What spells catastrophe for some may well spell economic boom for others. Joe Friesen reports in the Globe and Mail that “[t]he Kapitan Sviridov docked in Churchill, Man., yesterday morning, having sailed from Estonia loaded with bags of fertilizer destined for sale to North American farmers. It’s the first time the port has accepted imports from Russia.” That’s right, the changing Arctic climate will mean the Port of Churchill will become more famous for shipping than polar bear sight-seeing.
Who’s to say this is a bad thing? Well people in Bangladesh, for instance. In a report by Gary Braasch, he says that the “[w]orld Bank reported in 2001 [a] sea level ris[e] [of] about 3 mm [per] year in the Bay of Bengal. It warned of loss of Bengal tigers in the Sundarbans, [the]worlds largest mangrove forest, and threats to hundreds of bird species. [Fifteen] to 20 percent of Bangladesh is within one meter of sea level. This means [the] predicted sea level rise, at a rate that is increasing, will not only affect millions of people — estimates are 13 to 30 million — but will also flood out much rice production. The World Bank warned of a decline of rice crop up to 30 percent with predicted sea level rise. This is not a one-time event that sometime in the future will affect so many. It is a constant process of ever higher tides which affects more and more people even in time of lower river flow and good weather.”
It’s one thing to pursue a commercial benefit. However, when others must suffer and die, isn’t there a moral imperative we are ignoring?