07 Nov 2005 Kendra Okonski: Environmentalist Priorities at Odds With Interests of Poor People
Writing in the Bangkok Post, Kendra Okonski says climate itself is a bigger problem than climate change:
Nearly all the alleged negative consequences of climate change are in fact problems that we face today…
…In most poor countries, climate — that is to say the prevailing weather — is a major problem….
…Fears about climate change are perhaps understandable in a country like Britain, where most people are well-nourished, live in comfortable homes that insulate them from the vagaries of the weather, and for whom malaria and diarrhea are nuisances to avoid when spending their holidays in tropical countries.
But the priorities of Western environmentalists are often at odds with the interests of poor people.
To the millions of people who live by Nature’s whims, the debate on climate change is remote, if not downright surreal.
What the poor need now is to benefit from economic development — this alone will save them from the climate.