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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

Extreme Weather Events: Droughts Around the World, Part 1 of 3

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As the world warms, Earth’s climate has been undergoing intense heat waves caused by the increased chance of extremely hot days and nights. Warming air also boosts the evaporation of surface water, thus worsening the effects of droughts. More droughts create dry fields and forests that are prone to catching fire, so increased global temperatures mean longer wildfire seasons around the world. Droughts affect more people globally than any other natural disaster, because droughts don’t come and go like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires and their start might even be mistaken for a bit of a dry spell; however, the impact of droughts builds over time. Significantly, climate change has made droughts more frequent and intense. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year an estimated 55 million people globally are affected by droughts, which are the most serious hazards to crops in nearly every part of the world. Water is one of the greatest global risks we are facing this century. One third of the world’s 7.4 billion people live in water-stress areas. One billion people live without access to safe drinking water. The western United States is experiencing a historic “megadrought” — an ongoing period of arid conditions not seen in centuries. Further south in Central America, Chile is also in the midst of what scientists have labeled a megadrought, an uninterrupted period of dry years since 2010. What are the solutions to the current global droughts? Many ways to improve the situation and prevent similar events from happening in the future have been suggested. However, Supreme Master Ching Hai describes the best approach as follows: “Stockholm International Water Institute states that 70% of water is used by agriculture. Of that amount, a lot of it is going into planting corn and soy and that is to feed animals, not humans! That’s why we’re short of water, short of food. Meat industry should be cut. That will help the planet. That will help to reserve our water, to refill our lakes and our rivers again. That is physically and scientifically speaking, I’m not talking about the merit, the bad karmic contribution that we are doing to ourselves by harming others and torturing animals and killing them just to save our stomach. So, if we really want to save the water for the world to be able to use for our daily necessity, not to talk about future generations, then we have to change to a vegetarian diet, animal-free diet. Animal industry must be out.” We pray to Heaven that the United States, Chile and other affected countries quickly find the solutions to the drought conditions and water shortages.
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