Cyprus in a constant state of wildfire risk
According to a recent UN article, The average temperature of the planet has already risen by roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century, which has largely been caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas for energy. And the consequences of this are being experienced all across the globe.
There have been record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires around the world this summer alone, with an alarming amount of warnings that indicate parts of Europe and North America could be experiencing the worst fire season ever. The important question then arises - how has this affected Cyprus?
The summer that changed everything
Parts of Southern Cyprus have seen record-breaking temperatures this year, which have triggered a series of major wildfires that burned through 50 square kilometres (20 square miles) of forest and orchards, also taking with it what many people once called their homes.
So far this year in Cyprus, the devastating wildfires that burned more acres of agricultural land than has ever been experienced became known as the worst in the island's history.
Climate change plays a role
Heatwaves, droughts and wildfires are issues that are not mutually exclusive. In fact, this summer people are having to confront the link between extreme weather and climate change.
The truth is that the probability of the island experiencing more wildfires in the future is on the rise, we have all personally witnessed this. Yet, while scrolling through social media, people are still as surprised as to how much damage this fire did. It actually isn't so surprising that more and more fires are starting all over the world in areas where they never used to be. We can expect that several large areas of land will catch on fire in just a few years as global warming continues.
Costas Kadis, Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, highlighted in an interview with The Associated Press that the issue is exacerbated by the rural decline as citizens are moving out of their family homes to move into the cities, leaving behind abandoned villages.
It is important to acknowledge that this causes former cultivated areas to be taken over by wild growth which in turn leads to an accumulation of combustible materials.
The increased frequency and duration of heat waves and droughts increase the likelihood of more destructive and frequent fires breaking out. This means that there is no time for forest ecosystems to be able to adapt to their new, natural environment.
There is no disputing that climate change, which results from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas, is driving extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, and wildfires on a global scale. The east Mediterranean is now considered a "global climate change hot spot”, and these events will likely become more frequent as Earth continues to warm.
Although there has been no scientific study linking climate change to the increase in the frequency of large wildfires in Cyprus, Kadis said empirical evidence shows this to be the case.
According to Kadis, Cyprus is coordinating responses to climate change among other countries in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean. More than 200 scientists from the region are preparing recommendations for an action plan to counter, or at least slow down, regional climate change. This plan will be endorsed by regional leaders in Cyprus next summer.
Just last week The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered the annual report in which a ‘code red for humanity’ alarm was raised. Any concerns surrounding extreme weather events being a result of climate change can be put aside, because IPCC’s latest findings, approved by 195 member states, discuss the physical science foundations of climate change and the impact people are having on the earth.
What can we do to help
Our mission at Ecomod Homes is to help lower the carbon footprint of the places we live in, whether that be by building sustainable modular homes or simply adding a smart system to your existing house. However, there are many small changes that we can make in our daily lives which we also consider to be crucial in combating the climate crisis. This is why we have devoted a section on our website called ‘eco-tips’ to researching and putting together small habits that can help each person reduce their carbon footprint in their lives.
Whether we decide to drive less, change our diet, or hoard glass jars to avoid buying plastic storage containers in stores - those are all notable habits that everyone should be proud of, because every little bit counts.