Friday, August 12, 2005

Why We're Driving Ourselves and the Planet Towards Extinction

I really despise certain parts of this planet. Not the places themselves, but the people that unfortunately inhabit these places. A prime example is South East Asia. In case you missed the news this week, Malaysians are suffering through an awful bout with air pollution because of smoke from forest fires. This is nothing new. In fact, most of SE Asia - from India to Indonesia - is under a persistent giant brown cloud of smog because these countries are overpopulated and have no sense of cleanliness. They're backwards.

The cause of this choking smoke are the massive forest fires being set in Indonesia. Indonesia is on a path to completely destroy its entire environment with deforestation and incessant pollution. It's disgusting. But to show you an example of just how backwards and idiotic these people are, do you know what they are doing to try and fix this? Instead of doing the right thing and actually stopping these criminals who are cutting down and burning lush, tropical forests, they pray to a silly god. I can't point the whole finger at religion, as the fucked up Indonesian government is REFUSING offers from other nations to help put out the fires!

"We pray that Allah will bestow rain on this land so that the haze will disappear," said one preacher, according to the AP news story. Yes, let's pray to some bogeyman in the sky! That's going to stop the destruction! If there was a god looking over these people and this land, he'd send a few more tsunamis their way. Yeah, I know, I sound sick and cruel. But short of a major decline in population or cultural attitudes, nothing is going to stop this disaster in the making. Nothing. The Dec. 2004 tsunami wiped out more than 150,000 people, mostly in Indonsia. It's pretty clear more need to go.

It's sickening to see what's going on in SE Asia. China has built and continues to build these massive damns, flooding millions up on millions of people (mostly poor farmers) out of their lands, most of which have been there for centuries. Vietnam and other countries downstream are now also paying a price because of the water control in China. Rivers are dropping lower, the water quality is getting worse, silt is building up and fish are dying rapidly. Automobile usage in that part of the world continues to skyrocket, driving air quality levels to new lows, from Mumbai to Bangkok to Hong Kong. And no one is stopping it.

I wish there was some way to stop all this maddness going on in the world. We have religions that preach against family planning, yet that same philosophy leads to the destruction of what you could call God's creations mainly due to overpopulation. Ironic, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sad times

It's become pretty clear that we as a nation have become so detached from reality during the past couple of decades. We're fat. We have bad road rage. Millions voted for George W. Bush - twice. During the past few weeks, I've been watching news coverage of the famine that's currently under way in Niger. These stories seem to roll around once every few years and life goes on.

I'm a huge fan of Sports Illustrated's NFL writer Peter King. If you're not familiar with Peter, he writes a weekly column on I look forward to it every morning. It's full of insight. It's written well and has a great personal tone to it.

So, what do these two things have in common? Well, in this past Monday's column, King threw in something that should be glaringly obvious to everyone. Here's what he said: "ESPN has to take that eating contest off TV. With starvation in Africa on the news every week, it's a disgrace to show a bunch of idiots gorging themselves to nearly puking proportions."

What King is referring to is Nathan's Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest held in New York every 4th of July weekend. In case you haven't seen it, a bunch of people from a professional eater's club (seriously), wolf down as many hot dogs as they can in something like ten minutes. The current champion this year ate 49 hot dogs (bun and all). Last year he ate 53. It's disgusting and awe-inspiring at the same time.

But with all that's going on half a world away, I'm wondering just how desensitized we've become as a nation. How is it, the richest nation on earth, with the world's richest corporations (including ExxonMobil, which earned, oh, $7 BILLION last quarter alone by raping us on gas prices) can basically ignore something like a famine. It's 2005, not 1805. We have fat shits eating themselves out of their clothes daily hitting up McDonalds, 7Eleven or BK, gulping down 1,000 calorie+ Big Gulps and Big Macs. Yet people who so happen to have been born in a godforsaken desert are lucky if they can get a handful of rice in a day. We have no problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars invading a Middle Eastern country rich with oil, sending 2,000 of our brave troops to their death and countless others into lifelong despair (a study was released this week showing 30% of Iraq war vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional maladies). Yet, we do nothing to make sure a few thousands people get a decent meal because they have, what I'm sure our elected criminals see as, nothing to offer us.

That, my friends, is how low we've sunk. Click here, if you want to do your part.