Tuesday, October 25, 2005

When


Here is a story that is coming out in Newsweek International. If you don't find this sobering, it will at least help in the numbing.

The Last Word: Preparing for The Worst
By Mac Margolis
Newsweek International

Oct. 31, 2005 issue

On Oct. 12, the United Nations' official day of Disaster Preparedness, scholars from the U.N. University's campus in Bonn issued an appropriately gloomy statement.

If nothing is done to cushion the blow of natural disasters, they declared, by 2010 some 50 million people around the world could be driven from their homes annually.

Not long ago, such dire predictions might have been written off as just another warning from the usual Cassandras. But considering the devastation caused by the recent earthquake in Pakistan, Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, and the Asian tsunami, people are starting to take note.

Janos Bogardi, director of the U.N. University's Institute for the Environment and Human Security, spoke with NEWSWEEK's Mac Margolis about the mounting toll of natural disasters and what the world needs to know in order to cope.

Excerpts:

Are natural disasters getting worse?

BOGARDI: There are absolutely clear signs and compelling statistics showing the situation is getting worse. We now are experiencing 2.5 to 3 times as many extreme events of climatic or water-related emergencies per year as we did in the 1970s. At the same time annual economic losses [from disasters] have increased sixfold.

How many people are displaced by environmental emergencies every year?

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees puts the number at 19.2 million people a year.

Why is this happening now?

Climate change certainly plays an important role. That leads to extremes at both ends of the spectrum. We have more floods, more droughts, longer heat spells without rain and more storms. But we also have increasingly unsustainable land use. With increasing deforestation there is a much higher rate of rain runoff, leading to floods and landslides.

How can world governments cope with the 50 million refugees expected by 2010?

We need to start by deciding who they are and what their plight is. Some mechanisms are already in place. We are aware that climate change is a threat, and an intergovernmental panel on climate change is working on strategies and response. Similar mechanisms are needed for the victims of so-called creeping disasters, those displaced by land degradation.

How well is the world prepared to deal with the next calamity?

Scientific communities all over the world are working on strategies. But of course, scientific wisdom alone is not enough. It has to be followed up with forceful political decision and public-awareness campaigns."

Today's big story will be Cheney.

He knew who Valerie Plame was.

But he didn't know Joe Wilson.

No. I don’t know Joe Wilson. I’ve never met Joe Wilson. A question had arisen. I’d heard a report that the Iraqis had been trying to acquire uranium in Africa, Niger in particular...And Joe Wilson—I don’t know who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.

And the other big story will be the death of our 2000th soldier,

Even though our side has lost almost 2200.

And we either won't or can't count the death on the other side.

All the while, Cancun is practically destroyed.

And the Earth is angry.

The earth is angry. Mankind persists in ignoring the messages.
The Age
October 24, 2005

The startling image of a man paddling through thousands of dead fish carpeting a Brazilian lake tells part of the story. So too does the onset of America's worst tropical storm season in decades and warnings that the Antarctic is being threatened by warming seas.

The Age recorded all three of these distant phenomena on one page last week. Each is a costly and life-threatening local environmental disaster. Yet these events are just fragments of a far bigger picture of gloom and despair awaiting a world that ignores the warnings that they carry. These are not obscure or isolated occurrences, but part of a mosaic of climate-related changes to the global condition.

The fish are dying in the Amazon basin because of drought that some scientists argue has been aggravated by deforestation. Links are also being made between more intense weather events - such as hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma - and climate change. Among the dozen hurricanes so far during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, a weak and little noted event named hurricane Vince earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first recorded tropical hurricane to make landfall in Europe.

But the most alarming revelations concern the rising temperatures being recorded in the Antarctic seas. Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey have concluded that sea temperatures are increasing so significantly that the unique fauna of the world's last great wilderness is in danger of succumbing to global warming. Air temperatures have risen by nearly 3 degrees Celsius over the past half century, while the sea ice cover has retreated by 20 per cent.

The Age finishes their editorial with this plea.

"It is tempting for individuals to shrug their shoulders and dismiss such problems as beyond their control. Certainly, governments must take the lead. But Australia has so far largely failed on this front, avoiding its moral and environmental responsibilities as a rich nation (and as the world's heaviest per capita producer of greenhouse gases) in not ratifying the Kyoto protocols. But every Australian can play a role through the individual decisions they make about consumption and energy use and, ultimately, even through their choice of government."

Yes it is tempting to dismiss these problems as beyond our control.

And, in all fairness,

they may be. But.


When do we start behaving as if our home is in peril?

If a fire is out of control,

You don't act like it doesn't exist.

You don't stand there frozen in your fear.

You do what you can,

to save lives,

to save your stuff,

to protect your family.

And we are an earthfamily.

Even as we are blinded by our nationalistic fogs,

And preened by the politics and pretentions of collective hubris,

in archaic mindforms that divide us from ourselves

and hide and frustrate our greater human potential.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous kyle said...

not related to today's post, but I feel deep down that this "office-bitch"-for-Supreme-Court situation is the event horizon (mentioned earlier) the flag wavers will certainly recognize, remember & turn over in graves to...(At least until her term ends.)

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice Oz

Even as we are blinded by our nationalistic fogs,

And preened by the politics and pretentions of collective hubris,

in archaic mindforms that divide us from ourselves

and hide and frustrate our greater human potential.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

Stop being so pessamistic.

The U.S. had refugees of its own this year. We got to Tropical Storm Alpha and may get a Beta before it is over.

There are way too many mouths on the planet. The rivers have been diverted and we have built dams galore, the trees have cut down, bad trees grow where good trees used to, Transportation introduced alien insects (the Vietnamese cock roach is a good one, the fire ant and those termites from Africa), and there are stupid pet lovers introducing pythons and strange dog eating lizards to the ecology. The mountains have been leveled and scraped of vegatation (fires and mudslides) and on and on.

So look at the bright side, the more disasters happen the more people die and at some point we may get rid off 60 to 70 % of these extra humans and the planet can refurbish.

8:22 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

Your scenario reminds me of the movie "The Generals". They were strategizing their break out from prison camp and were figuring a 60 to 70 % fatality rate.

Then they looked at each other and wondered which one of them would be the statistic.

They came up with a better plan that did not require those kind of losses.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing iffy about this report. I am ready to see it on the front of the N.Y. Times. It does jog me out of complacence - a complacence that stems from a thought that this is just toooooo big for me. But it is not.

I can do my part in getting the truth out and in making good choices with my $$$.

Every very moment wasted in unawareness and denial is placing one more nail in the coffin - our collective coffins.

The only strategy I have at this point is my dollar is my vote. I am happy to be driving my 2001 Toyota Corolla. Next step a Hybrid or hopefully a Plug in.

10:09 AM  
Blogger God said...

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalms 46:1-3, 10-11
++++++++++++++++++++++
And do yourself a favor, insist on better MPG ratings on your new car purchase this year, buy a wind generator for your private homes, and get out there and WALK for a change.

So saith the Great I Am.

1:27 PM  
Blogger caveman said...

"Depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World."
~ Henry Kissinger

The trouble isn't in providing food, shelter or education for those who need it. Our world certainly has the ability to do so. We also have the ability to teach and provide real life to people. However, our systems are not set up for this. They are set up for the benifit of only a few. By studying the history of these things we can see the creators are mainly looking out for themselves -the elite.

There is such a large a disparity between the truth that is and the lies everyone blatently accepts, that one cannot turn away from it for a second. There are too many 'looking away.'

Even if it means being called a fool, kook, wierdo, or even pessiamistic, those who seek truth must.

The truth is not pretty, but it is the only valuable thing some can find.

for a reality of what people experience during 'depopulation' see:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3594187.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4268733.stm

http://www.robert-fisk.com/

4:48 PM  
Blogger caveman said...

oh, and congrats on having the Lord God comment on your blog Oz. Seems you've made an impression.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is on vacation on the planet Crawford and will return in a century. He has left everything in the care of Mother Nature.
Jesus

7:08 AM  

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