Tag: global warming
I'm interested in whether the Micronesian States' claims about Transboundary Environmental Impact might provide one more way to bring public awareness and (dare one hope?) pressure to bear on the global warming crisis.
Yeah, I know. Very few persons in U.S. government seem to pay much attention to law or justice these days - especially international law. Still, one can dream. The environmental effects of global warming are evident right now in the U.S., causing immense human and economic destruction. And the carbon emissions right here in the U.S. are causing even more destruction to other nations. Any of the lawyers reading this blog have a thought how accountability might be attached?
And do any of the artists reading this have a complementary thought: We need another version of Al Gore's film, this time with fewer charts and more dramatic juxtaposition and dot-connecting.
A Micronesian island nation is quite literally being eroded to nothingness by tides. Same with an island community in northern Alaska. Worst drought in who knows how long in China. Same with the U.S. Southwest - worse than the "Dust Bowl." Countless numbers of persons die in Pakistan because of flooding. The U.S. is struck by the worst tornadoes in memory.
And it's not just carbon emissions. Nuclear reactors in the Ukraine and in Japan destroy themselves, and the results affect food and radiation all around the planet.
Morally, you have the right to swing your fist as much as you want. But that right ends at the tip of my nose. You have a right to throw stones. But that right ends when one of those stones hits my wife, even if you threw it from across the border separating your yard from mine.
It's one planet. Whatever any of us does affects all of us. (No, I won't quote Donne's sermon, though I can't help thinking about it.)
Start by considering any of the real-time online maps showing severe weather conditions. Example? Accuweather. (No particular endorsement, just an exemplar.) http://www.accuweather.com/severe-weather.asp This particular map is restricted to the U.S., but similar maps show conditions for the entire world. Think about it.
Severe weather "events" (as they're officially designated) occur every minute of every day, somewhere on the planet. Many simultaneously. Same with earthquakes, floods, etc. Who decides which is severe enough to justify appeals for help on network TV? On what basis is the decision made? Has anyone ever articulated the principles determining which people, where, victimized by which "event," with what human and economic cost, etc. should be made the focus of media coverage in the U.S., and of media fundraising?
It seems likely that hundreds of persons will have been killed in Missouri. That's terrible. Still, not long ago tens of thousands - probably hundreds of thousands - of persons were killed by the floods in Pakistan. That's so far beyond terrible as to be beyond my ability to express it. (Suggestions more than welcome.)
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Think about this, though. I've been talking about how we decide which effects deserve focus and private financial support. But who says we have to blinder ourselves in such a way as to think only about effects and never about causes?
Let's dip our noggins in ice water, and emerge with a new perspective. Let's think about causes rather than effects. What's causing the record levels of severe weather? Doesn't it make more sense to deal with the hydra's head than to keep jumping hither and yon in trying to deal with its geometrically multiplying tentacles?
My suggestion? We have to deal with global warming. Period. Local, national, regional advantage might be subject to conflict and negotiation. But the survival of homo sapiens depends on our dealing with global warming.