This summer, many parts of our planet are suffering brutal heatwaves, bringing us face to face with the by-product of capitalist production for profit – climate disruption.
In late May, Shanghai, China’s largest city, hit a high of 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), the warmest recorded temperature in 100 years. This broke the previous record by one full degree. Then, on June 21, Beijing broke a 60-year-old record with a high of 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius)!
In Panama, officials are weighing restrictions on the size and weight of ships entering the Panama Canal due to low water levels in Gatun Lake, the largest man-made lake in the world. The lake, which feeds the huge locks that move ships into and out of the canal, is at record low levels because of a drought in Panama. The drought is also straining water supplies for Panama City, the nation’s nearby capital.
In Texas and Mexico, a massive heatwave has lingered for more than two weeks and made outdoor activity of any sort dangerous for humans. Major cities like Austin and San Antonio have had consecutive days with 100-degree-Fahrenheit temperatures (37 degrees Celsius) while Houston has come in at just below 100. A small town called San Angelo hit an almost unthinkable 114 degrees (almost 45 degrees Celsius) two days in a row!
In South and Southeast Asia, parts of Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, and India all saw highs of 113 degrees Fahrenheit in recent days.
Many climatologists are estimating that 2023 may be the warmest year on record, a distinction previously held by 2016. This becomes even more likely if the predicted El Niño weather pattern takes effect in the second half of the year, which will likely add to the preexisting trend.
As the world heats up, the domino effects could become more severe year by year. We’re already seeing the warning signs: wetter rainstorms, prolonged and deeper droughts, more severe and widespread tornadoes, stronger monsoons, hotter heatwaves, glacial melting, slow but persistent sea level increases, increased and more destructive forest fires.
Capitalism is pushing our earth and humanity to the brink.