I was really close to skipping class today, but it was the thought of not writing this entry that got me out of bed… sort of… I guess.
So to continue my tradition of procrastinating I want to talk about the “Snowmaggeddon” a couple of weeks ago, and what was the response of a number of news anchors from Fox and a couple of other networks. Basically, a few anchors, which I will use to make a blanket statement just out of convenience, while reporting on the weather conditions of Washington, DC were implying pretty explicitly that Global Warming has been debunked. They were joking about how Al Gore will probably be afraid to come out again, or all the scientists didn’t know what they were talking about. I think John Stuart and Steven Colbert do a good job of saying that is the stupidest piece of shit that I have ever heard. Pardon my language, I almost put !@#% but than decided that if I think censorship is wrong, it would be hypocritical to censor myself. The conclusion of networks like Fox, are based on the same misguided trust people place into the world around them. Their perception of reality is limited to their immediate surroundings. But I want to throw some numbers from the rest of the world out there. I had to read the UN Human Development Report on climate change two summers ago to make a report for the organization I was interning for (Jubilee USA), and the numbers I found were pretty surprising.
This chart is from the 2007/2008 UN Human Development Report on climate change (page 75 if you want to check if I’m making this up). So in the past 25 years the world has gone from close to 40 million people to a little over 250 million people affected every year by natural disasters. When I read this I figured that maybe the natural growth of the global population would explain some of the increase, but I checked that too. So from the 2004 UN statistics in 1980 the global population was around 4.5 billion and in 2000 it rose to 6, now it’s around 6.5. So in the 80s about 1.8% of the world’s population was affected by a natural disaster, in 2000 it was about 4.3%. That’s more than a 100% increase in 20 years. I know these percentages seem small, but 4.3% of 6 billion represents millions of lives, and the vast majority of those lives are within developing countries. Essentially, we don’t see the effects of climate change, because we control the climate around us. If it gets colder we turn the heat up, if it gets warmer we turn it down. We have infrastructure, we have the snow plows (maybe not used as effectively in DC), we have the dams and levees (sorry New Orleans you just lucked out), we have running water whenever we want it.
My point is it’s all in who you ask. Climate change for a middle-class American is having to adjust the thermostat. Climate change for a Nigerian farmer is a dried up riverbed, for an Indonesian fisherman it’s a monsoon so large that the effects are still seen today (it was only 5 years ago). So to hear these dumbass news anchors making statements that millions around the US actually listen to concerning a topic they know nothing about pisses me off. Read the report, its only 198 pages with a whole bunch of charts and pictures, and is not as boring as you would expect. People criticize the UN all of the time without actually knowing anything about the UN, but that’s for another day. Yo Fox 15 minutes and a calculator, that’s all it took.
Another thing I researched that summer was Haiti. I’ll talk about that later too, because my class is ending in ten minutes, but pretty much before the earthquake Haiti was the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. People were making cakes out of mud and eating it just to have something in their stomachs. It’s ironic that it takes an earthquake of that magnitude to get the world’s attention, especially when it’s the Western world’s (especially the US) fault that Haiti was so impoverished in the first place. Because of international financial institutions headed by the US, Haiti went from a self sufficient nation in terms of rice production, to the extent that they were exporting a surplus, to being completely dependent upon US imports of food within a matter of decades, but that’s for another day.
I realized that I said “but that’s for another day” twice I think, which is probably the reason why my topics are weeks or months behind.
So my last depressing note of the day, my sister sent me this link, which is a documentary about Liberia. It’s pretty disturbing but I guess that’s why you should watch it. Another “Hell on Earth” brought about by the United States.
God Bless US.