Climate anxiety is not science fiction. It is a mêlée in the real world. Melting glaciers that feed the Indus River which flows through Sindh and Balochistan, have burst their banks. An ocean of water has submerged entire districts. Sindh is now a new and endless landscape of water. There are no openings for pilots to find landing strips and available approaches. For miles, rescue boats can see not a single outcrop of land. The steep mountain gorges and deep valleys add to the treachery of the flying conditions for search and rescue teams. As of August 30th 2022, the UN estimates that 733,000 houses were damaged, 325,000 homes were destroyed, 735,000 livestock were lost and 2,000,000 acres of cotton, wheat, vegetables, and fruits were affected. Climate Change is a battle that is impacting humanity as CO2 levels climb, and the greenhouse effect takes off.

Cli-fi movies like James Cameron’s “Avatar”, and Margaret Atwood’s apocalyptic novels mirror our perverse fascination with the impact of human-induced climate change. “Avatar”, set in the mid-22nd century around 2154, portrays an Earth depleted of resources as humans colonize Pandora – a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. Atwood’s speculative fiction projects a polluted and overpopulated world characterized by widespread genetic modification and catastrophic climate change that culminates in some apocalyptic event. The way that climate dystopia has crept into the plots of films and novels as a backdrop is unnerving. It suggests that instead of being motivated to create change, we may be open to accepting extreme climate change, and even the impending demise of our planet as an inevitability.

Atwood and Cameron do not have to imagine any of the threats to our existence they portray. They simply unravelled the ones before us at this moment. The ones we witness as we watch the possibility of a planet being damaged irreparably by climate change. The floods in Pakistan have affected over 33 million people in a country which has a population of 230,134,788 as of Tuesday, August 30, 2022, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data. More than 1,000 people have been killed while millions have been displaced as houses are washed away. Moreover, it is worrying that the ageing colonial-era Sukkur Barrage in Sindh province supplies ninety percent of Pakistan’s water.

According to the June 2020, Working Paper No. 167, (p.6) of the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), natural disasters in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2016, which were overwhelmingly climate-related, have driven more than 20 million people away from their lodgings. Climate-related effects, either by directly posing a threat to human life and security, or by aggravating existing conflict drivers such as poverty, food and income insecurity, and resource scarcity have contributed to displacement.

In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change opined that the greatest single impact of climate change could be on human migration. Millions of people are now displaced by shoreline erosion, coastal flooding, and agricultural disruption. However, with so many factors at work, it is impossible to establish a precise causal relationship between climate change triggered by human activities and population displacement.

After the south-western part of China experienced scorching temperatures, the region went on alert for flooding amid days of torrential downpours. Chongqing – a manufacturing hub, and nearby Sichuan that recently experienced power disruptions caused by dipping levels of reservoir levels, and ramped up use of air conditioning for cooling, went on flood alert.

In the Koh-e-Sulaiman mountains, floods have caused the collapse of communication infrastructure, roads, and bridges cutting off access. And even if these climate refugees can use solar chargers to power their mobile devices with intermittent spells of sunlight, there is no signal. Torrents cascade down the hillsides. The non-stop rains melt away the mud walls of homes. Diseases are spreading, and the 80-bed hospital which serviced several towns and villages was swept away in a torrent.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the UN, as the rains continue in Chad, more people are being displaced, and humanitarian actors are running short of supplies to assist over 340,000 people. The deluge has destroyed almost 2,700 hectares of crops, increasing food insecurity. In a collective flash appeal, the Government of Chad has requested €5.2M to provide protection to those affected by the extreme weather patterns and climate conditions.

A luxury 150-room boutique hotel crumpled into a raging gush in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Flash floods have erased 5,000 acres of the best rice sown in paddy fields in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and destroyed ten bridges including the only concrete bridge connecting the scenic valley to the main city. Now, the families on the other side of the river remain cut off from the villagers on the opposite side of the valley. Hundreds of villages in the mountainous north have been cut off as rivers wash away infrastructure. Some residents can only watch their homes from the other side of the Manoor valley. Whatever the causes, it is evident that economic displacement and climate disruption pose significant economic and political costs to developing and developed economies.