Wednesday, June 25, 2014



Hello Earth People.

Have you noticed lately that on the NBC/CBS/ABC evening news every night at least one of the top stories has to do with some sort of extreme weather situation and usually, also some sort of disease, virus, bacteria which is surging, resurfacing, adapting to treatment, out of control?  Yup, the time to talk about global climate change as if it is some scary future scenario is long gone.  The time to claim that each severe weather problem is merely an individual event and that we cannot connect it to climate disruption ended way back when.

People, while we mostly sit around talking about, twiddling our thumbs, and once in a while marching around in a circle or offering ourselves up for a nice peaceful arrest, people's lives are being destroyed...right now.

As is usually the case the primary culprit behind the problem, behind the bury your head in the sand propaganda, behind the there is nothing to fear slogans is global capital.  As is usually the case in such situations and wherever global capital is involved the first to suffer and die are the poor and people of color.

Yes, eventually all of us, everything living and breathing on the planet will pay the price for capitalist accumulation, State subterfuge, our own inaction, no doubt about that.  However, right now the price is being paid by some, by many.

Back in the eighties when I was working at a free heath clinic, helping to develop some grassroots response to HIV disease, observing the gay community pay a huge price for inaction by many, indifference by many, plain bigotry by many, a gay man said to my "beshert" (look it up), "Something needs to be done.  Someone has to do something."

Well, folks, today SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE.  WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING...not someone us...not tomorrow now...

Do the words, "by any means necessary" come to mind?" 

They should.

Earlier this spring the Guardian wrote those most affected first by climate change include:

Pensioners left on their own during a heatwave in industrialized countries. Single mothers in rural areas. Workers who spend most of their days outdoors. Slum dwellers in the megacities of the developing world...those who did the least to cause climate change would be the first in the line of fire: the poor and the weak, and communities that were subjected to discrimination...

A  recent global assessment by the UN stated up front,

People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change...People who were already disadvantaged, more of them are going to be suffering from malnutrition...

Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross climate centre and an author of the report from the UN said,

It's the poor suffering more during disasters, and of course the same hazard causes a much bigger disaster in poorer countries, making it even poorer.

Not tomorrow, but right now shifting seasons are destroying harvests and causing widespread hunger.

Even World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim says,

 In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth's temperature.

 We have powerful new evidence that even if  climate change falls short of the much-discussed 4°C warmer world, we could witness the rolling back of decades of development gains and force tens of millions more to live in poverty.

When   Typhoon Haiyan left an estimated 10,000 dead and hundreds of thousands homeless in the Philippines, it underscored a cruel truth about climate change: it hits the world’s poorest the hardest.

In Africa, be it the expanding desert,  the destruction of agriculture in the sub Sahara region, fluctuating water resources, expanding vectors for disease, global climate change is happening right now.

As Economix made clear in an article last winter:

...the poorer the country, the harder it might be for it to respond to a changing climate.

Let’s take the example of a typhoon. Before a storm hits, building sturdy, secure houses and ensuring that a population has a plan for evacuation are critical to preserving life and property. Right after a storm, highways, search-and-rescue teams, helicopters, tractors, firefighters, hospitals and surgeons become critical for doing the same. Afterward, insurance, savings and a well-financed government response become necessary for rebuilding lives and cities. When it comes to such disasters, money matters.

The same goes for many other phenomena related to climate change caused by human activity. If a given area is getting drier and hotter, a subsistence farmer is going to face greater struggles than a diversified agricultural conglomerate. A shrinking water supply might be harder for Pakistan to manage than California. The same might be true for rising oceans.

And we all know about island nations sinking under the waves as the oceans rise.
 As those sea levels rise, more and more previously inhabited coastal land will be submerged, destroying the homes and possessions of many poor people without the means to replace their possessions.  

ARStechnica comments:

Sea level rise, while considerably less sudden than a flash flood, also threatens many poor, low-lying coastal areas and islands. More than 175 million people live on the Ganges-Brahmaputra and Mekong River deltas, for example, where large amounts of food are grown. Rising sea level means worse flooding, invading saltwater, and a loss of land, displacing many and eliminating their livelihoods.

Those folks living in that delta are not the rich of the world.

A report from the World Bank, said:

As the coastal cities of Africa and Asia expand, many of their poorest residents are being pushed to the edges of livable land and into the most dangerous zones for climate change. Their informal settlements cling to riverbanks and cluster in low-lying areas with poor drainage, few public services, and no protection from storm surges, sea-level rise, and flooding.

 That is what is happening today, as you read this, in Liberia, for example, as the post below from All Africa will make very clear, too clear.

The truth is simple unless the multitude act now, right now, strongly, powerfully, with force, with disregard for borders and States, not waiting for governments and politicians, or the World Bank, or the NGOs, those being crushed by global climate disruption today will multiply rapidly tomorrow...and the next day...

Liberia's Poor and the Rising Sea

Monrovia — Mary B owned a shop in West Point, Monrovia's densely-populated slum community, where she sold liquor just few yards away from the sea. But last month, the ocean left her homeless and without a business because the devastating erosion of the coastline has resulted in most of the land eroding into the Atlantic Ocean with thousands of homes being washed away by the encroaching sea.
"While a human being or your landlord will tell you 'I give you notice at a particular time' then you will pack your things and look for another place, the sea can't give you notice," the young woman who preferred to be called Mary B told IPS.
Situated between the Mesurado and St. Paul Rivers on a peninsula projecting out of the Atlantic Ocean, the township of West Point is home to about 75,000 people living in shacks that are predominantly made out zinc.
Mary B said she had bought the piece of land from the commissioner of the township for 11,500 Liberian dollars, about 130 dollars,and built her shop on it.
According to the Township Commissioner's office, residents in the area are primarily squatters, with no legal rights to the land though it is possible to obtain a Squatters Permit from the administrative office, which grants a certain level of legitimacy to the dwellers.
Though for sometime now, residents of West Point have been hoping that one day they will be relocated because of the continuous environmental degradation on the shoreline here.
A report on the threat to the environment in Liberia released by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2008 states that erosion in this West African country is causing the shoreline to recede in some cities, including Buchanan, Greenville, Harper and Robertsport. Beach mining is also said to be the main contributing factor.
Mohamed Carew Alias Kaddafi, 43, is physically challenged and a father of six. A carpenter by trade, he ran a small grocery shop in West Point which was washed away in the storm.
"We were in the shop, the water came with force and blasted the whole place," he told IPS, adding that this is not the first time he has lost his business to the sea.
"It happened before in 2007 and I lost my house."
He may be eager to move elsewhere but the government has not committed to a relocation plan.
West Point is home to many of Monrovia's disadvantaged people and many cannot afford the city's huge rents, which are fixed in U.S. dollars - 150 for a modest two bedroom apartment. To make matters worse the government does no have public housing available.
People in the area have always talked about plans by the government to relocate them, but the Public Works Ministry says the government has no such plans to move over 75,000 people.
However, the government agency responsible for monitoring environmental conditions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says the erosion in West Point and other communities is something the government is concerned about.
"In Liberia, climate change is causing serious coastal erosion and degrading of coastal environment," Stephen Neufville, acting head of the EPA, told IPS.
West Point and other coastal communities in Monrovia are expected to benefit from the second phase of the Coastal Defence Project otherwise known as Enhancing Resilience of Vulnerable Coastal Areas to Climate Change Risks in Liberia.
However the EPA says that the start of the next phase of the project, which includes Monrovia, where West Point is situated, "depends when we get the next funding." The previous funding they say, was used for the first phase that is currently ongoing in Buchanan.
This project, launched by the United Nations Development Programme and the government of Liberia, is set to help coastal communities in three counties develop defensive mechanism against the effects of climate change that cause sea erosion. The Coastal Defence Project involves building breakwaters to stop waves from eating up the coastline.
But many residents fear that this may be happening too slowly and if nothing is done to relocate them from the area, the sea will continue to cause destruction to their lives and properties.
"For us in West Point, we call the sea the original landlord," Mary B said.

1 comment:

Gus diZerega said...

This is one of the deniers and their corporate sponsors' biggest obscenities, biggest crimes against humanity and the earth. The weakest among us will pay the highest price, and they will pay it first.