Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Illusion of Environmental Security - 2

Elite Myths
On this date in 2009 a Dredd Blog post mentioned that a common myth was to think that the impact of global warming induced climate change was something that happened to other people and places, but not to the U.S.A.

We can note now how true it was it back then, now that we know  U.S. immunity to global climate change is a myth.

How true that post has turned out to be, especially now that we know that the U.S. Northeast Coast's heavy population center has the world's highest sea level rise rate, and also after widespread drought and other climate calamities have struck since then.

And now for the second year in a row that large population center is again being threatened with storm surges.

Anyway, here is the text of that post:

The general illusory feeling "it can't happen here" is spreading into the environmental catastrophe realm.

It is getting to be chic to think environmental catastrophe is something that happens to the other people, but not to us.

Thus, it is an illusion.

Currently about half of the earth is suffering drought conditions, in seven years it will be about 60%, and in fifteen years 70% will be suffering from drought.

It causes massive upheaval:
Norman Myers, an Oxford University professor and one of the first scholars to draw attention to the unfolding problem, estimated that by 2050 there will be more than 25 million refugees attributable to climate change, which will replace war and persecution as the leading cause of global displacement.

"The numbers could go off the charts," he said.
(LA Times). Some of the causes of these catastrophic problems cannot be undone because we have already gone too far.

Even the scientist quoted above in the LA Times has his blind spot:
Africa would be heaviest hit because so many people's livelihoods are dependent on farming and livestock.
(ibid, emphasis added). Did you notice that pattern? The "other people" depend on farming but we don't depend on farming because we get our food at the supermarket.

Wrong, every human being and every society is as dependent on farming as the other.

Food does not magically show up in the supermarket by using the Star Trek food making computer.

Reliance on "heroes of war" or superheroes will not change the reality either.

Our food production and delivery system, as well as other life support systems, are subject to severe damage from many natural sources:
IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.

A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation's infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation.
(New Science, emphasis added). It is a fact that people who know how to farm and raise livestock, who are not dependent on delivery trucks and supermarkets, could in fact be more secure and last longer when environmental catastrophe and upheaval takes place.

It depends on where they are as well as the circumstances involved.

In an old Mothers of Invention song there were some prescient lyrics:
We are the other people
We are the other people
We are the other people
You're the other people too
(Mother People). It was a wise thing to consider, so don't reject truth or fact because of where or who it comes from.

The suicide bombers are not the only ones to think the other people are the only ones that will be harmed.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post is here.


  1. The illusion that the United States was living under has a lot to do, i think, with the fact that the U.S. was and is a major player in the production of the pollution that is causing climate change. This lens has become a focus in the past ten years as other developing countries experience weather related strife more frequently. Perhaps the only reason that the U. S. is becoming more concerned is due to its reliance on natural resources, trade opportunities, etc, with nations that are under threat. Further, I also think that it is somewhat biased to target the U.S. as immune from climate change, when there are other countries, developed or not, that have not yet experienced a devastation due to climate change. I think that goes back to climatology and what climate change truly means, aside from a social science point of view.

    1. Anonymous,

      "Further, I also think that it is somewhat biased to target the U.S. as immune from climate change, when there are other countries, developed or not, that have not yet experienced a devastation due to climate change."

      Care to list any of those countries that have not experienced any devastation due to climate change?

      I mean on this planet.

      Read the post again, you missed something.