SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 13, 2014

Letter: Climate change hits Bangladesh

To the editor:

It’s nice for Barbara Anderson (“On global warming, natural disasters and plastic bags,” May 8) that she can have a laugh at the expense of Bangladeshis and gets to skewer American liberals in the process. Bangladesh is a miraculous, but sobering, place. Roughly 150 million people live in an area about the size of New England, 70 percent of which goes under water during the wet season.

Like Ms. Anderson, before visiting and working with my Bangladeshi colleagues, I thought the major challenge Bangladeshis face was rising sea level. In fact, spending the rainy season dealing with high water is a way of life; the critical issue for Bangladeshis is that climate change is rendering useless their traditional knowledge of when the rains will start and when they will end. Because climate change is altering these previously stable patterns, more and more Bangladeshis will starve — the result of no longer being able to predict the best times to plant and harvest.

Bangladesh is a vibrant and extraordinary country, but one that is on the front lines of global social and environmental challenges. Ms. Anderson really should be wondering if the conditions there represent New England’s past, or our future.

Dano Weisbord

ActionAid International

London

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