by Flor Lacanilao
Climate scientists have been warning about "the risk for big storms and serious flooding in New York" for the past 12 years. Perhaps this warnings -- together with the accurate, timely weather forecasts, and excellent preparation, like early evacuation -- have prevented more deaths, despite the biggest to hit the U.S.
Death toll is less than 100. Compare that total deaths with those of our much less powerful typhoons -- like the 2009 Ondoy with 280 and the 2011 Sendong, said to be nearly 1,500 -- and the figures will tell you how much work we need to do seriously and capably.
With the inevitable and increasing destruction from changing climate, like the superstorm, our governments and the public have only to depend on the important role of scientists and media people. Best and worst examples of these are seen in, respectively, developed and underdeveloped countries.
One role of the scientists is to explain the nature and processes of climate change and related events, like those seen below.
In their job, crucial for the media people is to know first who the scientists are, so they can be effective in informing their readers with useful information. This will help the government and the public to effectively prepare for, and to lessen, the impacts and damage to property and human life.
Three examples are shown below: in an article by a climate scientist and two news reports -- by an international and a local media.
Kevin Trenberth, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which he shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, discusses -- in Super storm Sandy (Scientist, October 31, 2012) -- the relations between climate change and the destructive hurricane. Knowing the different key information in these events is important in designing ways of adapting to their impacts.
In the Associated Press release -- Scientists Look At Weather Pattern (in Manila Bulletin, Nov 1, 2012) -- three reporters name seven distinguished climate scientists, led by Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University. They brief the readers on various aspects of climate change and the superstorm Sandy. Like the preceding science article, useful information on climate change and for adaptation measures is given.
A typical example of a news report on climate-related issue from local media is Reclaiming land seen as measure to deal with climate change (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Nov 1, 2012). It does not name any scientist or give evidence-based (properly published) information. It cites a government Bureau Director, a Department Secretary, an architect, a government reclamation agency, and the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Science (NIGS).
No scientist is mentioned, although there are 2 or 3 at NIGS, who have contributed useful popular articles, views, and advice on climate-related issues and disasters. Recent active contributor is Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay.
Change of doing things is long over due, for those working and reporting on natural disasters facing our country. Increasing loss of human life and damage to property from climate-related events call for more determined action -- with the right people in charge (Put right people in charge of science, education (PDI Oct 20, 2011).
Retired professor of marine science
University of the Philippines Diliman
Popular posts from this blog
President Obama has been touting a school in New York City. It is a school in Brooklyn called " Pathways in Technology Early College High School ". It is a school that offers Grades 9-14, six years of high school. It is a program that adds career or college-readiness to the United States K-12 education system. The school's additional two years are heavy on co-op and internships. Mentors from industry like International Business Machines (IBM) are part of Grades 13 and 14. Above is a screen capture of the New York Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/obama-heads-brooklyn-tour-p-tech-school-article-1.1496651 When the high school graduation rate is an issue of concern, adding years to basic education must come with a strong incentive. The additional years must provide sufficient reason for parents and students to bear the additional years. For taxpayers, additional years in public schools must be justified as well. The school still has to graduate it
MGA TANONG AT SAGOT HINGGIL SA Kto12 PROGRAM NG GOBYERNO NG PILIPINAS Posted on May 28, 2012 by David Michael San Juan MGA TANONG AT SAGOT HINGGIL SA Kto12 PROGRAM NG GOBYERNO NG PILIPINAS (Paunawa: Simpleng lenggwahe ang ginamit sa artikulong ito upang madaling maintindihan ng mayorya.) For the full English version please visit http://www.scribd.com/david_juan_1/d/70033985-San-Juan-David-Michael-Full-Paper-Kto12 TANONG: ANO ANG KTO12 PROGRAM? SAGOT: Ang Kto12 Program ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas ay tumutukoy sa pagkakaroon ng mandatory o required na kindergarten at karagdagang 2 taon sa dating 10-year Basic Education Cycle. Kung noon, pagkatapos ng anim na taon sa elementarya at apat na taon sa hayskul (kabuuang 10 taon) ay maaari nang makapagkolehiyo ang mga estudyante. Sa ilalim ng Kto12, bago makapagkolehiyo, kailangan pa nilang dumaan sa karagdagang 2 taon pagkatapos ng apat na taong hayskul. Sa bagong sistema, tinatawag na senior high school o junior
There is information to be gained from data. Tests in schools can be informative. Scores of students provide a quick glimpse of the current state of education. Thus, it is useful to have these numbers. These numbers may not tell everything in detail with high accuracy. Nevertheless, test results allow for a useful perspective. The National Achievement Test administered by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines, a set of standardized tests addressing the major subjects taught in school, is an example. These tests are given to Grade 3 where students are assessed in both English and Filipino (These two subjects comprise two thirds of the exam) and Math and Science (These two account for the remaining one third). A different set of tests is given to Grade 6 pupils where each of the following 5 subjects is assigned 40 items: (Science, Math, English, Filipino and Social Studies). Another set is administered to fourth year high school students (This is currently the last year