Sunday, February 07, 2016

Stephen Harper and the Little Killer

When most people think of climate change they probably think of images like this one.

A scorched earth, starving people, and wars over water.

But when I think of climate change I also think of this little killer.

Because I studied it in university to try to understand how we can stop it from killing about half a million people a year by spreading diseases like malaria, yellow fever and dengue.

So you can imagine how I felt when just as I thought we were finally winning the war against that deadly blood sucker, only to see it strike back with a vengeance. 

In recent months, the Zika virus has ripped through the Americas like wildfire, sparking a pandemic that nobody saw coming. Zika has gone “from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions,” says World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan, who warned that it is spreading “explosively” through the region. With up to 1.5 million cases in Brazil alone, the WHO predicts there could soon be up to four million people infected across the Americas.

Cause so much human misery so quickly....

Of the kind that can rip your heart out.

And to make matters even worse, could have such a devastating effect on the rights and lives of women.

“If you have a generation of pregnant women terrified of going outside,” says Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, “that’s going to be a game-changer.”

Especially poor women who often can't choose when to become pregnant, and can't properly protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitos.

As well as ruining the economies of many countries that depend on tourism.

And while for us, for now, this is good news.

The WHO predicts that it will spread to all regions in the Americas, except for Canada and continental Chile, where the type of mosquito that carries it can’t survive.

It almost certainly won't last. 

For if our climate keeps warming up as it has in the place where I live...

Where the other day it was fifteen degrees, and there isn't a snow flake on the ground, or a speck of ice on the lake.

That little killer will arrive here sooner or later.

Just like other tropical diseases like West Nile fever have also established themselves in Canada.

For it is also travelling on the wings of climate change and globalization. 

Bacteria and viruses are typically homebodies comfortable in local ecologies where they achieve a nice balance among the local inhabitants: animal, insect, and human. They move when the environment changes – through deforestation or urbanization – or when humans carry them to new places.

We have known since the days of plague that travellers sometimes carry infections with them. And, too, we’ve understood that poverty is a perfect field for infections to expand. But we forget. It’s easier to spray a pond to prevent mosquito growth than to attend to the environmental causes of infectious disease.

Which of course, for those of us who live in Canada, was something Stephen Harper forgot to warn us about...

Along with other public health threats like this one.

Dust blown away from stockpiles left over after oil sands upgrading is very likely a key source of a cancer-linked pollutant commonly found in the northern Alberta region, concludes a new peer-reviewed study.

Because he was too busy promoting the interests of Big Oil, and torching the planet, in the manner of a madman.

And really what more can anyone say?

Except may the healing hand of goodness care for these poor little babies, and console their shattered parents...

And may the divine hand of justice descend on the heads of the planet burners....

The ones who thought they could fool with Mother Nature and get away with it.

The ones who claimed they were building pipelines to a bright and prosperous future.

But were in fact killing us...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. Well, until Zika can be controlled or eradicated, they need prenatal testing and abortion. But much as I like the current Pope more than his predecessors, he is not about to challenge Church doctrine in that respect (though he is far more "compassionate" about people's actual life challenges). There is very little that can be done for those babies, who will only be a burden in poor countries that can't afford the lifelong care they would need.

    Yes, it is funny. I hate winter and enjoy the milder temps, though we do have a bit of snow here now and will suffer a cold week (though nothing like last winter - remember climate change can also bring extreme cold). But the longterm consequences will probably be dire, even here where they seem so pleasant at first.

    1. I misspoke a bit - of course I meant "the right to abortion" and "access to abortion" (and birth control!) Not rich people EVER forcing the masses to do this and that wither their own bodies!

    2. hi lagatta...yes that's what I meant when I said women's rights. The right not to get pregnant and the right to choose an abortion. And yes, that is a problem in some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and sadly as you say the future of many of those poor little babies is probably a bleak one. As for climate change, those warm winters you love are a harbinger of bad things to come...

    3. Yes, I'm well aware of that. Of course it really means I should move somewhere warmer, but I don't know how I'd swing that, and the places I really like in the south of France and central Italy will probably face severe drought in a couple of decades.

      The future of those babies - and imagine in countries that are poorer still, such as Haiti and Guatemala - is very bleak indeed.

  2. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Puts David Suzucki's recent comment that Stephen Harper should be in jail because of his record on climate change into perspective. Heart breaking to see these infants.


    1. hi TS...yes it does make Suzuki's comment even more pertinent, and as climate change worsens you can be sure he won't be the only one calling for the planet burners to be jailed. As for those poor babies, I can't look at their sweet little faces and not feel incredibly sad...

  3. Anonymous11:10 AM

    If things continue the way they are going, only the top 1% will be able to live long healthy lives. That is definitely the Harper way. How happy would the Reformacons be if their precious base (aka cranky old white men) could live and vote forerver!

    Heaven help the 1% if the poor and disenfranchised decide to vote in their own interest. Then, we might see a real shift toward a sustainable caring society based on respect for all human beings, and not just the rich.

    1. hi anon...yes, climate change is only making the great divide even greater, and making the lives of the poor even more unbearable. But it will also probably be the catastrophe that breaks the back of our increasingly dysfunctional capitalist system, and bring us closer to that more sustainable caring society we need if we are to survive...

  4. Anonymous12:15 PM

    Zika virus coming to Canada thanks to Trans Canada and dirty Alberta oil!!!!!!!!!!!

    As Trans Canada looks ahead, strategic focus remains clear. In pursuing our vision to become the leading energy infrastructure company in North America, we strive to execute on our current portfolio of large, attractive projects and initiatives and to continue to work to cultivate a high-quality portfolio of future growth opportunities.

    Our approach is to select only the very best opportunities and move those initiatives forward.

    In addition to our over $46 billion of assets, we have a superior growth portfolio that will see us invest approximately $22 billion in a number of energy infrastructure projects throughout North America. The majority of these projects are under construction and are expected to be completed over the next three years.

    What's a little Zika when they can make even more $$$$$$ whilst destroying everything in their path!!!!!!!!! Not a moral compass to be found in anyone involved with that Corp!!!!!! FS

    1. hi anon...for a long time we have been able to ignore the effects of climate change, but I think that time is rapidly drawing to a close. And that's why I believe that one cannot discuss whether or not to build another bitumen pipeline without taking its effects on climate change into account. The Cons can try to do that, but sooner or later they will pay a heavy price...

  5. Gia saying hello

    1. Anonymous9:27 PM

      Horrible as it is, the human race has failed miserably as a species, and this may be natures means of ridding herself of the infestation. Hopefully a cure is found although it is likely that pharmacorpse (spelt correctly) will gouge the poor and not provide welcome relief to those that need it

    2. hi anon know the same thought struck me while writing this post. That nature is taking its revenge on us, by shrinking our heads or trying to make it harder for us to reproduce. I just couldn't bring myself to write it. But one thing is for sure, we seem to be doing all we can to endanger our chances of surviving on this planet, and the day of reckoning is coming...

  6. Anonymous5:29 PM

    Its usually the least able to adapt that are the first to suffer whether it is individuals or nations. The Harper Cons remind me of little idiots poking mother nature with a stick while simultaneously destroying any social, technical or scientific institutions that could help escape the worst of her wrath. As the high priests of the past their solution is to offer up human sacrifice to appease the gods just as long as it isn't them.

    1. hi RT...I have absolutely no doubt that the historians of the future will see the Con's failure to to anything about climate change as their greatest crime. The one that will never be forgotten or forgiven. For the Zika virus isn't the only biological threat we face, I could have written another went pages if I wanted. And when people start making the connections there will be hell to pay...

  7. e.a.f.3:17 AM

    zika virus will come to Canada, it will be brought back by those who go to countries which have it. The virus can be found in sperm and siliva. Not a nice thought.

    There will be problems for women in countries such as Hondurus, where the anti abortion laws are so weird, women who suffer miscarriages have been sent to jail for illegal abortions. This disease will come to the southern U.S. wonder how fast they will be re opening abortion clinics in Texas.

    Something must have happened with this virus/animal to suddenly have these results. The mosquito has been around as long as we have. Now suddenly we have this problem????

    Climate change will only keep this type of virus at bay for so long.

    1. hi e.a.f... theZika virus may be brought back to Canada by travellers, but it will not be a major problem here until the mosquitoes that can transmit it finally arrive. But if they can live in the American south they will sooner or later make it up here. And in the meantime we can't be sure that a mutated virus can't adapt itself to survive in other kind of mosquitos, or for that matter find a secondary host in some birds like West Nile fever does. So it is definitely a threat that needs to be watched closely....

  8. Here is more on Zika and the push for abortion rights in Brazil:
    Remember, even the recent leftist women presidents in South American countries have knuckled under to the Church on this issue.

  9. Mother Nature strikes back.