Greek Island Is New Epicenter of Europe's Summer of Calamity 希臘島嶼 成為歐洲熱浪災情新震央
Amid twisted cages and scorched trees, Harilaos Tertipis stepped out of his ruined stables dragging the charred corpses of his sheep — burned, like so much else, in the wildfires that have raged across Greece.
As the survivors of his flock huddled together on a roadside hill below, the bells on their necks clanging and their legs singed, he said that if he had stayed with his animals instead of rushing home to protect his family and house, "I wouldn't be here now."
As of Friday, the fires around the northern parts of Evia, Greece's second-largest island, had destroyed more than 120,000 acres of pine forest, razed homes and displaced hundreds of people. They have brought assistance from more than 20 countries and been declared "a natural disaster of unprecedented dimensions" by the Greek prime minister.
Europe has always considered itself a climate leader, last month pledging to cut emissions by 55% over the next decade and calling this "a make-or-break moment" for the planet "before we reach irreversible tipping points."
But a string of disasters this summer has left many to wonder whether that tipping point is already here, driving home the realization that climate change is no longer a distant threat for future generations, but an immediate scourge affecting rich and poor nations alike.
"It's not just Greece," said Vasilis Vathrakoyiannis, a spokesperson for the Greek fire service. "It's the whole European ecosystem."
The shifting epicenter of natural disaster has now fallen on Evia, a densely wooded island northeast of Athens, Greece, once best known for its beekeepers and resin producers, its olive groves and seaside resorts, and now a capital of the consequences of a warming planet.
'We're Living in Hell': Inside Mexico's Most Terrified City 「我們活在地獄裡」 墨西哥最暴力城市居民心聲
The violence was already terrifying, she said, when grenades exploded outside her church in broad daylight some five years ago. Then children in town were kidnapped, disappearing without a trace. Then the bodies of the executed were dumped in city streets.
And then came the day last month when armed men burst into her home, dragged her 15-year-old son and two of his friends outside and shot them to death, leaving Guadalupe — who didn't want her full name published out of fear of the men — too terrified to leave the house.
"I do not want the night to come," she said, through tears. "Living with fear is no life at all."
For most of the population of Fresnillo, a mining city in central Mexico, a fearful existence is the only one they know; 96% of residents say they feel unsafe, the highest percentage of any city in Mexico, according to a recent survey from Mexico's national statistics agency.
The economy can boom and bust, presidents and parties and their promises can come and go, but for the city's 140,000 people, as for many in Mexico, there is a growing sense that no matter what changes, the violence endures.
In 2018, during his run for president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered a grand vision to remake Mexico. Instead of arresting and killing traffickers as previous leaders had done, he would focus on the causes of violence: "hugs not bullets," he called it. He was swept to victory.
But three years after his landslide win, and with his Morena party in control of Congress, the drumbeat of death continues, suggesting that López Obrador's approach has failed, fueling in many a paralyzing helplessness.
Zacatecas, the state Fresnillo is in, has the country's highest murder rate, with 122 deaths in June, according to the Mexican government. Across Mexico, murders have dropped less than 1% since López Obrador took office, according to the country's statistics agency. That was enough for the president to claim that there had been an improvement on a problem his administration inherited.