Increasing inequalities: climate change, biodiversity, forests



Inequalities, climate change, Madagascar, forests, national parks, fire alerts, conservation


In a world that is increasingly hot and suffering from global warming, or rather, global weirding, as it is not just the temperatures that are climbing but weather events that are turning “weird”, as we have seen just this year with increased and prolonged rainfalls causing floods, earlier storm seasons with increased frequency of stronger and more severe storms, longer fire seasons with increased extreme fire weather and forest fires, or extended droughts. One such drought has been and still is affecting the southern portion of Madagascar. The region is experiencing the worst drought in four decades (FAO 2021a). A million people are on the brink of starvation. Is this drought due to climate change? Interesting to note in this context, is the fact that while Joe Biden gets cited in the news all over the World linking the Kentucky tornado with increasing temperatures, associating the current drought in Southern Madagascar has been formally excluded from an effect of climate change (Harrington et al. 2021). Worth noting here but not surprisingly, the Madagascar drought got very little global coverage. Both events cannot yet scientifically establish a causal link with climate change. While the tornado is referred to as a tragedy, the Madagascar drought is exacerbating the suffering of an already structurally impoverished region. Water levels are sinking. Lands are drying. Food is getting scares. Drinking water is getting scares. Reliable climate data are often lacking—as in most countries in the global south—weather stations are isolated and few and far between. There is a pressing need to strengthen the research capacities in Madagascar to face climate change, with support from wealthier countries (Schiermeier 2021). Worse, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the government has restricted flights to Madagascar, which is also affecting critical humanitarian cargo to relieve the suffering. To top this off, FAO analyses predict an increased vulnerability to locust plague in the same region during the locust’s migration period, from November 2021 to March 2022 (FAO 2021b).


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Giant jumping rat (Hypogeomis antimena) found only in the Menabe forests. Photo courtesy of Harald Schütz