There is an old joke that X newspaper headline says: End of the world tomorrow, will hit women and minorities the most.

So today I read in ABS CBN that “Effects of global warming inevitable; poor countries to suffer more. Denver Post version HERE

Yup. The poor Philippines will get it on the chin as the earth gets warmer.

Scientists say there is global warming. Fine. I used to live in Minnesota, which was under 200 feet of ice 10,000 years ago. Obviously things are warmer.

And scientists say pollution is bad. Fine. I have asthma. I remember the 1950’s before the pollution controls on cars, when NYCity air was a thick as Manila during the rush hour.

But what I do have a problem with is the “religion” of global warming, the insists that American need to go back to living like the 1950’s to stop global warming, or to emulate those eco friendly people in the “third world”.

Hmm. I wonder if any of these nostalgic people ever LIVED in their romatic third world? Or even lived in rural America?

I mean, todays’ NYTimes has a sunny article about  the joys of hanging out clothes instead of using a drier.

Fine. But in her nostalgia she didn’t notice her mom stayed home to do the housework. And although it’s nice to have clothes hung out to dry here in the Philippines (where we have a laundry lady), it’s not that easy for American women to do the wash after they worked an 8 hour shift and then cooking dinner.

I mean, maybe if you live in California you could do it, but if you live in Bemidji Minnesota you’ll quickly decide that going to the laundromat is a lot better than the alternatives, which are to either hang the clothes outside when it’s dark and 20 below, or to live with wet sheets that take two days to dry in your basement or family room.

We need to separate the global warming/back to the good old days puritanical rigidity that will destroy globalization as we know it and see the reality of a globalization that causes many problems but has managed to pull a heck of a lot of oeople and countries out of poverty, and might even be the ultimate cure for living in a warmer world.

Take for example, the problems that will face the Philippines:

People in India and China could go hungry due to decrease in food as crops fail because of global warming;

Yes, or they could just plant different strains of rice that grow in hotter climates. I mean, Kansas was the “great American desert” that grew nothing until they discovered a Ukrainian wheat that would grow there. Same here. And with a global economy it wouldn’t take years to find the new crop and new ways to grow it.

Endemic morbidity and mortality due to diarrhea, cholera and dengue which are highly related with drought and floods are expected to rise in East and South Asia.

Yup. But you know, cholera and other diarrhea is not due to heat, but to countries that don’t supply clean water. And Dengue, like Malaria, is spread by mosquitoes. You know, those little insects that used to be killed by DDT before the “ecology” movement banned it? Seriously, I’m still waiting for our open air ditches that serve as sewers to be covered. Want to stop Dengue? First construct decent sewers, then spray with insecticides.

….provinces most susceptible to sea level rise, extreme weather events, and landslides are also among those with the highest poverty incidence.
The report also said that the cost of the impacts of extreme weather events brought about by typhoons and increased rainfall, already in the hundred millions, is steadily rising.

Ah yes. First we get Dengue and cholera due to drought, then landslides due to increased rainfall…make up your mind.

But as for landslides, they are caused by greedy politicians and greedy businessmen denuding our hillsides to get lumber. Reforest the slopes, jail those who destroy the forest.

A lot of the problems cited can, ironically, be decreased if the people were wealthy and the infrastructure was improved.

Yet, as this report points out, a lot of the “green” movement has the potential to devestate the tourist and export industries because of the emphasis on buying locally. The report goes on in detail how European policies have prevented African countries from exporting fresh fruits and vegetables to that continent by using “hygiene” standards as a way to block such imports. Now that African countries have managed to beat that barrier, they find a new one: private companies refusing to buy the produce in the name of ecological purity.

Similarly, the African tourist industry–not just safaris but the wonderful empty beaches– are on the verge of a boom. Yet now in the name of saving the Earth, Europeans are urged not to travel for vacations to save pollution from airplanes–and could taxes and regulations to impose this as law be far behind?

Here we have few European tourists, but many from Japan and Korea. Stop tourists, bye bye Borachay. Stop rich countries from buying imported rice and high priced hand made luxury items, and there goes our business, which is aimed at the upscale market in the Philippines and nearby countries.

The dirty little secret of puritans is that like Savonarola, they would eliminate all those lovely luxuries that are not needed in a utilitarian world: fashion, makeup, Art, music, flowers, and what my mother called “dust collectors” that decorate ourselves and our houses and allow thousands of artists and artisans to make a decent living.

But of course, the big threat in the ecosillies world view is evil oil.
Yet if the price of gasoline goes up, the poor suffer more: no fertilizer, no diesel for the handplow, no tricycle to go to market.

Replace diesel with “biofuel” and the Malaysian rainforest is cut down for biofuel farms, and the price of tortillas goes up. Take your choice. But when Brazil reminds Castro that biofuel might help Cuba’s ailing sugar industry, one suspects that there is no turning back.
In summary, I have no problem with living frugally.

I have a problem with the “Repent or die” rhetoric of the ecosillies.

I have no problem with buying things locally.

I do have a problem with some bureaucrat telling me I have to buy locally.

I have no problem with I have no problem with all these reports, but my problem is that too many of those in rich countries bragging they want pure green and humane solutions will end up harming the poor they claim to want to save.

And won’t they feel silly when we clean the air and stop pollution and then find out that 80% of global warming was from the sun cycle, and that some massive volcanic cloud has managed to put us into a global winter?


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. She writes about Zimbabwe and on development in third world countries at Makaipa Blog.

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