April 03, 2008

Global warming is racist

Indigenous Peoples Hit Hardest By Climate Change

Biofuel production, renewable energy expansion, other mitigation measures uprooting indigenous peoples in many regionsIndigenous peoples have contributed the least to world greenhouse gas emissions and have the smallest ecological footprints on Earth. Yet they suffer the worst impacts not only of climate change, but also from some of the international mitigation measures being taken, according to organizers of a United Nations University co-hosted meeting April 3 in Darwin, Australia.

Impacts of climate change on indigenous people worldwide include:

  • In tropical and sub-tropical areas, an increase in diseases associated with higher temperatures and vector-borne and water-borne diseases like cholera, malaria and dengue fever;

  • Worsening drought conditions and desertification, leading to more forest fires that disrupt subsistence agriculture, hunting and gathering livelihoods, as well as serious biodiversity loss;

  • In the Arctic, stronger waves, thawing permafrost and melting mountain glaciers and sea-ice, bringing coastal and riverbank erosion.
  • Comment:  Free-market conservatives will argue that we aren't targeting indigenous people intentionally with climate change. But we know the consequences of our actions and we're letting them happen anyway--with callous disregard for the victims.

    Since the victims are primarily non-Western and non-white, that's racist. We're choosing to dump our problems on indigenous people rather than address them.

    Why? Because addressing the problems would mean reining in our profligate and wasteful lifestyles, and we can't do that. We're too greedy and selfish.

    For more on the difference between our values and those of indigenous people, see Hercules vs. Coyote:  Native and Euro-American Beliefs.


    dmarks said...

    "Since the victims are primarily non-Western and non-white, that's racist"

    Careful there. The existence of two events does not imply causality. That is an old logical fallacy, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

    Mind you, I think your general point goes in the right direction, but the simple statement above is empty without inserting actual racism into it.

    Rob said...

    Huh? A clear chain of causality links the events. Western countries are pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases are causing global warming. Global warming affects indigenous people disproportionately. Western countries know this yet continue their actions.

    To summarize, Western countries are knowingly targeting indigenous people with the effects of global warming. That's discrimination on the basis of race, or racism.

    dmarks said...

    I could buy that idea that if the effects appear to be racist, then it is racist.

    Rob said...

    If it makes you feel any better, let's say the First World is discriminating against the Third World regardless of its people's race or religion. It just so happens that most of the people in developing countries are nonwhite.