“Now learn this illustration from the fig tree: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near.
Available data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation released in March 2021, shows us that an increased occurrence and intensity of disasters is the new normal. Within the first few months of 2020, huge swarms of desert locusts began ravaging countries across the Greater Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Southwest Asia - just one more hit to farmers already impacted by floods, cyclones, hailstorms, animal diseases, droughts, and other shocks. By its end, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season produced 30 named systems, far surpassing the usual 12-storm annual average. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating lives, livelihoods, and economies the world over. Agriculture and the billions of farmers who keep the rest of us fed bear the brunt of such shocks - more than any other productive sector. Disasters take lives, but also devastate rural livelihoods, destroy food, and drive up hunger.
Disasters and their economic impact.
One of the most direct ways disasters affect agriculture is through lower-than-expected production. This causes direct economic loss to farmers which can cascade along the entire value chain - even affecting the growth of the sector or entire national economies. From 2008–2018, billions of dollars were lost as a result of declines in crop and livestock production in the aftermath of disasters.
USD 30 billion was lost in sub-Saharan and North Africa
USD 29 billion was lost in Latin America and the Caribbean
USD 8.7 billion was lost across the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean
USD 49 billion was lost in Asia
2020 was the first year of the most important decade in the history of mankind and those twelve months have literally shocked the world. A global pandemic has cost the lives of several million people, (conservative guess), with almost 200 million infected. Worse still, some 1.6 billion people employed in the informal economy – or nearly half the global workforce - could see their livelihoods destroyed due to the continued decline in working hours brought on by lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). In the first three months of 2021, nearly 100,000 Brits have been registered homeless. 2020, also opened a pressure cooker of global social-justice movements, which have surged onto the streets of major cities worldwide, spreading hate, violence and destruction against governments, leaders, authority and even our perceived history.
Mankind has seen a rise in world leaders of nuclear-armed countries, sabre-rattling, spewing falsehoods and lies, strutting and clucking threats to other leaders with macho, posturing, gung-ho rhetoric, in bile-filled nationalistic swagger, which will only lead to one outcome, WWIII. Any thought of a global pandemic uniting our world’s most powerful nations, the powerful and the weak, the fat and the thin, the haves and the have nots became a pipe dream after just a couple of weeks after the pandemic was announced.
The first twelve months of the most important decade in the history of mankind has seen Western society regress toward pre-technological tribalism. Our preconceived Hollywood perception of ourselves has seen a return of wild west values, London, often considered one of the safest capitals of the world has become a hotbed of hate and violence with a surge in murders and has a new title, "the wild west". In Chicago, murders have increased by more than 60% and shooting victims rose by 71%, according to recent police statistics. New York is the same story. The crime rate in Paris has seen an exponential 70% rise. Rival Muslim gangs recently took to the streets of Dijon using automatic weapons against each other while frightened residents cowered behind closed doors.
The first twelve months of the most important decade in the history of mankind has seen massive locusts swarms of Biblical proportion on 3 continents. South America, Africa and Asia. All are struggling to contain the locust's egregious demand for food in some of the world's poorest countries. So far this year 450 billion locusts have been killed, but devastating swarms still ravage Africa, India and the Middle East and the pests march on growing in unprecedented numbers.
The first twelve months of the most important decade in the history of mankind has seen a massive surge in the deaths of pigs due to African Swine Fever. Long before the Covid-19 Pandemic had struck, another devastating disease had broken out of China and had probably killed hundreds of millions of pigs around the world since 2018. It is believed more than 40% of all farm-reared pigs have died globally from the killer virus which has a 100% death rate and no cure. Humans and Pigs have remarkably similar immune systems, can you imagine the carnage if this virus mutates?
As well as the hundreds of millions of dead or dying pigs, bird flu was back with a vengeance in Europe and Asia with millions of birds culled at the beginning of 2021. Worse still, in the first month of January 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a new case of “human” infection with the avian influenza A(H9N2) virus in China. The case was a 1-year-and 4-month-old male from Yunfu, Guangdong Province, China, who had exposure to domestic poultry prior to the onset of illness. He developed mild symptoms on 28 December 2020 and was admitted to a hospital on 29 December. As of 4 January 2021, no family cluster was reported. This is the first case to be reported from China in 2021. In addition, six new cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) virus were reported on Dec. 9, 2020. The cases were retrospectively detected through the “Influenza-Like” illness Surveillance (ILI) between July 2019 and December 2020. No deaths were reported among the reported cases and all six reported mild symptoms. Five of the cases had exposure to poultry and one case had no clear poultry exposure. No family clusters were reported from any of the six cases. In 2020, there were thirteen cases reported from China. A total of 42 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H9N2) in China have been reported since December 2015.
The first twelve months of the most important decade in the history of mankind has seen unprecedented rainfall in many areas across the world. An absurd amount of water poured down all over the world in May. An incredible amount of rain fell on all areas suffering locust swarms from Africa to India killing hundreds and displacing more than a million people. According to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management, as of 24 June 2020, flood disasters that began in late May had affected more than 11 million people in 26 provincial regions, including Guangxi, Guizhou, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Chongqing. A total of 571,000 people have been displaced after flooding damaged 171,000 homes and destroyed 9,300 with nearly 300 people killed.
The first twelve months of the most important decade in the history of mankind saw more record-breaking extreme weather. The period from January through May was also the 2nd hottest on record after 2016. South America, Europe, Asia and the Gulf of Mexico region had their warmest “Year To Date” on record. The May average Arctic sea ice coverage was the fourth smallest in the 42-year record, 7.0% below the 1981–2010 average, according to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. A rare May snowstorm triggered by a polar vortex that whipped through the northeast of the US, with parts of Maine and New Hampshire receiving as much as 10 inches of snow and near white-out conditions in upstate New York. Greece, Germany, Turkey and Russia also got their share of unseasonable snow, Ayubia National Park in Pakistan was covered in snow for the first time in a century and Australia ended up with 40 inches of snow during their coldest start of May ever recorded. Reuters reported pine trees were bursting into flames and boggy peatlands are tinderbox dry. And towns in northern Russia are sweltering under conditions more typical of the tropics. Record-breaking Arctic heat – registered at more than 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk on June 20, 2020 – are still being verified by the World Meteorological Organization. But even without that confirmation, experts at the global weather agency are worried by satellite images showing that much of the Russian Arctic is in the red. That extreme heat is fanning the unusual extent of wildfires across the remote, boreal forest and tundra that blankets northern Russia. Those blazes have in turn ignited normally waterlogged peatlands.
The first twelve months of the most important decade in the history of mankind witnessed the most catastrophic wildfires ever. The Australian bushfire in the summer of 2019/20 saw nearly 25% of the country's forests consumed by fire, the normal average for a bushfire season being around 2%. More than a billion animals died in the fires with a further 60% loss of their annual summer crop production. The entire West Coast of the US suffered the same fate as the Australian East Coast as they had their worst wildfire season in history.
The first two months of 2021 saw an unprecedented start to seismic and volcanic activity. In all 42 major quakes, mag 6 or higher rocked the planet in the first 65 days of 2021 and we could be well on the way to recording the highest number ever recorded in a year which was 207 in 2011, the year of the Fukushima disaster. What makes the incredible number even more exciting this year is that the majority of the major quakes have been located along the eastern margin of the Australia plate. 27 of them in fact. When you realise during the same period in 1921, a hundred years ago only 7 major quakes, mag 6 or higher had been recorded globally according to the USGS Database. Of the 42 major quakes recorded this year only two, a mag 6.2 in Mongolia in January and a mag 6.3 in Greece earlier this month have been outside the Pacific Ring Of Fire. Strangely 36 of the 42 have been on the Western side of the Pacific Ring leaving the Western Coast of the US still waiting for the "big one!" To emphasise the incredible total of major quakes so far this year, we have to go back to earlier years for comparison. Last year in the same period during the dark beginning of 2020 a total of 24 major quakes, mag 6 or higher had been recorded around the globe, coincidently, not one recorded along the eastern margin of the Australia plate which is dominating this year's activity. Back in 2019, just 20 major quakes had been reported up to March the 6th, just 50% of this year's total. In 2018, 24 major quakes had been reported and in 2017, just 15, 2017 went on to record the lowest amount of major quakes this century. In 2016, 24 and in 2015, just 18. Coincidentally, the highest number ever recorded in a year was 207 in 2011, the year of the Fukushima disaster, however, in that year up to March the 6th only 30 major quakes, mag 6 or higher had been recorded.
Volcanic eruptions have been just as impressive as the major quake activity.
Volcano activity has been just impressive as the record-breaking number of major quakes in the first 65 days of 2021. As many as 49 volcanoes around the world have been erupting or showing signs of activity during the first 65 days of 2021. In 15 years of reporting volcano activity, I can't remember this many volcanoes around the world showing this much activity.
This year I have read many times of people acting like animals, this is not true and is an insult to our furry friends. Animals do not hate, they do not disrespect others and they are not destroying our planet. They are not corrupt and do not drop bombs on their neighbours.
In Matthew 24, Jesus warned us of time like these: “Look out that nobody misleads you, for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for these things must take place, but the end is not yet. “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are the beginning of pangs of distress. “Then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. Then, too, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold. But the one who has endured to the end will be saved. And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
He also went on to say: “Now learn this illustration from the fig tree: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near.