Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Allow me to politicize this a little

We have now an environmental disaster that has led to the complete disappearance of a major American city--something inconceivable the day before yesterday. Whether New Orleans will be rebuilt and revived is unclear. Presumably it will. But it will take a long time.

But how could this have happened? It was not altogether an act of god. Obviously, environmental degradation and political and engineering unpreparedness are part of the answer. I don't mind politicizing this to point out that environmental degradation is the Republican stock-in-trade, and as it happens, I have just read that the New Orleans sector of the Corps of Engineers has been starved for funds by this Republican administration. This is the same Corps of Engineers that is presently scrambling to think of, and implement, a plan to fix the levee and pump the water out of the city.

Moreover, the wetlands that protect the city have been shrinking for decades. Is solving this problem anywhere on the radar for _any_ political administration you can imagine in America? Not as far as I know. How about global warming? Warmer water does not lead to more frequent hurricanes, or so I have read, but there is evidence that it does lead to more severe hurricanes. (Of course Republicans, who do not believe in evolution, don't believe in global warming either.) And when was the last time you met a Republican who considers rising sea levels a problem?

For an environmentalist like myself, who thinks that environmental issues are the most important ones facing the world, perhaps the most discouraging thing in all of this is the denial and the absurdity of the entire nation, under the guidance of Fox News and the other feeding-frenzy networks, going into hysterics over the problem of--looting.

Well, at least it has pushed Aruba out of the news.

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