Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey, ho, nobody home.


Meat nor drink nor money have I none.
Still will I be very merry merry-

An old round, lots of fun to sing with 3 or 4 parts, and with a German version too; Hey-o spann den Wagen an.

A couple days go Daharja commented on my "Emergency Room Shock" post that the big financial crisis stuff was really mostly an American problem- not the rest of the world yet.

But it is.  If you want more heartbreak, read this BBC article about the situation in Haiti.  Or this one, on East Africa.

Haiti has been a humanitarian catastrophe for decades at least- hundreds of years, really.  But this is different.  From being "on the edge" - they are over it.

A million homeless?  A city- entirely flattened? 17 million starving in Africa?

One ship from the USA- could make a huge difference in the suffering.  But- we're just too busy to notice, and too frightened for our own futures to care.

We'll be seeing a lot more of that- but it's already here.  Darfur- in our own backyard, right now.

3 comments:

helwen said...

I agree that the financial situation in the U.S. is not just a U.S. problem. Since a lot of other countries have stocks, options, whatever in the companies that are in trouble, there are connections around the globe that aren't always easy to see.

Brian McCain said...

I'm going to ask an open ended question here, one that I don't necessarily have an answer to, but I think needs to be asked when talking about sending aid to places like East Africa.

By sending aid, are we just serving to continue the problem by artificially sustaining populations who live in areas where the land just can't support them?

I met a food biologist on the weekend who informed me that even countries such as the UK couldn't sustain their current population internally.

Greenpa said...

Brian - a serious question, and a difficult one. I think the answers are rather personal, at this point.

My own is this: If I were THERE, on the site; could I see the misery, and not do all I could to ease it? And my answer for that is; no, I couldn't.

From there, I get to- how could I behave differently, just because the pain is out of sight?

My own answer is- as a humane person, stop the present anguish; then work for stability.

Even from cold, distant perspective, I think that approach makes at least as much sense as "let them die off to a level they can sustain."

From many standpoints, the die-off choice could be hugely more destructive, not only in terms of human pain, but in terms of the long-term carrying capacity of the ecosystems involved.

My beliefs. All very difficult. I'm a "food biologist", too- your friend is right, the UK is over local carrying capacity- most places are. On the other hand, they currently have negative population growth rate- as does much of Europe. If all the idiot economists die off soon (highly likely right now!) perhaps we can get people to recognize that as wonderful.