Friday, February 20, 2009

Future Economic Weather

A headline from Utne Reader's green newsletter just caught my eye: "Extreme Weather in a Time of Global Financial Crisis."

As if hearing about staggering job losses day after day wasn't scary enough, Tom Englehardt's article put the fear of God in me by asking what happens if economic recovery meets with further environmental crisis. That's right, further environmental crisis.

According to University College London's Global Drought Monitor, 104 million people are now living under "exceptional drought conditions." Australia, China, Kenya, and Northern California (one of America's largest food producers) are among several areas in crisis that Englehardt details with bone-chilling facts. And, he says, the future weather in these chiefly agricultural regions is not looking any wetter.

New Secretary of Energy Steven Chu offered this warning in an interview with the Los Angeles Times: "I don't think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen....We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California. And I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going either."

But what, Englehardt asks, is the mainstream media doing to connect the dots between these "drought hot spots"? Nothing. And if they don't do that, then they certainly won't be able to anticipate what kind of disaster worsening drought could throw an already struggling world economy into. Mass migration? Soaring food prices? It could look a lot uglier than it already does. But don't take my word for it. Read Englehardt's article.

Secretary of Energy Chu sees lack of public awareness as a major obstacle to any real slowing of the climate crisis. That's why we're praying the funding comes through for FUTURE WEATHER.

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