MUNCIE, Indiana – The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a new 2,600 page report this week compiled by over 300 scientists warning of the existing and potentially severe adverse future impact of climate change.
“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger,” the report declared.
How does this get translated to the United States citizens? Crickets…
Most of us were taught at a young age to respect our environment because we were connected to it. In school we learned how the ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) who work with nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), acting as a system – everything is connected. Kids today are taught this through cartoons, Discovery channel, and even kids books.
The message is always the same…”We are all part of the intricate web of life (circle of life) and if we destroy one part of this finely balanced system, then we throw off the entire system causing negative consequences for all components within the system.”
However our industrial revolution and economic system (capitalism) has other ideas about our ecosystem. Many capitalists only see natural resources as something to be exploited for money. Their goal is to extract the resources for their own profit. Both labor and technology are used to convert our natural resources into profit at even greater rates. Nothing is off-limits. They destroy forests, rivers, streams and mountains for profit.
How many polluted rivers and drinking water have we heard about this year alone?
We always read and/or hear about the poorly equipped EPA or a state environmental department which hadn’t inspected the source of the leak for many years. We’ve witnessed the same thing in Indiana.
Yet, we hear pundits continue to talk about the size of our government…”Big Government infringes on corporate expansion”, so companies threaten a relocation or job loss. Immediately, politicians like Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, who pander to the billionaire capitalists, slash environmental programs and adopt pro-business policies. Our U.S. Senator, Dan Coats, and Congressman Luke Messer, are the worst offenders.
The problem with these claims of “Big Government”, is they just don’t align with the facts. Large corporate interests use international competition to drive down environmental regulations and wages and even make secret trade pacts restricting all international governments from making stricter environmental policies. In Indiana, the state legislators force thru legislation handcuffing local governments from making stricter environmental standards.
Earlier this month, we highlighted the five key takeaways from the IPCC report on Muncie Voice. It explains in rather scary language: 1) we are hurting our food supply; 2) food prices will increase dramatically hurting the poor; 3) the world will become less stable; 4) wealthy countries are ignoring their impact causing more stress in poor countries; and 5) world leaders from the west can increase efforts this Fall with the coming convention.
You can read more highlighted consequences from the IPCC in the Middletown Voice. It is alarming, but a simple Google search shows very little media coverage from corporate owned media.
What’s also interesting is at the same time the IPCC report is released, Gallup issued its latest poll on climate change revealing, “A little more than a third say they worry “a great deal” specifically about climate change or about global warming, putting these concerns at the bottom of a list of eight environmental issues.”
Yes, only 35% of Americans say they are concerned about climate change or global warming. It’s also interesting that Gallup gave the poll takers a choice between “Global Warming” or “Climate Change”. We asked Gallup about this and Stephanie Holgado told us, “Gallup initially began using the term “global warming” in 1989 when it first asked about this issue. For continuity of trends, that wording has been continued.”
Leading the concerns of Americans is water pollution, contaminated air and soil, deforestation, and extinction of animals. All of the these are symptoms of the factors impacting our natural environment causing climate change.
Despite our globe being 75% water, the increasing acidity of our oceans isn’t even offered as an option. Maybe if your livelihood is derived from the oceans, you might be concerned, but even then, you’ll not hear about, or read about it, in your local paper. We are more concerned about local crime rates or reality shows appealing to the “dumbing-down” of our population.
If our environmental decisions made in Indiana increased the acidity of the Great Lakes or the Atlantic Ocean, wiping out entire species, you’d think we’d be told about it, right?
Don’t expect it from corporate owned media. The only ones covering these issues get tossed out of the room by politicians and their media connections. They are now labeled “eco-terrorists”.
Gallup’s report did show that politics also play a major role, “At the core, Democrats appear to have widely accepted the warnings about global warming, and well over half today say they worry about it a great deal. On the other hand, less than 20% of Republicans worry a great deal, while almost two-thirds say they worry only a little or not at all.”
How could they be so far apart? Facts are facts. Over 300 scientists contributed to the IPCC report. They are primarily employed by research and educational institutions ran by governments protecting academic freedoms to measure and evaluate these issues so officials can form proper policy initiatives. As we’ve noted, our government represents the people.
Since our government is an extension of the people, we want our government to protect the environment, because if our ecosystem is damaged, us humans will face negative consequences. We want to avoid negative circumstances, right?
To make sure the government is doing this job, we have journalists working for media companies like Gannett, or the IndyStar and Muncie StarPress. Last year, we caught a “prize-winning” journalist for IndyStar quoting from “Big Ags” trade magazine defending use of chemicals and GMO’s claiming “independent research”. No government has been allowed to test GMO’s. None. My comments were quickly removed from the column by the Editor of the IndyStar.
This issue is related to many other issues we’ve uncovered on Muncie Voice – it has to do with where they are getting their information and their basic belief system. The public is being brainwashed by propaganda submitted to corporate owned media convincing us “government is evil”.
It is the cause for everything wrong with the universe. “If you don’t have a job, it’s the government’s fault.” Or, “If you don’t make enough money, it’s because the government interferes in business.” Or, “If you have health insurance, or don’t have insurance, it’s the fault of the government.” My favorite is blaming the government for the collapse of the financial industry – “the government forced them to be greedy.”
These are obviously ludicrous ideas, because our government is the body of…”we the people”. Our constitution was the framing of our government. We cannot function as a country unless we have a strong government. These are fundamental ideas everybody knows without question, right?
In this country, we tend to listen to news and information that only reinforces our beliefs. Republicans and conservatives flock to Fox News, conservative radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and Gannett newspapers. Liberals flock to MSNBC and liberal radio, but you have to dig deeper than the noise at the surface.
For instance, while the liberal media passes along the IPCC findings, the conservative media has other sources of research they access and share with viewers. Where do these TV and radio producers get their material?
We’ve learned over the past 30 years, if you have enough money at your disposal, you can create non-profits, hire your own scientists who write their own reports drawing conclusions, and then buy enough media coverage to convince citizens that your version is correct, and government-backed science is wrong. Even if it goes against your own interests like polluted water, contaminated soil, poison air, etc.
The Heartland Institute is one such entity and so is the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), founded in 2003 by a distinguished atmospheric physicist, S. Fred Singer. According to their website:
NIPCC seeks to objectively analyze and interpret data and facts without conforming to any specific agenda. This organizational structure and purpose stand in contrast to those of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is government-sponsored, politically motivated, and predisposed to believing that climate change is a problem in need of a U.N. solution.
NIPCC claims NO agenda.
They’re an affiliate of the Heartland Institute which was created by Big Tobacco to refute claims that cigarettes and second-hand smoke were harmful to our health. When you spend 5 minutes looking up who funds this organization (Phillip Morris, Altria, Reynolds American, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Castle Rock Foundation, Sarah Scaife Foundation, John M. Olin Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley, Koch Industries, and the Walton Foundation), you’ll know it’s the who’s who of the free market libertarian agenda.
I have no idea how they can legally claim there is NO AGENDA. How about “maximizing profits by eliminating all government regulations?”
But, what about Gallup’s survey which shows that 53% of Americans are worried about water pollution and the 46% worried about our contaminated soil?
The republican officials, elected by voters, don’t care about the concerns of voters. They only need our votes to get into office, and once there, they go to work for the corporations and people who provided money to get them elected.
According to the Tides organization:
So, despite even republicans concerns about the environment, republican officials still voted against the best interests of their constituents.
Hoosiers voted a republican super-majority into our executive, senate and house offices, how do we rank on environmental issues?
According to Sourcewatch:
- Indiana is third highest in toxic power plant emissions
- Indiana is fourth highest in U.S. CO2 emissions
- Indiana is top in toxic water discharges
- Indiana water routinely exceeds “safe” mercury levels
- Indiana and Kentucky are the nation’s top two states for coal ash ponds
- Indiana became the first state legislature to kill its own existing energy efficiency program
So, it doesn’t take an advanced degree to see who is behind this campaign to damage our environment. You can track the money flowing through the vast network of conservative foundations coming from the Billionaire Club. These capitalists who’ve made billions of dollars exploiting human and natural resources set up foundations to weave money through a network of trusts and non-profits. They set up their own non-profit “research think-tanks” to publish findings which contradict legitimate government-backed scientists working for you and me.
The “think-tanks” have plenty of preferred media sources who publish these findings to the conservative base who votes the candidates into office with the help of campaign donations provided by the same “Billionaire Club”.
With the Citizens United ruling of SCOTUS and now the McCutcheon ruling, expect the problem to only get worse across the country. The only defense to what plagues our democracy being sold out to the highest bidder is an informed populace. Informed voters who will vote against the offenders who disrespect our environment and us. Free-thinkers who refuse to listen to the propaganda and simply look at the results. The evidence is visible with our own eyes.
Unfortunately, the number of free thinkers are declining since our educational system doesn’t emphasize critical thinking skills – they’ve been forced to teach students how to choose the best of four possible answers.