.

But even beyond that, do you have a cite for your claim that the current sea-level rise and other effects described in the documentary were locked in for Bangladesh in 1989, based entirely on GHG emissions up to that point, when for example China was still focusing on having its state enterprises manufacture bicycles en masse? It seems unlikely to me at first glance, though I'm just a layperson who has read large portions of a couple IPCC reports.
posted by XMLicious at 4:25 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


I also don't think that it's true that “urbanization tends to improve economic outcomes” regardless of the cause of the urbanization; to reach that conclusion you have to prioritize the economic interest of the factory owners who get the cheap cheap refugee labor, and discount the economic interest of—for example—the farmers in this documentary who talk about the hectares of farmland they've lost.
posted by XMLicious at 4:34 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


But even beyond that, do you have a cite for your claim that the current sea-level rise and other effects described in the documentary were locked in for Bangladesh in 1989

Sure, if you can provide a citation that all of the climate change, including sea level rise, is attributable to GHG emitted after 1989.

My point is, this sea level rise was already locked in. Because we haven't done anything over the past 30 years, it's just going to get much worse.
posted by JamesBay at 4:41 PM on March 22


@XMLicious

I think those claims come from stuff like this and this.

It's not that improved outcomes are uniformly shared with urbanity, but both the mean and the median improve.

Also while there may have been actionable steps in the 1990s, it was probably true that a non-trivial amount of environmental damage was done beforehand.

And given the behavior of our leaders over the intervening 30 years, this fact could be seen fatalistically, as a moot point.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 7:35 PM on March 22


It's not a moot point because even when the objective is claiming that there was nothing that could have been done during the past 30 years for older people like myself to excuse our own inaction, perpetuating falsehoods like that also serve as propaganda for those who want to again do nothing in the future and who will want to turn away climate refugees from developed nations as the victims of some act of God while conveniently ignoring our own culpability in their plight.

We need to lay the moral foundations now to give our societies the strength they will need to embrace the massive influx of climate refugees in the coming decades without turning their precarity into an opportunity for (more) crimes against humanity.

Anyone who can look at Reasonably Everything Happens' first link chart there as a layperson and offhandedly pretend they know, for shits and giggles and rhetorical advantage in an internet conversation, that there would be no material difference between that and a chart where all those trend lines took a sharp downwards turn in 1989 or just levelled off for that matter, should be ashamed of their half-assed pretentiousness.

We are not doomed and we have never been doomed or helpless: what we have been is stupid and petty and craven and timid about holding wealth to account. And that will have to change. Make no mistake that mealymouthed fatalism is just helping rich people who will run off laughing to build mansions in Siberia and the Canadian Arctic, and is actively working against these most vulnerable people depicted in the OP documentary.
posted by XMLicious at 4:38 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


Subsistence or cash crop farming is not very economically productive. While the working conditions may not be great (or very good at all), as those of us in the Global North have experienced, urbanization tends to improve economic outcomes.

I mean. A bunch of people whose livelihood used to be outside the recorded, cash economy are now working within the cash economy. So "economic productivity" has increased. That says nothing - one way or the other - about those people's quality of life, happiness, ability to meet their nutrition needs, other health outcomes, etc.
posted by eviemath at 6:07 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


I'd argue that obsession with economic productivity is, at base, what got us into this mess.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:22 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


@JamesBay, what exactly is the point of arguing that the sea level rise was "already locked in?" Is there something useful we can gain from that knowledge, either way? Or are you just saying it was already too late before most MeFites were old enough to know about it?

When I'm feeling down, I propose that it's far past time to worry about whether climate change has anything to do with human activity, and completely de-industrialize while also wholesale ceasing human reproduction so our wasteful and parasitical species can die out in shame, leaving the flooded, overheated planet to something that will appreciate it.

Something along the lines of that Ringworld bacteria that eats all the plastic would probably help.

Only when I'm feeling down though.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:28 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


WRT Carter/Reagan:

Here is what Carter predicted at the dedication ceremony: "In the year 2000 this solar water heater behind me, which is being dedicated today, will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy…. A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people."

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carter-white-house-solar-panel-array/
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:15 AM on March 23 [8 favorites]


Bangladesh is the way it is because there’s enough food supply in that corner of Asia to support unlimited population growth.

With rice and fish, what else do you need?
birth rate vs. life expectancy, 1960 - 2016

Subsistence means there’s no wealth accretion, what is produced is what is consumed.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:26 AM on March 23


PRI's The World“How aid groups are adapting to deal with increased extreme weather”–primarily concerning Mozambique and the US MidWest, as the flood regions of the day
posted by XMLicious at 7:04 AM on March 24


Bangladesh is the way it is because there’s enough food supply in that corner of Asia to support unlimited population growth.

cant_tell_if_serious.gif
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:02 PM on March 25


Bangladesh is the way it is because there’s enough food supply in that corner of Asia to support unlimited population growth.

Growth Rates explainer.

Relatedly: "unlimited" means without limit, as in, not finite. The observant reader will note, hopefully, that the entire Earth system, while large, is composed of a finite amount of mass.
posted by eviemath at 5:55 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Well I just watched a documentary from a couple of years ago called The Himalaya Connection (related article) which says that, in addition to sea level rise and the other effects of climate change mentioned in the OP, Bangladesh and the nearby Seven Sisters provinces of India are at substantially greater risk of earthquakes than previously thought to be, according to geoscientific research in recent years.
posted by XMLicious at 9:24 AM on April 11


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