Wednesday, April 02, 2008

$300 Million to Motivate USA on Climate Crisis + $500 Million to Save Starving Masses = $11.2 Billion Less than 1 Month in Iraq; How is this Possible?

Image: Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe

$300 Million to Motivate USA on Climate Crisis + $500 Million to Save Starving Masses = $11.2 Billion Less than 1 Month in Iraq; How is this Possible?

By Richard Power

Al Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection have launched a three-year, $300 million advertising campaign with a “we” theme: “This climate crisis is so interwoven with habits and patterns that are so entrenched, the elected officials in both parties are going to be timid about enacting the bold changes that are needed until there is a change in the public’s sense of urgency in addressing this crisis,” Gore said. “I’ve tried everything else I know to try. The way to solve this crisis is to change the way the public thinks about it.” Washington Post, 3-31-08costs

(Gore is putting his own money into it, i.e., "all his proceeds from the Oscar-winning documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth,' the best-selling companion book, his salary from the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and several international prizes, such as the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which add up to more than a $2.7 million.")

Meanwhile, as the planet staggers under the weight of its monstrous, multi-headed sustainability crisis, the UN's World Food Program (WFP) has issued an urgent call for $500 million to fend of a "a perfect storm of hunger" resulting from the soaring cost of food and fuel: Meteoric food and fuel prices, a slumping dollar, the demand for biofuels and a string of poor harvests have combined to abruptly multiply WFP's operating costs, even as needs increase. In other words, if the number of needy people stayed constant, it would take much more money to feed them. But the number of people needing help is surging dramatically. It is what WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran calls "a perfect storm" hitting the world's hungry. ...Los Angeles Times, 4-1-08

(Nor is the WFP's concern limited to those who depend on such aid for their day to day survival in Darfur and other forsaken lands: "... at least as alarming, WFP officials say, is the emerging community of newly needy. These are the people who once ate three meals a day and could afford nominal healthcare or to send their children to school. They are more likely to live in urban areas and buy most of their food in a market.")

So for a cool $800 million, the human race could not only avoid immediate personal catastrophe in the lives of many millions of people, it could also significantly mitigate the threat of long-term, all-consuming catastrophe on a planetary scale.

Of course, $800 million is only $11.2 billion shy of the cost of one month of the US occupation of Iraq. Yes, that's right. We are spending $12 billion a month in order to sacrifice the men and women of the US military (4,000 + and counting), contribute to the burgeoning child prostitution problem among Iraqi refugees in Jordan, Syria and elsewhere (50,000 + and counting), and inflict a a severe blow to US economic power (estimated to be in excess of $3 trillion) among other ghastly things. All for the sake of hegemony over oil fields, yes, oil fields -- the very energy resource that is fueling both dire climate change and the perfect storm of hunger.

After all that Gore has accomplished (and after all the world's scientists have documented), how is it possible that the USA would still be in such denial that a $300 million advertising campaign would be needed to get this country moving forward on global warming?

How is it possible that upon hearing an urgent cry for $500 million from the World Food Fund the President of the USA, whoever it happened to be, would not quickly have the cameras brought into the Oval Office to watch him or her write a check that was simultaneously matched by the leaders of the other great nations?

But then again, how is it possible that the USA would accept a President that had not been elected, or allow its Constitution to be incrementally suspended or sustain a war which had been revealed to be predicated on lies?

What the US business community and body politic must come to understand is that although it is the people of Darfur today, the day after tomorrow it may well be us.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

For a directory of Words of Power UN Millennium Goals Updates, click here.

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