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Unnatural disasters

Salvador Sandoval M.D.  |  Issue: November | December 2018
Puerto Rico protesters

The ‘shock doctrine’ of natural, unnatural, and man-made disasters is being used to paralyze, disarm, displace, and uproot working class families for private profit.
Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Florence are example of this doctrine.
PHOTOS: RENA SCHILD / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM , JEAN-FRANCOIS MANUEL/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM, PARILOV / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

 

Devastating fires in Northern California, recurrent flooding in the Rio Grande valley of Texas, monster hurricanes devastating North Carolina and the Florida panhandle and the entire state of Alabama – all this makes you wonder what in the world is going on.

And Puerto Rico has not yet recovered from the ravages of last season’s hurricane Maria. Thousands are still without electricity and reliable sources of clean drinking water. The death toll has slowly been boosted from 69 to more than 4,000, and still counting.

 

Woman with kids in natural disaster

PHOTOS: RENA SCHILD / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM , JEAN-FRANCOIS MANUEL/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM, PARILOV / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

 

How in God’s name can anyone deny that we are witnessing climate change? Yet that is exactly what our President is doing. And he and the Republicans are not alone in this denial. Instead they serve as shock troops for a more sinister agenda.

Despite warnings of the vast majority of scientists that our current carbon-based and fossil fuel-based technology is rapidly raising the temperature of the planet, and that we are quickly approaching a point of no return, our political leaders persist on this dangerous path. That is why our country was withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accords. We have 12 years to turn things around, warns a reputable global warming report  (https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/blogs/ipcc-report-climate-global-warming-12-years).

 

Child in natural disaster

PHOTOS: RENA SCHILD / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM , JEAN-FRANCOIS MANUEL/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM, PARILOV / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

 

We have to ask ourselves why and whose interests are being served by doing so?

Ever since the ravages of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, it has become increasingly clear that the “shock doctrine” of natural, unnatural, and man-made disasters is being used to paralyze, disarm, displace, and uproot working-class people for private profit.

To date, thousands have never been able to return to their devastated homes in New Orleans. Schools have been privatized. Lucrative construction contracts have benefited the wealthy supporters of Bush. And New Orleans has been converted into a playground for the wealthy.

A similar agenda is cruelly being imposed on survivors of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico. The island is being depopulated. Laws are being changed by a non-elected emergency financial manager board to encourage wealthy developers for tax-free havens and austerity measures for hurricane survivors.

Our government refused more than token aid, claiming that the Puerto Ricans somehow did not deserve more because they are heavily in debt, something that many claim is an exaggerated excuse and violation of the Puerto Rican constitution.

We have it within our means to halt and potentially reverse climate change, and its devastating impact on our planet and the mass of humanity. Renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind can replace our current dependence on coal, oil, and gas by “keeping fossil fuels in the ground.” Green jobs can replace polluting ones.

The main barrier standing in the way is the fact that a handful of powerful people have $10 trillion dollars invested in carbon-based fossil fuels.

Trump claims climate change is a hoax promulgated by the liberal media. The “environmental governor” Jerry Brown approved 20,000 new oil wells in California, using as justification: “You think you can collect $10 million or $20 million [from oil lobbies] and not let it affect your judgment?”

Our rulers have demonstrated that they are no longer fit to rule. They would rather sacrifice our well being and the health of the planet we all depend upon for sustenance, for short-term financial gain. It’s time for a change. Our future and that of our children depend upon it.

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