The content of this webpage, and everything associated with this webpage, is independent of the Peace Corps and the United States Government, though I think they should read it too. This blog solely reflects the experiences and observations of Jake DeBerry.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Water Shortages...say hi to global warming

Today, like many other days, I wake up and am confronted with no water. Entire week, same situation. Before my Peace Corps life, I knew of shortages around the world, lakes drying up, glaciers retreating – but in the States, you know something will be done about it and you might have to conserve, but not do without.
During the dry season here, the water we use comes from the glaciers. During the rainy season, rain water along with glacial water provides our water source. Right now, the glaciers provide a sufficient amount of water for us, even if we don’t have water every day – usually after a couple days, the water returns for a day or two, then no water…repeat.

What is going to be a huge problem for the farmers and families in the future is that the glaciers are receding about 6 feet a year…much faster than any previous time in history. So, in the near future, extreme water shortages are very plausible. Farmers will not be able to plant during the dry season which will lose a third of their income and food. That will add to the lack of nutrients their children receive and small issues will emerge into large problems.

What’s even scarier is my countrymen still don’t know or don’t believe that global warming is real or that we have an impact on the climate. Why is that? Here are two problems (among many) contributing:

One topic we hear often is that Mother Earth is so big and we are so little we can’t possibly have an effect. That’s what human intuition tells us – similar to the notion that the earth is not moving and it’s flat, that thunder comes before lightning, etc. Human intuition can be very useful among interactions with people, but it is scary just how wrong it is when looking at anything around the world. So, start thinking about all those things your intuition tells you about the world – those things you ‘feel’ – then realize that you’re probably wrong. But, after we kill ourselves off the planet is not going to disappear, but the climate of the past 4 billion years will be changed.

The biggest problem to me is the government and big business. The Republican agenda has never been more about enriching the already rich. Just take a look at the last 8 years and the income inequality growing, the economic problems, the dependence on oil. Big business certainly won’t change their carbon output because that’s expensive and Republicans won’t force it because they depend largely on that campaign money. So, this past government (and the one if McCain is elected), does everything it can to cast doubt and suspicion on the data scientists provide…for instance, the artic ice cap is melting and will probably be gone within 5 to 10 years…couldn’t be due to global warming! The glaciers here and elsewhere are retreating faster than any other time in history – NOPE, they’re not shrinking, they’re becoming more compact! The huge ice shelves breaking off in Antarctica…completely normal! The steady increase in temperature – the sun must be moving closer! Let’s keep borrowing money from China to buy that oil in the Middle-East!

Acknowledging global warming would affect our convenient routines and balance sheets, hence, a lie from the government, after all, is convenient – you don’t have to change. Did you know that Dick Cheney’s administration removed pages from a NASA report from the top climate scientist on global warming? The pages with clear language about the dangers of global warming were removed. Cheney then said that he can withhold classified documents because the vice president is not an entity within the executive branch – basically, he says he can do whatever he wants.

What kind of person would remove information warning us about the problems we are creating…not for us at this exact moment, but for our future children? My parents always told me there is nothing worse than lying – as many other parents told their kids – but then when the VP (and the entire Bush administration) lies, they’ll vote again for his party to keep the lies coming. How can you trust someone that would actually vouch for Dick Cheney after he does something like that? How can you trust anyone associated or influenced by him? He holds a public office representing the citizens of the US. When asked what he thinks that over 65% of Americans do not support the Iraq war, his response was, “So?” Corrupt, hypocritical, and selfish – that’s the Vice President of the US.

Global warming is a bigger threat than terrorism. The terrorist attacks on 9-11 killed 3,000 people. Billions of dollars have now been spent on the war on terror (a lot of that money funneled back to friends of Bush). We’ve now murdered more innocent people than that in our bombings of Iraq and Afghanistan – so many that there is no accurate estimate. And Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11! Over 4,000 American soldiers have been killed since 9-11. Violence leads to violence which leads to more violence – which has murdered a lot of people and will murder even more in the future.

Stop and think about global warming. By failing to act we will be killing hundreds of millions of people. It’s like putting ticking nuclear bombs all over the world; we just don’t know when they’ll go off. And, instead of finding them and dismantling, we’re ignoring them meanwhile the Bush administration is lying to the public about their existence.

Water shortages will lead to shortages of every other kind. The poor people of the world will be the first losers. Of course, Americans don’t see those poor people everyday, the malnutrition of children with big smiles and bright eyes, the farmers bent over from back-breaking work to feed their families. In fact, America not only ignoring the plight of others, but adding to it, continues the tradition of how we became such a rich nation. Out of sight – out of mind. Stop and think about the direct and indirect effects of how you live. How much longer can we ignore it?

One of my favorite musical artists is Michael Franti – I’ll finish with a quote from him: “You’re telling me it’s unpatriotic but I call it what I see it when I see it’s idiotic."


P.S. - The pictures in this blog are beautiful, aren't they? I took these during my last mountain climbing trip. You can see the spots where the glacier was just a year ago - now bare. This is just one of the things at stake by failing to react. I don't understand how anyone who claims to be a nature lover would vote Republican.


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