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The NBC Nightly News featured a report that showed how much is at stake in Copenhagen. The 20 million of people in southern Bangladesh are in jeopardy of becoming early victims of Global Warming.

In Bangladesh, climate change refugees flee to cities

By Ian Williams

‘Global destabilization’
If climate change does lead to a 3-foot rise in sea levels around Bangladesh by mid-century, as some scientists predict, then Shelim's story could echo those of 20 million climate change refugees here. It's an aspect of global warming that's only now being more fully appreciated, but which Atiq Rahman, the country's leading environmentalist, calls one of the biggest threats facing not only Bangladesh, but the world.
"There will be global destabilization of populations," he told me. "The poor will be the most affected. They'll have very little to lose once they've lost their land."

As the sea levels rise the fertile, densely populated, low lying delta region bordering the Bay of Bengal is experiencing more frequent floods.    

Floods that are also increasing in severity, wrecking homes, saturating farmers' fields with salt water rendering the land infertile, and contaminating well water.

These are very poor people, in a very poor country. Bangladeshis have a per capita income of just $480 US.

In Dhaka, the impact is already being felt, with some half a million migrants arriving in the city each year. That's about the population of Washington, D.C., pouring mostly into squalid slums. The biggest reason for moving is environmental degradation.
"People are moving, being displaced forcibly, because of climate factors," according to Rabab Fatima, the Dhaka-based representative of the International Organization for Migration.

Dhaka (Pop. 12+ million) is reeling from this influx of climate refugees with about 1,370 new migrants arriving each day. In many cases these people have lost all their possessions in a flood. These destitute migrants were the lucky ones because they survived the floods.

Neighboring India fears climate refugees spilling over their border with Bangladesh.

This area borders India, where the authorities are building a border barrier, a high fence of reinforced barbed wire that cuts through the paddy fields. Soon it will completely encircle Bangladesh, 2,100 miles of it.
International migration, millions of poor and desperate people pouring across borders, is a sensitive subject here, but it is clearly one factor in India's thinking. The fence is due to be completed by March next year.

This is a preview of the kind of things we can expect to see a lot more of in the future, if we in the rich world can't make a concerted effort to change how we consume and produce energy.

"(Climate change) here is a matter of life and death for the communities, for the people, for the ecosystem," Rahman says. "In the West it is an issue of minor lifestyle changes."

I have to agree with Atiq Rahman. How much worse global warming becomes largely depends on how quickly people in the rich word reduce their appetite for fossil fuel consumption. Unlike Bangladeshis climate Change hasn't become a life or death issue for Americans....yet.

NBC News deserves an Emmey for this report IMHO. Take a couple minutes to watch the video.

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 10:29 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Americans need to see results of Climate Change (22+ / 0-)

    and NBC did a wonderful job of showing us poor vulnerable people at risk from Climate Change, if we Americans don't act.

    "These old Wall Street boys are putting up an awful fight to keep the government from putting a cop on their corner." - Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 10:23:34 PM PST

    •  And China, but China seems to be acting. (6+ / 0-)

      Internally anyway.  They seem to realize at some level that the current rate of fossil fuel use is unsustainable.  Maybe from the very perceivable pollution level. This is probably going to result (or is already) in their development of green alternatives to sell back to us.

      We know this already, and have the means to develop alternatives, but will we?

      Thanks for the diary.

      "I'm mean in the East, mean in the West. Mean to the people that I like best. ... I push folks down, and I cause train wrecks." Woody Guthrie

      by Terra Mystica on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:50:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've read China's urban air pollution is awfal (5+ / 0-)

        Like the U.S. did, the Chinese have found out the hard way they NEED environmental protections.

        Then there's what's happening to the sources of China's great rivers: Breaking apart: Himalayan glaciers  

        "These old Wall Street boys are putting up an awful fight to keep the government from putting a cop on their corner." - Will Rogers

        by Lefty Coaster on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 12:04:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's where a dictatorship... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RunawayRose, spiraltn, Terra Mystica

          actually has advantages, unfortunately, over our Representative Democracy. They decide to do something about climate change and do it. It doesn't stall and get defeated by the Oil and coal lobby and a bunch of idiotic scientific illiterates like James Inhofe.

          So I guess what I'm saying is, now that we're in power, we should have a dictatorship....what? what I say?

          j/k but it is a cruel irony.

          Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

          by priceman on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 03:08:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I fear there is a cult in the US that would (0+ / 0-)

      applaud the building of that wall and letting them all drown. Now how do we wrest power away from that cult? If we cannot change them, (and clearly we cannot) we have to render them impotent.

      "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." ~JFK

      by spiraltn on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 05:05:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's no time to worry about (5+ / 0-)

    climate change. It's all being debunked anyway.

    And besides, all our attention should be focused on the great danger to the USA: the people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Malaysia, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia who might get their hands on "loose nukes."

    [I didn't mean a word of it, I'm just feeling so bitter right now.]

    Good diary!

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 10:52:57 PM PST

  •  It is because we were warned, but were prevented (7+ / 0-)

    and are still being prevented from acting, that when things like this happen, the whole population of Australia is 20 million people also, that I call those standing in the way:
    Climaticidal Maniacs

    There is no excuse for failing to insure us against these occurances as we have known about this problem for over 30 years, and those who could worked to deny, delay, deceive over the science. They STOPPED any effort to change our destructive production processes of using carbon based fuels into something more benign because they thought of it first and controlled it for money and power.

    Human nature at its worst. So many not given the chance to choose the future we wanted is what makes it worse.

    Those folks who are trying to get in the way of progress - let me tell you, I'm just getting started. I don't quit. I'm not tired; I'm just getting started.

    by Unenergy on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 10:59:49 PM PST

  •  Sadly we need to be concentrating on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenchiledem, spiraltn

    How to deal with these effects moreso than anything else.  Here's a clue: too late.

    Yes reduce carbon emmissions. But frankly for every dollar spent on that there ought to be dollar spent on adjusting and sealing with the geographic , economic and ecological changes that WILL result. It's too late to stop it. For every dollar spent on developing alternative fuels/energy, we ought to be figuring out how to remove salt from land needed for agriculture, for example.

    I live in  FL but inland. Coastal communities needs to assume WHEN not IF.

    What we're doing re: climate change is only 1/2 the picture. It's like trying to figure out how to stop a hurricane instead of stocking up on water and batteries. Sort of. Ok bad analogy. But you get the point. These things are happening. It will get worse no matter how agressive our efforts to reduce carbon emmission so IMO we need to both reduce emmissions AND plan for the fallout such as in bangledesh.

  •  many people hear the words (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Lefty Coaster

    "sea level rise" and think about having to pick up their beach towels and move back a few feet as the tide comes in. The picture we have to paint is this: wells contaminated with salt water; crop land loss, not because it's underwater 24/7 but because the water table has rendered it sterile; loss of fresh water intakeson rivers and tributaries as the salt/fresh mix moves inward.

    "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." ~JFK

    by spiraltn on Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 04:58:58 AM PST

  •  Climate Refugees - The Movie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A friend of mine helped produce the documentary movie and bring attention to the plight of climate refugees. I have followed the film and it now displays online that it is an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2010.  From the Climate Refugees the Movie (

    There is a new phenomenon in the global arena called "Climate Refugees". A climate refugee is a person displaced by climatically induced environmental disasters. Such disasters result from incremental and rapid ecological change, resulting in increased droughts, desertification, sea level rise, and the more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, cyclones, fires, mass flooding and tornadoes. All this is causing mass global migration and border conflicts. For the first time, the Pentagon now considers climate change a national security risk and the term climate wars is being talked about in war-room like environments in Washington D.C.

    I missed the NBC presentation but will try to catch up. I am glad to see traditional media paying some attention. I recall the island nation that recently held a government session underwater to gain attention to this global problem. Thanks for the story Lefty Coaster.

  •  Cross-border terrorism was the reason (0+ / 0-)
    India started building the border fence.

    November 13, 2005
    India fences off Bangladesh to keep out Muslim terror

    Dean Nelson, Dhaka

    INDIA is accelerating the construction of a 2,500-mile fence to seal its border with Bangladesh amid growing fears that its Muslim neighbour could become "a new Afghanistan".

    Indian officials and western diplomats have been alarmed by an increase in terrorist attacks by militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda and by the Dhaka government's failure to crack down on them.

    One group said to have links with the government claimed responsibility for 500 synchronised explosions in 63 of Bangladesh's 64 districts in August.

    India's cabinet has decided to speed up work on the 8ft security fence, which is intended to keep out terrorists and arms smugglers.

    There are  many Islamic/Pakistani terrorist groups operating in and out of Bangladesh. Open border therefore becomes an existential threat to India.

    Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

    by iceweasel on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 01:35:09 PM PST

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