Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Indigenous irony in Palin's Alaska

Sarah Palin has not put much credence in climate change, or specifically, in global warming. In essence she has said that if there is such a thing as global warming, it is not because of anything humans have done.

In this regard, she has followed her idol, George W. Bush, for the past eight years. Climate change was not something Ms. Palin worried about. She'd rather shoot wolves from a helicopter. Climate change? Ignore it; maybe the naysayers will go away.

And that in spite of the consensus of scientists around the world that the danger climate change poses is not only real, but is growing more serious much more rapidly than anyone thought. It seems now that the only so-called "scientists" who kicked back against the reality of climate change were those paid by the oil companies and other corporate liars to do so.

Here's the irony. According to the Anchorage Daily News, "Hundreds of indigenous people from around the world are gathering in Anchorage this week to discuss climate change and solutions for a warming planet."

It isn't any secret that few governments and few government officials give a damn about indigenous people. That has been true since time immemorial and while there has been some movement to address the special needs of indigenous people, they remain way down on the priority lists.

So, ironically, indigenous peoples gather in Palin's state to see what they can contribute to the solution of this threat to all humanity. Their gathering is called "The Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change" and is "a five-day United Nations-affiliated conference" [which] will run through Friday, with about 400 people from 80 nations expected to attend."

Mary Pemberton tells the story in an excellent article for the Anchorage Daily News. She quotes Patricia Cochran, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, an organization representing about 150,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka in Russia, who said "Indigenous peoples have contributed the least to the global problem of climate change but will amost certainly bear the greatest brunt of its impact."

Cochran went on to say that indigenous people are seldom listened to when it comes to climate change and she hopes this conference will turn that around.

"We wanted to have a unified voice, to be able to have more influence over the political and other decisions that are being made that impact our communities."

How is climate change affecting indigenous people? In Newtok, in Western Alaska, says Pemberton, a river is rising so fast that residents are having to flee to higher elevations. "The whole village is sinking," said one resident.

Furthermore, "the permafrost has become extremely delicate and the tundra now is prone to tearing if vehicles run over it in the summer." And once it tears it begins to melt.

Indigenous people from around the world have similar stories which, different in kind, still derive from climate change. Southern Australia is in the midst of one its worst droughts ever!

Other areas of concern include Papua, New Guinea; Borneo; Mexico; South America; Africa.

It's about time the rulers of the nations listened to the people. Hell, they might even learn something!

You can read all of Mary Pemberton's article here.

Here's a video examining the effect of global warming on Mount Everest.


Grandpa Eddie said...

Like Pogo said, "We have met the and they is us."

Bob Poris said...

It is a tragedy that greed has allowed people to ignore global climate change and slowed the efforts of scientists to slow or reverse the affects. We wasted eight years and cannot regain the lost time for research designed to handle a worldwide problem.

We ahd better find some way to search for facts or we shall suffer the consequences.

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