Is Climate Change Everybody’s Guilt?

By Gustavo A Maranges on August 28, 2022 from Havana

Climate change is an undeniable reality even when some people insist on saying it is not.  It is as if it was a problem in the future that should not worry us today because, as we say in my country: “there are no worse blinders than those who do not want to see.” Thirty long years have passed since research and evidence started to come out to prove how real and urgent climate change is. So it is naïve to think that those who deny what is evident are ignorant or misinformed people. It is rather a matter of the controlling economic and political interests and their expediency disguised as ignorance.

The result of human activity has deteriorated environmental conditions to such an extent that today the lives of millions of human beings are in danger. Although this statement is true, it comes with a linguistic error, since actually “mankind” is not to blame for the current situation. For scientists, the term may be useful, but for us ordinary folks, it is necessary to be clear that we are not individually or collectively responsible for this.

That said, it is necessary to establish the differences between being responsible for the damage and being responsible for avoiding or reversing it. The second part does include all of us, but we cannot avoid the truth that most of climate change’s causes are related to the actions and decisions of a small group of corporations, countries, and economic activities, which are not always the most productive ones. However, they are geopolitically strategic and economically the most profitable.

These were the underlying issues that American journalist and documentary filmmaker Abby Martin recently discussed at an event held by the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) in Havana and that will be included in her soon to be released documentary on the Pentagon’s military bases. The film comes after a thorough investigation of US military facilities, their operations, and their impact on the places where they are deployed.

It is no secret that the U.S. military has around 800 bases spread around the world in 80 countries so there are few areas on the planet that do not suffer directly from the harmful consequences generated by the activities of U.S. military operations and bases. These facilities have not only proven to destroy the communities around them but, according to Martin’s research, they are the greatest polluting institution in the world by far.

More is known about how the U.S. military has destroyed societies but little is said about the environmental impact it has had and the poison it leaves behind after its wars or occupations.  Vietnam is a good example where there are still thousands of hidden ordinances that go off 45 years after the ending of the US war, killing or maiming farmers in their fields or the toxins like agent orange that has made vast areas of that country un arable for generations to come.

To make this documentary, Martin’s team visited Hawaii, Alaska and Guam where they recorded the existence of many environmental disasters due to the Armed Forces activities. Spills of toxic products have destroyed entire ecosystems while contaminating water supply sources and arable land.

The data collected reveals that the Pentagon is the most consuming institution in the world and the largest waste producer however there is no regulation or oversight of their activities, nor are they subject to compliance with any of the international treaties on environmental protection.

The testimonies collected by the Martin and her team are painful and outrageous at the same time. It shows how deceived the people of the US are when it comes to  military activities and they are kept in the dark about how many human and environmental atrocities have been done in their name.

Thanks to projects like the one Abby Martin has done, fewer and fewer people are buying into the triumphalism and self righteous discourse used by propaganda makers to describe the Pentagon’s actions. They want us to believe they are defending  the sacrosanct “interests of the United States,” but never tell us at what price. The price is the endangerment of the lives of millions of people, including Americans themselves.  As Martin made clear in her talk climate change does not respect borders, and we can see that in all the dramatic weather taking place to the massive fires in the west to the intense storms and flooding in the east of the US.

Monsoon rains in Pakistan have caused nearly 1,000 deaths and 4.2 million people affected in regions that were ravaged by heat waves of up to 52 degrees Celsius just a month ago. Likewise, in Europe, the length and intensity of heat waves have increased, causing over 1,000 deaths in this summer alone. Meanwhile, in Latin America, intense droughts and heat waves have been reported in Mexico and Texas. All this has caused economic losses valued at US$75 billion in the first half of this year.

This documentary will also unveil that beyond the Armed Forces, the greatest threat to the environment is the immense military-industrial complex behind it, which has its main exponents based in the US.

If the large and growing defense budgets are questionable, imagine how questionable would be the price that humanity as a whole  must pay for sustaining  an industry that contributes nothing but death and destruction.

We face a grave threat, which demands urgent actions to limit their negative impact and reverse it if possible. This is our main challenge today, as it is a matter of life or death for everyone.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – US