American Isolationism and Climate Change

Over the last few weeks the United States has experienced record breaking heat waves. Drought has hit the American heartland and wildfires are raging in the American west. Democracy Now correspondents recently questioned a panel of environmental experts as to what the hell is going on.  The take away; climate change is real and is happening. However, most Americans just do not hear about it.

Climate Change Is A Dirty Word

When is the last time you tuned into a weather broadcast and heard the weatherman say the words “climate change” or “global warming”? Odds are never. Jeff Masters of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a climatologist a meteorologist with Weather Underground says that one of the big reasons you never hear the climate change on a weather report is due to corporate sponsorship. Corporations own the TV channels.

If news and awareness of negative climate change is going to hurt the corporate earnings, than corporations are not going to allow climate change talk on their broadcasts. Another problem is if you are a weatherman talking about climate change odds, you are going to get a lot of hate mail. Why? Well, simply put Americans just do not know what is going on. America, for the most part, has been isolated by the climate change impact.

This isolationism will not only hurt our food stores, but our attempts at building a domestic, sustainable food supply. With so much corn going into ethanol production, combined with the drought pushing corn futures sky high, many biofuel companies may find themselves squeezed for feedstock.

Isolating Ourselves From Reality

In America if your house catches on fire due to wild fires in your area a fire department will save your house and contain the wild fires. Americans have flood insurance, earthquake insurance, fire insurance – because of a strong government Americans have the means to rebuild after a natural disaster. While these services are literally lifesaving, they do isolate Americans from the true impact of ongoing climate change. In developing nations where is no government or a weak government a person must face the extreme weather and the loss associated with that weather alone.

Christian Parenti is the author of Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence. The book looks at how climate change plays out through political institutions and then shows up as civil unrest and violence. Why did the Arab Spring kick off in Egypt? Egypt is the single largest grain wheat importer in the world.

In the months leading up to the Arab Spring in Egypt, the U.S. and Canada were impacted by floods. Australia had a massive drought.  Russia was hit by drought to the point Russia had to ban its wheat exports in 2010 in order to feed its own population. Wheat exports globally slowed. Food prices shot up and in Egypt were running at over 20% inflation a year from 2010 to 2011. Egypt’s Arab Spring began due to the rising cost of living — with food costs being at the center of it all. Food costs, which were increased due to extreme weather patterns on a global scale.

Source: alternet.org | Image: USDAgov via Flickr

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison

 

Andrew Meggison

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison