Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The High and Mighty Will Fall Hard

This report from Oxfam is not for the squeamish. Set aside some time to read it, if you are interested - it is a straightforward analysis and has excellent photographs, and interviews.. It is a detailed discussion about how climate change will impose deadly impacts on the poorest of the world - at first.

Of course, the poor will suffer sooner and more:

But eventually, the chickens will come home to roost for the wealthy, although many of them don't seem to be aware of that fact.

While out on a drive to run errands, I was stymied by a sign reading, "Bridge Out". Drats. It was quickest at that point to take a circuitous detour down a little country lane, actually one of the few roads remaining unpaved hereabouts, beloved by equestrians, walkers, and bicyclists. This detour, a familiar route for me, guided me past a property that was for the length of time she raised family, the home of Jackie Mars Vogel - who happens to be the fourth richest woman in America in 2008 (according to Forbes).


Driving past those pastures, stables, indoor riding ring, and caretaker cottages reminded me of the conceit that it will be other people, poor people, who live far away, whose lives will be drastically altered as climate change inexorably goes forward. This is hubris of the most self-destructive, and idiotic sort.

So in light of the Oxfam report I was curious to see as I drove past this quiet and well tended sanctuary whether it would reflect a relative insulation from climate chaos that the ultra wealthy conservatives seem to believe they will enjoy - I say that since they are doing exactly ZERO to promote necessary government action to avert the worst catastrophe. Quite the contrary, they are attacking Obama and any efforts to convert to clean renewable energy (no wonder - where are the obscene profits in that?).

So I stopped and took some pictures to illustrate that perhaps such a grand estate will be immune from tree decline as a result of climate change that I see everywhere else. Was that a success?
Judge for yourself!

There are paddocks on the other side of the road, this is Hunt Country, after all.

And a pond, with inquisitive geese.

The privileged won't be able to shield themselves behind privet hedges when they look as bedraggled as this.

A beautiful house surrounded by a whole lot of sad trees.

A closer look at the orchard reveals sick leaves and stunted apples.

Heading home, this episode inspired me to compare the condition of her property with some other famous locals, who ought to be interested to know that money and influence are not going to spare them or their families, and particularly their children, from dreadful consequences directly attributable to the effects of anthropogenic global warming.
Thus, I next swung by the home of Steve Forbes, failed Presidential contender who inherited the various executive positions at Forbes Magazine. The trees there were in sorry shape, as well. At the rate they are dropping foliage, there won't be much left to shield this mogul's home from any random passer-by.

Next, I ventured past the home of another well-known Republican, Governor Christie Whitman, former head of the EPA who assured everyone, for some inscrutable reason, that the air around the World Trade Centers after 9/11 was safe. She has since made some laudatory attempts to address climate change, but not very forcefully. Now that she's spent quite a bit of time with her family, can't she start looking at the lovely estate she inherited from her parents, the Todds, bastions of Republicanism, and recognize what a few camera clicks reveal?

This is only here because I liked the tractor.

Click on these because it's hard to see when it's small that rows of pines are bare of any needles around the pond.

The last property to visit for this examination was formerly owned by John DeLorean, before he went down in flames thanks to cocaine and other vices. Donald Trump scooped it up and destroyed perfectly good fox hunting terrain in order to construct an outlandish golf course. Swathes of trees were laid waste, and who knows how many wild critters lost their habitat and died. Giant earthmoving equipment re-sculpted the land, spewing lethal carbon in vast quantities.
The former stables now serve as the poolhouse.

The original mansion was just a boring big brick rectangle devoid of any architectural merit. Trump plastered on an extension for banquet facilities thus finalizing an epic aesthetic fail.

Now, I suppose these golfers who scurry over artificial hill and dale on their golf carts are rather prone to imagine they are out in nature, swatting their little balls, taking in the views, doing something healthy.
And I suppose they are as oblivious as everyone else to the plight of the native trees that escaped the construction carnage, as well as those ornamentals since planted.

Unless you are attuned to the symptoms of decline, these beeches don't look so bad when taken as a whole.

But a close up of the leaves tells the real story.

Wouldn't it be nice if these rich and powerful Republicans got realistic about climate chaos and started promoting ways for us to get off dirty energy, and urged their colleagues and fellow conservatives - like that son of a bitch Inhofe - to stop being the party of NO and obstructing all efforts to pass legislation - in order to protect everyone's children including their own? How about the Donald makes a genuinely real reality show, on the stupid teevee, about what is truly at risk - and Steve Forbes prints articles in his magazine about the horrendous costs of NOT radically cutting back on CO2 emissions, and the dastardly influence of the coal, gas, and oil industry lobbyists who are subverting the democratic process with their millions of campaign donations?

That should be a crime, by the way.

If their own trees don't convince them that no one will be safe from climate chaos, maybe they should read this:

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