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D'Casa Destinations - Amigos de Sian Ka'an

Climate Changes

By Gonzalo Merediz Alonso

The 2021 hurricane season is over. This year, in the Yucatan peninsula, we did well. We really did not have significant effects. It was not the same in the now famous, for many reasons, the year 2020 when several tropical storms and hurricanes impacted the Yucatan Peninsula and other regions of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic. Each year 21 male and female names are designated to identify Atlantic cyclones. When that number is exceeded, the letters of the Greek alphabet are used. That case had occurred only once in 170 years: in the 2005 season that had 5 storms that were named with a Greek letter. Fifteen years later, history repeats itself as we had a parade of 9 storms and hurricanes with Greek names: from Alfa to Iota.

Atlantic hurricanes began to be recorded systematically in the 1850s when there were no more than five storms per year. Since then, the annual number shows an uninterrupted increasing trend. It was not until the early 1930s that twenty storms per year were exceeded, which did not occur again for three decades. Since then, that limit has been exceeded a dozen times, including 2005 when, for the only time, until 2020, the barrier of 30 was exceeded. Such a clear pattern of increase in the number of hurricanes, not to mention Its also increasing intensity, coincides with the trends of planetary warming caused by the increasingly high levels of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere, a product of human activity.

In this case, as in many others, we can see a clear effect of the harmful culture of perceiving environmental conservation as dissociated, and even at odds, with development. Nothing more wrong. The lack of environmental foresight that is generating climate change has a real cost. The 2005 cyclones alone generated losses greater than US $ 171 billion. Hurricane Wilma paralyzed Cancun's tourism activity completely for months. The cyclones of 2020 cost more than $ 50 billion. All this, without counting the human tragedy that represents the loss of life, property and infrastructure.

The massive arrival of sargassum to the Mexican Caribbean since 2015 also seems to be linked to higher sea temperatures due to climate change and ocean pollution. To this must be added the severe effects of COVID-19, whose origin seems to be in bad environmental practices of wildlife management. The most serious economic crises in our tourist region and in the world, arise from environmental problems of human origin. We are experiencing concrete and unexpected impacts in our daily lives and economies. If we do not see the relevance of environmental conservation for stable economic and social development, who knows what other surprises the future may bring us.

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