Global environmental challenges
American sci-fi blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow warned global audiences about climate change as it showed New York smothered by ice as temperatures plunged worldwide. But the 2004 movie evidently made little impact on growth-crazy Asia, which has gone ahead spewing pollutants without imagining risks that they might disrupt the climate.
This year a group of filmmakers in newly modernised, consumption-happy Taiwan is going to the densely populated western Pacific island’s public with an hour-long alarmist movie showing the world’s second-tallest building Taipei 101 as an island in a flood that has drowned the capital after a reservoir collapses in a freak super-strength typhoon.
The free film with an obvious mission titled “Plus or Minus 2 Degrees Celsius” began showing in late February, reaching at least 11,000 people so far and with dates to screen for more audiences later in the year.
It also shows footage from snowstorms, droughts and other real natural disasters around Asia to rub in its point, which has set off critical debate among Taiwan academics.
Taiwan fisheries flopped to an 18-year low point after Typhoon Morakot flooded much of the low-lying south in August, the island’s Central News Agency told us, casting aquaculture as a victim. Fish farmers, swamped by the stench of their own produce a month after the storm, struggled to recover.
But were farmers also villains?
Taiwan’s Control Yuan, a central government agency that can censure public officials, says in a report this month they were at fault, as were Pingtung county officials who had given permits to only 29 percent of them, ignoring the rest as they pumped groundwater. The use of groundwater for fish farms has sunk surrounding land, leaving villages prone to floods, the report says.