To The Editor,
“We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII”. So states Mr. Bill McKibben, writing in The New Republic. He goes on to say, “It’s not that global warming is like a world war. It is a world war. And we are losing.” Meanwhile, National Geographic, in a recent issue, stated that in the not too distant future, palm trees will grow at the North pole and alligators will swim in the Arctic ocean; unless this war is won.
A look back through history however shows that wars against ideologies always seem to have the opposite turnout to what supposedly was intended.
World War 1 was fought as the war to end all wars. That plan failed, with the result that today not one of the G7 countries could thrive economically if it were not for war machines and the targets against which they are used. War is perpetual now, having raised the USA with its fire power to the level of “American exceptionalism” where it can force its will wherever and on whomever it pleases.
The war on poverty started by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 did not work out so well for the poor. At that time, the official US poverty level in was estimated at 19%, or approx. 38 million people. Now in 2019, the percentage is about the same but considering the American population has almost doubled since then, the number of people living in poverty has increased to nearly 72 million. All while the eight richest people in the world (six are American) now hold as much wealth as the bottom 50% combined.
Similar for the war on drugs. When Richard Nixon started this engagement in 1971, its main objective was to wipe out recreational use of marijuana. Opioid deaths were mostly restricted to back allies and the odd celebrity. Now, after ruining countless lives with this fight, overdose deaths have reached the number where they are reducing average age expectancy. That while pharmaceutical companies reap fortunes from addictions and many who once stood firmly against cannabis use are now pushing the product from behind executive desks.
The war on climate change shows no reason to believe it will be different this time. Rich people fly private jets to meetings to tell poor people to use clothes lines and to give up their reliable familiar cars for electric; which are neither available, affordable, or functional in cold weather. In lieu of that, ride a bicycle. Then they fly back home after declaring need for carbon taxes affecting all but benefiting themselves. Rinse and repeat.
On the up side: Perhaps it is time to consider buying a chunk of Baffin Island. Be there to see the alligators arrive. Prices are low, but not for long.