Tuesday, April 7, 2015


The argument in favour of global warming is rarely put, but merits putting. Let me do it by analogy.

If you, as a nuclear family, are living in a house that becomes a daily mess because one of the children, probably a teenager, cannot aim straight at the toilet bowl, and another leaves her entire maquillage on the dining room table, with mascara spilling this way and henna staining that way, while older brother has left unfinished pizza sitting on top of the TV for so long there is now mould, and his ashtray has tipped over, leaving a large burn on the carpet because he failed to put out his last cigarette properly, and the air conditioner filter has not been changed for so long that the house’s ozone layer has collapsed into a state of mildew, and the mildew is competing with the pizza mould…someone, usually mum, has to call the troops to order, employ a housekeeper, and lay down some strict rules, which of course no one is going to follow anyway because they are too lazy, too self-absorbed, and anyway they don’t think they are the ones who should carry the responsibility. So the house goes on deteriorating, and eventually someone comes along from the local authority, and stamps a “Condemned” notice on the garage door, the lawyers get rich from the appeals, and by the time mum and dad have resolved the legal dispute the money has run out to repair the place, and the only solution is to demolish and begin again. Fixing the cause doesn’t work.

But why, anyway, does it matter? We need to deal with global warming, we are told, because the effect of global warming will be irreparable damage to the planet. What exactly will be damaged? As the ozone layer continues to disintegrate, the Earth will get hotter, causing the ice-cap to melt, which in turn will raise sea-levels, flooding low-lying land, turning some semi-deserts into full deserts (Arizona, for example). New York will disappear, as will most of Florida, the countries on the North Sea coast of Europe, Bangladesh, many others. On the other hand, parts of the currently uninhabitable world (middle Canada, the Antarctic) will become agricultural paradises, with plenty of room for the citizens of New York, Florida etc to rehouse, and with technology we can easily adapt to the new conditions, providing ourselves with indoor cities (Toronto, for example, is already equipped for this), that are climatically controlled, and with all our food created in solar-powered laboratories. Just as there was no Armageddon when the railway was invented, and we got over the loss of the donkey-and-cart, just as our moon and Mars colonies will be, so the Earth will be manned differently, and people will look back with a smile at that innocent age when we foolishly lived in the primitive conditions of today. Roll on global warming!

Ah yes, but, and this is why my little sermon is being delivered from the pulpit of Madagascar, what about the lemurs and the orchids, what about the elephant bird and the hippopotamus? How will Nature survive global warming? The answer is very simple: it will adapt. Every year, hundreds of species die out, and new ones emerge. When cities crumble, grass and wildflowers and trees quickly populate the space. From Nature’s point of view, global warming is irrelevant, but Mankind, the cause of global warming, is not, because Mankind insists on leaving its unfinished pizza on the TV and its maquillage on the dining room table.

A better solution for mum and dad would have been to tell the three kids that it was time to leave. Goodbye. You are done here. And then, kids gone, clean up – mum will do most of the work, but dad may be persuadable to help. Mother Nature feels just the same. Roll on global warming, and let it wipe out the human race. Then mum can clean up, and the Earth adapt to the new conditions, and move forward. Those who are concerned about global warming because they care about the future of the planet would be well advised to support global warming as the best possible scenario for the future of the planet.

But again, why am I preaching this utter nonsense from the pulpit of Madagascar? 

Partly because there is absolutely nothing else of any interest to say about the island (Madagascar is the world's fourth biggest island after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo; Australia, which is bigger, doesn't count. Because of its isolation most of its mammals, half of its birds, and most of its plants exist nowhere else on earth. The island is heavily exposed to tropical cyclones which bring torrential rains and destructive floods, such as the ones in 2000 and 2004, which left thousands homeless. The Malagasy are thought to be descendants of Africans and Indonesians who settled on the island more than two thousand years ago. Malagasy pay a lot of attention to their dead and spend much effort on ancestral tombs, which are opened from time to time so the remains can be carried in procession, before being re-wrapped in fresh shrouds. Thanks to the BBC for the details in this parenthesis). 

 Partly because, actually, there is something of very considerable interest to say about the island, but Madagascar exists in the consciousness of the West as a paradise of nature, and I am hesitant to be the one to shatter the rose-coloured glass and reveal something more than just lemurs and penguins and panther chameleons and ideal locations for movie-makers and strange baobab trees. Hesitant, but only for a moment.

Madagascar, according to the CIA World FactBook, "is a source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking; poor Malagasy women hired as domestic workers in Lebanon and Kuwait are vulnerable to abuse by recruitment agencies and employers; an increasing number of Malagasy men were victimized by labor trafficking abroad in 2012; Malagasy children are subjected to domestic servitude, prostitution, forced begging, and forced labor within the country, often with the complicity of family members; coastal cities have child sex tourism trades, with Malagasy men being the main clients." The CIA World FactBook, mind, not Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, neither of which even bother to include Madagascar in their country profiles. Far too concerned no doubt about the plight of the other endangered species, the non-human sort. Another reason why we should spend less time worrying about the impact of human beings on global warming, or that of global warming on human beings, and more on the impact of human beings on other human beings.

Marks For: CIA 10

Marks Against: Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, 11

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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