April 5, 2011 – I really can’t say enough good things about algore.com, not to mention its eponymous founder. Since I’m not a member of Michael Ruppert’s Collapsenet, I can’t compare the two. The Gore site is free, and I think it makes available an admirable quantity of high-quality news and up-to-the-minute information. Today, the former vice president highlights an editorial that ran yesterday at the American Medical Association’s news site, amednews.com. (If you would like to read the entire editorial, go to http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/04/04/edsa0404.htm#top)
I can think of no better way to begin than to quote the first paragraph of the editorial:
“If physicians want evidence of climate change, they may
well find it in their own offices. Patients are presenting
with illnesses that once happened only in warmer areas.
Chronic conditions are becoming aggravated by more
frequent and extended heat waves. Allergy and asthma
seasons are getting longer. Spates of injuries are result-
ing from more intense ice storms and snowstorms.”
This is an “angle” of climate disruption to which I’ve given some thought, but which has been overshadowed by the broader catastrophes of flood, drought, and wind. How well can people, dealing with medical conditions worsened by a warmer, more volatile climate, address problems other than their own, that have the very same climate disruption cause? We can do no better than look to Japan for a case-in-point. As difficult as it has been for the Japanese people to rise to their current situation, think how much more difficult it would be if significant numbers of Japanese were ailing, due to climate-exacerbated illnesses.
And on our own shores? Again, from the AMA editorial: “Maine, … , is seeing similar trends in terms of climate affecting chronic conditions, although instead of injuries from hurricanes, it’s expected to have a rising rate of heart attacks and problems related to extreme snow, ice and cold. Climate change produces weather extremes on both ends of the temperature spectrum. In Maine, that’s being seen in a marked increase of Lyme disease. It has risen tenfold in 10 [sic] years, particularly in the central and northern parts of the state, which had not seen the disease until recently.”
How long have we, in this country, lamented the health effects of malnutrition and ignorance on the populations of poorer, less educated countries? Surely it has not been lost on us that people without access to minimal sources of sustenance and healthcare are condemned to days devoted only to surviving (think Haiti). While these days need not be devoid of hope, the toll exacted by malnutrition and superstition becomes part of a vicious cycle of inertia, then decline. Nothing ever gets better, only worse. Could it be that this is what awaits a humankind ravaged by climate disruption, never at peace because of life-threatening storms, malnutrition, accidents, diseases which can’t be treated due to a lack of medicine and/or a lack of doctors?
It may well be time for basic medical training to be offered to those interested in learning it. Perhaps something akin to the training given to paramedics. We already have the examples of women who have learned to be midwives or doulas, and those among us who have taken it upon themselves to master therapeutic touch or natural healing, homeopathy, and the like. Learning how to set a broken bone might well be a skill that will come in handy during future, more accident-prone times. We could do considerably worse than to follow our grandparents' example when they “hoped for the best and planned for the worst.”