Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, April 12, 2021

State of Denial

It's just human nature, I suppose, but we have to face and defeat our instinct to turn away and pretend that predictable catastrophe isn't actually happening. Al Gore titled his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, recognizing that people won't see what they don't want to see, but 15 years later, nothing has really changed. 

So here's the deal. Much of the southwest U.S is already in extreme drought, and it's going to get much worse. The cold truth is that there will not be enough water to sustain the population and industry of a vast stretch of the country. To quote the CNN story, "While there will be wet years, the overall trend is towards drying. Scientists say this is a result of human-caused climate change, which is leading to less reliable rain and warmer temperatures — both consistent with what has been projected by climate computer models." If you thought the wildfires were bad last year, just wait. 


Wanna know why all those Guatemalan children are showing up on the southern border? Heres' why:  

Rising numbers of children in Guatemala are going hungry as drought linked to climate change reduces food harvests, fueling child malnutrition rates in the Central American nation, the United Nations and charities said. . . .

"There is an increase in cases of acute malnutrition that are related to climate change and the long periods of drought from June to October (last year)," said Maria Claudia Santizo, a nutrition specialist at the U.N. children's agency UNICEF. Drought is also adding to the area of Guatemala suffering problems, she said. "With climate change, the dry corridor has expanded," Santizo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Poor harvests of staple crops such as beans and maize mean rural families are forced to eat fewer meals a day, and have less food to sell, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). Families also are unable to store food to see them through the lean period before the next harvest, the U.N. agency said.

"We are seeing a high rate of child malnutrition that's rising for two reasons - high temperatures which affect the crops and resulting crop losses, and rains that are more erratic and unpredictable," said Amy English, a technical advisor at international aid agency Mercy Corps, which works in Guatemala.


In other words, they're fleeing north because the alternative is starving to death. This is also why Syrian society collapsed, and why millions of migrants from the Middle East and Africa are trying to get to Europe. This will only get worse, and it's happening much faster than experts predicted just a few years ago. Are you looking forward to hurricane season?  

To people who can't read: I didn't say that the Guatemalan drought is a brand new thing or that the drought alone has caused the recent increase in unaccompanied minors at the border. Actually the devastating hurricanes that hit Central America last year are part of the explanation, Also, the effects of the drought are cumulative -- people hold out for as long as they can but conditions keep getting worse and worse, including deteriorating social conditions, violence, and civil disorder. So you will tend to see more people over time. Finally, of course it's possible that people think the Biden administration will change policies to give people a better chance of getting asylum, although in fact that has not happened yet. But I personally don't think that would be a bad thing.

1 comment:

Don Quixote said...

Yes, and the Sahara is expanding southward into the Sahel in Africa.

I have a dream ... that one day, Western and Eastern European mutants with less melanin in their skin than people with darker skin will realize (before it's too late) that what they choose to do, and not to do, in regard to people with darker skin will come back to bite them and the whole world in the ass. One day, they will realize, "Oh, shit, we're all alike. There never was a good reason to avoid taking action to help other humans. Thinking we were somehow different was a serious error."