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Climate Change May Raise The Prospects Of East African Drought And Famine—American Conservatives Do Not Care

A recent article in New Scientist said that changing weather patterns have increased the chance for recurring drought in East Africa. 

(Above–Oxfam photo of a family gathering firewood in drought-stricken Kenya in 2011.)  

From New Scientist

“Last year’s drought occurred because both of the region’s rainy seasons failed. We already know that the trigger for the failure of the “short rains”, between October and December 2010, was La Niña – a cyclical meteorological event caused by a pulse of cool water rising to the surface of the eastern Pacific Ocean. But efforts to work out why the “long rains” that occur between March and May fail have drawn a blank – until now.

Bradfield Lyon and David DeWitt of Columbia University in New York examined records of the long rains and found that they have been much more likely to fail since 1999. That year also marked a sharp rise in sea-surface temperatures in the western tropical Pacific Ocean, while further east the ocean cooled.”

The story goes on to very clearly state that the reasons for the prospect of recurring drought in East Africa are by no means the definite result of man-made climate change. The article says that studies are now ongoing to see if the droughts are naturally occurring, are influenced by human activity, or are caused by some combination of these two factors.

(It should also be noted that some of the problems of famine in Somalia have been caused by Islamic insurgent groups stopping shipments of food.)

The thing is that here in the United States one of the two major political parties won’t even allow all the needed research to take place, and won’t even consider the prospect that man-made climate change is for real.

And if a bunch of people in Africa die so we don’t have to change our lives in any way, or so we can retain the ideological purity of the Republican Party—Then I guess that is the way it goes.

Many American conservatives have reached the point where they see bike trails as a United Nations plot.

A recent Oxfam report says that global response to the 2011 famine drought in East Africa was very slow in starting, and that many lives were lost as a consequence.

Here is a BBC series of reports about famine in East Africa.

Here is a New York Times page of a number of links and articles about climate science.

Here is how to make a donation to Oxfam for famine relief.  I just made a small donation as it seemed the thing to do to back up my post.

Another thing we can all do in the United States is to ask our political leaders to at least be open to the prospect of climate change, and to support the necessary research to determine the facts.

We are not the only people in the world. What we do impacts others.

February 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Basic Facts About Somalia And East Africa Famine—-Please Consider A Donation For Famine Relief

I made a small donation this morning to Oxfam for famine relief assistance in Somalia and East Africa.

Here are some facts on this disaster as it relates to Somalia from the New York Times-

“The Shabab Islamist insurgent group, which controls much of southern Somalia, is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape Shabab territory.The group is widely blamed for causing a famine in Somalia by forcing out many Western aid organizations, depriving drought victims of desperately needed food. The situation is growing bleaker by the day, with tens of thousands of Somalis already dead and more than 500,000 children on the brink of starvation.”

Though this crisis is in some part man-made, it also has a lot to do with a lack of rain in the area. Issues of famine extend beyond Somalia. And while in Somalia there are impediments being placed on the work that can be done to ease the famine, progress can still be made if relief groups have resources.

Not as visible as disaster as the Japanese tsunami and in a more remote part of thew world, donations have been difficult to come by for this crisis.

The link above also has a list of aid agencies taking donations.

There is always a lot going on in the world and there is always a lot of trouble. At the same time, there are often many people willing to help if they are aware of the problems.

The BBC has a full section of online reports detailing the scope of famine in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Here is a BBC article dealing with some of the specifics of this famine.

From that article—

“The UN says East Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, with more than 10 million people threatened by starvation in four countries – Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. It has been caused by the lack of rains and the failure of governments to adequately finance agriculture and irrigation schemes….To make matters worse, al-Shabab forced most Western aid agencies out of the areas they control in 2009, severely hampering the aid effort in much of Somalia.”

It is true that this part of the world has had famine issues in the past, and that some of the problems could have been avoided if better policies had been in place. Yet these views are of cold comfort to the person with no food. Most people impacted by the famine have had no hand in causing the famine.

I ask folks to please consider learning more about this famine problem, and to consider a donation to help alleviate the disaster.

August 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Albino Buffalo Seen In Kenya

An albino buffalo has been found in Kenya. Above you see a picture of the albino buffalo. 

This albino buffalo, the first ever seen in Kenya, may have a life ahead of nothing but trouble.

First, because it is white it may be more visible to predators.

Also, local Maasai farmers have a prejudice against both albino animals and albino people. They view albinism as a bad omen.

Recently I wrote about Africans who keep big, expensive and somewhat useless Ankole Cattle as status symbols. I noted that it is in a way reassuring  to know that people in other parts of the world behave in as dumb a manner as we do in the United States.  This story leads me to repeat that observation.

Here is information about the Maasai people. I’m sure they are excellent people, but they should leave albino people and creatures alone. Below are some Maasai people.  

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The type of buffalo that lives in Africa is the African Buffalo. Please click here to learn about the African Buffalo.

Here is an explanation of albinism.

Please click here for a previous post about an albino killer whale.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Hello People Of The World!

I want to say this evening that I’m an American citizen and a citizen of the world as well. I’m a citizen of the United States because the wheel came up on my number and I was born here. I’m citizen of the world because we all are and because we all matter. Existence itself is good enough for me when it comes to seeing who counts in life.

I’m glad that folks around the world are taking heart and gaining hope from the fact that Americans elected Barack H. Obama as President of the United States.

Above are students at a school in New Delhi.

And here is my blogger friend at A Wide Angle View Of India.

Below are some folks in Kenya.

Hello Kenya!

Here is the excellent Global Voices with links to world bloggers writing on the American election. 

Both photos are from the New York Times.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facts, Views & Bloggers On The Trouble In Kenya

Family flees violence in Kenya

Folks in Kenya are slaughtering each other.

Straight out the Nazi playbook of burning synagogues, a church full of people was burned in the Kenyan city of Eldoret.  30 people were burned to death.

The pretense is the disputed outcome of the recent Presidential election.

Closer to the heart of the matter may be long standing ethnic and tribal divisions.

From The BBC—

Ethnic tension, which has dogged Kenyan politics since independence in 1963, is widely believed to be behind the violence.

With patronage and corruption still common, many Kenyans believe that if one of their relatives is in power, they will benefit directly, for example through a relative getting a civil service job.

The current tensions can be traced back to the 1990s, when the then President Daniel arap Moi was forced to introduce multi-party politics.

Below is a picture of the President of Kenya—Mwai Kibaki. When Mr Kibaki took office in 2002, he was supposed to bring fresh life to Kenyan democracy after the long and corrupt rule of Daniel arap Moi. 

That has not worked out so well.

Here is profile of opposition candidate Raila Odinga. Mr. Odinga does not fully seem like a committed democrat either.

Here is the blog Kenyan Pundit written by Harvard law student Ory Okolloh.

Insight Kenya is a blog written from an oppostion view. It has a number of pictures of the current conflict.

What An African Woman Thinks is done quite well I feel. African Woman is a blogger who does not know what way to turn in the ongoing violence.

Here is the Kenyan Newspaper The Standard.

Here is the beginning of the Amnesty International assessment of Kenya.

The government intensified its intimidation and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders. Impunity for abuses by police was reinforced as the authorities failed to investigate allegations of police brutality. Violence against women and girls, including rape and domestic violence, remained a serious concern, although a new law was passed outlawing sexual offences.

Here is the more comprehensive report from Amnesty.

Here is the beginning of the editorial on the election from The Economist—

THE decision to return Kenya’s 76-year-old incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, to office was not made by the Kenyan people but by a group of hardline Kikuyu leaders. They made up their minds before the result was announced, perhaps even before the opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, had opened up a lead in early returns from the December 27th election. It was a civil coup.

The planning was meticulous. All that was needed were the extra votes to squeak past Mr Odinga in what had been a closely and decently contested election. That was why returns from Central Province, Mr Kibaki’s fiercely loyal Kikuyu heartland, were inexplicably held back. And why, in some constituencies, a large number of voters mysteriously decided just to vote in the presidential race, ignoring the parliamentary ballot. Real damage was done in Nairobi, the capital, by inflating the number of votes for Mr Kibaki, even after results were publicly announced. Election monitors were turned away in Nairobi while the tallying went on. But European Union (EU) monitors verified tens of thousands of votes pinched in this way. Mr Odinga’s supporters were not innocent either. There were serious irregularities in his home province of Nyanza and probably ballot stuffing on his behalf elsewhere.

Here is the full editorial.

Here are some basic facts about Kenya from the BBC

  • Full name: The Republic of Kenya
  • Population: 34.3 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Nairobi
  • Area: 582,646 sq km (224,961 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Swahili, English
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 48 years (men), 46 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Kenya shilling = 100 cents
  • Main exports: Tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products
  • GNI per capita: US $540 (World Bank, 2005)

Below is a map of ethnic and language groups in Kenya. Look at all those colors. You don’t have to know what any of it means—I don’t—to figure out that these folks have to make the call to get along with each other or else terrible things will happen—Such as is happening right now.

These folks have a life-expectancy of 40-something  and still some of them can’t kill each other fast enough. You really wonder about people sometimes.

 

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Elections, History, Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment