My Home is Drowning

Shanghai--a+bustling+city+that+could+one+day+be+under+water+because+of+climate+change.

A. Guo

Shanghai–a bustling city that could one day be under water because of climate change.

A. Guo, Ass. Editor-in-Chief

Today, Shanghai is home to 26.3 million people and three of those are people I call family. In 31 years these people’s homes and 120 million more will disappear under the sea, and the only people to blame will be ourselves.

The climate crisis shows no mercy in new predictions made for cities underwater in 2050. Not only Shanghai, but other cities like Miami (U.S.), Bangkok (Thailand), Osaka (Japan), Mumbai (India), Alexandria (Egypt), Basra (Iraq), and almost all of South Vietnam are predicted to be land below the high-tide line in about three decades. This means that if global warming keeps continuing as it is now, all these cities will be gone in an alarmingly short amount of time! 

We often think of climate change as a very long term and slow effect that we will never experience. We think of the glaciers and ice melting at the poles of the earth, but we have never considered the real damage it will do to us and how fast the damage will come -and how it already has. Carly Barello, secretary of Environmental Club at Green Level, says, “Climate change has increased the intensity of natural disasters such as hurricanes. Although we’re lucky enough to live inland enough to avoid serious damage, many people living on our coastlines have been severely impacted by the heightened intensity of recent hurricanes.” 

In fact, climate change kills more than 250,000 people every single year and this does not even include deaths caused by extreme weather and climate events like Barello mentioned. This already concerning number is only expected to grow if we continue to release the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the air that we are today. 

My 姥姥 (grandma), 小姨 (aunt), and 小姨夫 (uncle-in-law) all live in a cozy apartment a distance away from the bustling city filled with rich Chinese culture. There are countless stores to window shop, hundreds of shaved ice stands for cooling off in the summer, and restaurants that grumble your stomach for every step you take.

It’s difficult for me to imagine my second home gone. It’s even more difficult for me to imagine my second home gone because of ignorant, selfish, money-and-power-hungry men who would earn a million dollars more even if it meant for a city to drown. 

Climate change is only getting closer to our homes and loved ones. It must be our job to raise awareness among our community about the lives that are being taken, cities that are being sunk, so these big and rich corporations are able to find their own humanity. Barello says, “It’s important to take notice and to avoid being indifferent to the problem because, without action, such as action in our daily lifestyle/community, our environmental issues will continue to intensify.” We can’t let our world be taken down by those who lack empathy so easily.