The Path We Choose, Colltalers
Why don’t they call it climate change? The apocalyptic wildfires burning California and Oregon are frightening enough to trigger public outrage. But the fact that only 15% of media coverage mentions it shows how gas and oil corporations are spending their Covid-19 bailout money to avoid scrutiny.
It’s the United Nations’ 75th anniversary and the General Assembly gathers in New York to reassess its relevance. It’s not part of Taliban-Afghanistan talks and has had only a limited role in the pandemic, and yet, it’s as crucial today as ever. Meanwhile, there’s been bad news about a virus vaccine.
Before diving into that, let’s also reassess the week that’s been, starting by a WWF report on the two-thirds of the world’s wildlife wiped out by human activity in the past 50 years. It’s a staggering loss only compounded lately by catastrophic wildfires and man-made climate change. A vicious circle, it begins with rising global demand for forest clearings for agriculture, which then become out-of-control fires, ultimately killing more flora and fauna.
Adding to the Amazon Rainforest, for instance, which it’s burning at a faster clip than 2019, fires rage now through Pantanal, Brazil’s wetlands, home to jaguars and other endangered species. Then and now, though, President Bolsonaro remains unmoved to the fate of animals and indigenous peoples. There as in the West Coast, it’s the countless anonymous heroes who supply the compassion that counters these horrifying tales of tragedy and despair.
There’s an uproar in Mexico against femicide, the rampant violence and killing of women, which lockdowns only aggravated and may surpass last year’s record of 3,833 deaths. As President Andrés Lópes Obrador calls such protests a ‘conspiracy,’ feminists
at NiUnaMenos and Aequus groups have joined Marcela Aleman and Silvia Castillo, whose daughters were either raped or killed or both, to occupy the country’s Human Rights Commission.
Violence against women has been on the rise throughout Latin America, in tandem with their enhanced role as mothers and providers to their families during the pandemic. ‘Intentional killing of women because they’re women,’ as well as rates of rape and abuse, have also spiked among minorities and impoverished indigenous communities in Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, among others. Strangely, there’re not many studies about the situation in the U.S.
On a related calamity, Mexican journalist Julio Valdívia was beheaded in Vera Cruz last week, a sobering reminder that many of those reporting on the violence may also fall victim to it. The Committee to Protect Journalists has called Mexico and the entire continent one of the deadliest to the press.
The dystopic, red-intense ‘Blade Runner‘ images of California and Oregon wildfires couldn’t be a more explicit example of the devastation a warmer planet has in store for humanity. Some half a million people may have been evacuated to no one knows exactly where, and we’re just at the beginning of the season. For the media not to link that to fossil burning and negligence about the climate emergency should indeed be treated as a criminal matter.
More than 7,000 oil, gas, and petrochemical companies have collected from $3 billion to $7 billion in funds from federal bailout programs set to help Americans cope with the coronavirus epidemic, according to the Sierra Club. But while Republicans have blocked and short-changed workers and low-income taxpayers, companies had immediate access to the funds. The industry that must be dismantled or it’ll kill us got a lifeline from Washington.
Talks among the warring forces fighting the U.S. in Afghanistan have started and ended in the past with no time set to end the war or even discernible improvements. Whether this time will be different remains to be seen. But we know what the Trump administration is trying to accomplish by joining the talks, and it’s nothing to do with bringing the troops home. Just like a planned ‘vaccine’ announcement, it’d be another timely prop for re-election.
For there’s no safe vaccine to hit the market in the next 60 days, only the ‘promise’ of one, including the one being developed in Russia. In fact, the most eagerly expected one, that AstraZeneca is developing with Oxford University, has had a serious setback last week and it’s added even more trials before it can be approved. Regardless that Anti-Vaxxers stage phony indignation rallies, vaccines must be thoroughly tested or they may indeed kill.
Trump has taken steps to profit from whichever reaches the market first, even if it proves ineffective or toxic. For that is beside the point: just its mere announcement is likely to deliver him four more years. For those seeking comfort in poll figures showing him behind in the race, just consider the U.S. is near seven million Covid cases and 200,000 deaths, but according to the GOP retelling, the patient may be dead but the operation was successful.
Since the 1980s, Rieli Franciscato had been working on getting to know and contact Amazon tribes that refuse to come out of their secluded existence. Last week, he was killed by an arrow from the one known as the Cautario River group. It was a great loss to the movement of protection of isolated tribes which are now under even more danger. Fires and the spread of Covid-19 in the Rainforest have been decimating local indigenous populations.
Brazilians are a little ambivalent about natives peoples, and their remoteness to the mainstream of society, both geographically and culturally, has been a too wide a gap to cross. We admire and fear for those who dedicate their lives to bridge that gap. Not just because they’re usually vulnerable to the kind of fatality that took Franciscato, but because they’re also all but ignored by average citizens. But there’s no survival without these original peoples.
The guy at your corner deli, the rain-soaked mail lady, the kid who delivered your dinner, the sanitation man who took away your rubbish, they’re all carrying on often in better ways than you and I. They’re not losing their sleep over your tip, or think twice about helping you cross the street. Like the nurse who saved your neighbor, they serve because life without tending to others doesn’t make sense. Like us, they too don’t deserve to being lied to.
We work hard to become better, we refuse to give in to cynicism, we teach our young that the world is theirs but they still have to earn it. We don’t need to put up with greedy billionaires, or leaders who’d do anything to remain in power. We may need to work harder but some things we do know: there’s no saying when the next virus or climate catastrophe will hit us, only that next time, we must have an honorable government to stand by us. Cheers. WC