Columnists
Wake up, America
By Roger Ellis
Aug 7, 2020
Print this page
Email this article

COVID-19 is the latest, scariest and most destructive pandemic in decades to have threatened and taken the lives of people worldwide. Unfortunately it is not the first or last disaster that we will have to face. In the past few years the United States has experienced hurricanes and flooding along the shores of Texas, North Carolina, Florida and the mid-west. Puerto Rico and the Bahamas were nearly destroyed. In August, 2020, the same weather extremes of fires, flooding and hurricanes continue across the land. Providing assistance to save lives and improve the living conditions of the victims of these destructive natural emergencies is crucial. The people of Puerto Rico deserve more than rolls of paper towels thrown at them.

In recent years, California has been plagued with even more widespread ravaging forest fires, due to the increased intensity of drought and high winds caused by climate change. When the President went to assess the towns that were destroyed, he accused residents and authorities of Paradise, California, of being responsible for the fires because they should have raked the forest floors (all 150,000 acres). More than 85 people were killed and many more unaccounted for. A total 18,000 businesses, hospitals, schools, and homes, were destroyed.

Central and South Americans are fleeing countries where food is scarce due to severe droughts which have destroyed their crops, and where no assistance is available from governments run by cruel, authoritarian despots. Brazil’s leader has allowed the burning of the Amazon forest to create farm and grazing land, thereby destroying the oxygen producing trees crucial to a healthy atmosphere, and driving the indigenous people of the rain forest from their homes and livelihoods. Thousands of rare and exotic animals have been killed, along with untold numbers of medicinal plants which, if left to thrive, might have yielded cures for current and yet unknown illnesses.

These hopeless refugees whose countries are also fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, have joined equally desperate citizens of Mexico, our North American neighbor, to seek lawful asylum in the USA, a nation established by immigrants. Rather than compassion and refuge, however, these families have been met with the horribly cruel practice of having their children separated from them with no plans for reunification. Many individuals have been quickly deported back to the dismal circumstances from which they tried to escape, and others have been locked in crowded facilities typically operated by private, for profit corporations. The conditions under which prisoners are held, while certainly not on the same level as the German Nazi concentration camps designed to annihilate the Jewish population, can fairly be compared to them in the sense, defined by holocaust survivors, that the people confined there have been imprisoned “not for anything they have done, but simply because of who they are.”

As the effects of global warming and climate change continue to wreak havoc on the entire planet, we continue to hear skepticism and overt denials from the president and his followers about the data that environmental scientists have provided for decades. President Trump has called both climate change and the coronavirus itself a hoax made up by Democrats to interfere with his re-election. Scientists, however, have established a direct correlation between habitat destruction and the emergence of a variety of microbial pathogens, including Covid-19. As wildlife habitat is constricted by human enterprise and the ravages of extreme weather conditions due to climate change, it becomes more likely that microbes which live harmlessly in the bodies of animals, when in frequent close proximity to humans, will cross over and create deadly pathogens.

For years environmental scientists have warned that we will reach a point of no return if we fail to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint by the year 2030. WAKE UP AMERICA! We must work together to save this beautiful planet for future generations. VOTE in 2020 for candidates who believe in science and have plans to combat both the climate and coronavirus crises.

Roger Ellis
Honey Grove, Texas