In case you missed it, this was the footage of the swirling flood waters at the Bahamas International Airport at Freeport unleashed by Hurricane Dorian, which flooded much of the island. The runway was said to have been submerged by about five feet of water.
It was a wet and powerful hurricane moving slowly across the region with wind speeds of up to 220 miles per hour – typical of extreme weather events during this era of climate change.
I am putting up this video because here in Penang, we hardly factor in climate change and rising sea levels in our development planning – and if we do, it seems to be mostly lip service. Nor do we think about rising sea levels and how it will affect our coastal areas.
Instead, we continue to build more highways that will unleash more more greenhouse gas emissions and aggravate climate change. We continue to reclaim more and more land, even though the total fertility rate of 1.4 children per woman for Penang in 2017 is now well below the population replacement rate of 2.1 children.
Meanwhile, our local fishermen found this rare loggerhead turtle about 500 metres from Pulau Kendi off the southwestern coast of Penang Island.
This is a sign that we have so much to protect in the reclamation zone in south Penang Island – not just fisheries but also green turtles, the endangered olive ridley turtles and now the rare loggerhead turtles.
Unfortunately those pushing for massive reclamation are unable to fathom all this as they are blinded by big ringgit signs and a misguided notion of what constitutes real development.
The Penang state government has said it is only willing to discuss the reclamation with those directly affected ie the fishermen – and not NGOs (though then opposition politicians didn’t mind consulting Penang-based NGO activists about Penang issues ahead of the 2008 general election).
More importantly, I am curious to know how the state government leaders are going to consult the turtles and other marine life that are going to be directly hit by this project.