Friday, July 27, 2012

Global Warming and Food Shortages with Violence: Clock Continues to Tick

For those not thoroughly worn out with talk of global warming (or worn out by the intense, unrelenting heat and drought in some parts of the globe--or the flip side of that pattern, the cool, damp weather in other areas), three articles that catch my eye today:

At The Nation, Mark Hertsgaard thinks it's possible to "make the 2012 heat wave a landmark event," if citizens use the newfound and increasingly widespread awareness that we are well into global warming as a rallying point for mobilization.  He also notes, as I've been noting, that food shortages with attendant violence can well be the outcome of these now recurrent cycles of heat and drought in many major food-producing parts of the planet:

Meanwhile, the United States is suffering the worst drought in fifty years, leading the Department of Agriculture to declare more than 1,000 counties—about one of every three in the nation—natural disaster zones. The reverberations will be global and may include violence. 

At Common Dreams (and The Guardian), Lester Brown also maintains that the world may be closer to food crisis than many of us dream.  Brown notes that initial optimism about a bumper crop of corn in America's breadbasket following this spring's warm weather has turned to dismay as relentless heat and drought are decimating the corn crop. 

He concludes:

The world is in serious trouble on the food front. But there is little evidence that political leaders have yet grasped the magnitude of what is happening. The progress in reducing hunger in recent decades has been reversed. Unless we move quickly to adopt new population, energy, and water policies, the goal of eradicating hunger will remain just that. 
Time is running out. The world may be much closer to an unmanageable food shortage – replete with soaring food prices, spreading food unrest, and ultimately political instability– than most people realise.

And at Common Dreams, Alexander Reed Kelly links to a Reuters report published in The Guardian which finds more than 53% of the U.S. suffering drought conditions, and about a third of the Midwest--the grain-producing heartland--in the most extreme drought the region has seen in five decades.

The clock is ticking.  And to many of us, it appears to be ticking down.

And as it does so, the U.S. Catholic bishops are doing everything short of standing on their heads to assure that Catholics vote for the party of "life" in the coming elections.  A party that appears not only to have absolutely no policy recommendations at all to address global warming, but which wants to give as many protections as possible to the industries producing the pollution that results in planetary climate change (and, it appears, which will produce food shortages and violence if the pattern persists).

Makes you wonder what the U.S. Catholic bishops mean by "pro-life," doesn't it?

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