Religious leaders in Lebanon asked their followers to pray for rain around the same time Rabbis in Jerusalem were doing the same. Only Orthodox Jews were asked to take their immolation to the next level by fasting.
Throughout the Middle East, but especially in the Levant, the heat has barely eased its summer routine, causing all kinds of havoc. Vegetables prices have doubled and even tripled according to NPR, the dairy industry is melting under crisis, and fauna and flora are shifting their habits with the changing climes.As climate talks in Cancun come to a close, with little if any significant changes to write home about given the largest polluters’ unwillingness to compromise their carbon lifestyle, other countries are suffering the consequence of inaction.
NPR’s Steve Inskeep hosted Lourdes Garcia-Navarro’s report that November has come and gone with no rain. Lebanon enjoyed a brief respite but all signs point for an increasingly arid winter throughout the region.
One farmer in Jerusalem told Garcia-Navarro that apples, potatoes, cucumbers and fruit are particularly expensive because there isn’t enough water. The Israeli government rations its water, so if more is used, farmers are charged extra. These costs are inevitably passed on to the consumer.
Tomatoes are $4 a kilo, double the normal price – a phenomenon that was predicted months ago – while the price of potatoes has tripled.
Eitan Edri explained to one of the most respected liberal radio stations in the United States that the country is facing one of its worst butter crises because of the higher temperatures. Cows produce only half of what they would in cooler temperatures.
And the co-founder of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory said that the heat also takes a toll on fauna and flora. Desert birds are differing, he told NPR, many northward, such that they are seeing birds in the Mediterranean region that would not normally appear. Recently they saw the desert swallow, whose presence in Jerusalem is said to be a sure indicator of worrying climate change.
For those who are living in winter, we urge you to wear extra sweaters, keep the heat low, and seal off any heat-escaping cracks in your home; if summer still hasn’t left, try to avoid using air-conditioning. Reducing energy consumption and increasing efficiency are two small but significant ways that we can all help to slow down the effects of climate change.
But we have to act now, because climate change has arrived.
More on heat and produce in the Middle East:
image via Zachi Evenor