The strongest typhoon ever to make landfall in recorded human history – so strong that if there was a Category 6, it would have fallen squarely in that box – is not a natural disaster. Instead, the Philippines’ lead negotiator to the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Yeb Sano, has firmly linked the devastation in his country to climate change.
So why aren’t more of the corporate media highlighting this crucial angle? Is it because the corporate sector is responsible for a lot of the greenhouse gas emissions?
In an impassioned address, Sano stressed:
We must stop calling events like these as natural disasters. It is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and gets battered by the onslaught of a monster storm now considered as the strongest storm ever to hit land. It is not natural when science already tells us that global warming will induce more intense storms. It is not natural when the human species has already profoundly changed the climate.
Disasters are never natural. They are the intersection of factors other than physical. They are the accumulation of the constant breach of economic, social, and environmental thresholds. Most of the time disasters are a result of inequity and the poorest people of the world are at greatest risk because of their vulnerability and decades of maldevelopment, which I must assert is connected to the kind of pursuit of economic growth that dominates the world; the same kind of pursuit of so-called economic growth and unsustainable consumption that has altered the climate system.
See the full text of his speech on the Aliran website.