By Heather Gray
March 15, 2017
Justice Initiative International
So Trump wants to rid the world of white folks? That appears to be the case. I am sure that seems a nonsensical statement to many of you given Trump’s politics and sentiments. And yes, this has to do with Trump and his alienation toward “climate change” and the impact this will likely have on whites folks throughout the world now and in the future.Think for a moment of “white” history, and maybe Trump has done this as well, although I doubt it. Could it be that he wants to get rid of whites because of our sad and tragic behavior throughout history?
In fact, more than any other group in the world, it is those of us who are of white European descent that have been responsible for massive genocide throughout the world; slavery and the arrogance of colonialism coupled with huge exploitation of resources; of the Christian/Catholic devastation through the likes of 1493 “Doctrine of Discovery” that justified genocide and expropriation of land and continues to resonate; the use of nuclear weapons, unnecessary and tragic wars; etc., etc.
And now Trump is continuing this “white” disrespectful and dangerous legacy by attempting to trash all countless regulations and protections of the environment that we in America have tried for years to implement.
I am also of white European descent and admit forthrightly that there is no other group in the world that has been as violent and destructive as us! Thankfully, historically there have always been those “whites” who have been appalled at our behavior but today there are considerably more whites who recognize this fact and openly acknowledge it. That’s a good thing.In fact, there are many who say that the organizing against Trump in America is largely a “white against white” struggle and they are probably right.
To add to this, given changing demographics, birth rates and the like, it is also estimated that by 2050, whites in America will be in the minority (Bloomberg). I am prematurely speculating that it is possible that climate change could very well accelerate this trend.What Trump espouses in his policies will, in fact, ultimately and dramatically impact whites, in particular, throughout the entire world. This includes as well the harm of everyone regardless of color who will also suffer due to the likely impact of his misguided and ill-informed climate and other policies.
Why is this the case?
Trump and his cabinet along with many of his buddies in Congress state, for one, that they don’t believe scientists who report consistently that climate change is largely caused by human activity. As a result, we are hearing that Trump wants to rid the government of regulations against pollution and protection of our Mother Earth. This would include loss of protection of waterways, the air we breathe, the loss and exploitation of what are already limited resources, etc.
Plus, Trump prefers to NOT participate in international climate protection initiatives.
Yet, we are also learning that the world’s climate is interconnected. So that what happens in the United States, in terms of air pollution, will spread eastward toward Europe. What happens in China will spread eastward toward the U.S. that blends with an already excessively polluted United States.
The international initiatives on climate change and earth protection are incredibly important and necessary.
As “Living on Earth” reports in the interview with Oregon State Chemistry Professor Staci Simonich, we are now seeing the impact of Chinese air pollution in California. Simonich states further that, “But I always like to say, ‘What goes around comes around,’ so it drives home that idea that we’re a connected atmosphere, right? And that what happens in one part of the world impacts other parts of the world. We’re all united in one atmosphere.”
And because the United States is considered, as noted by the Washington Post, the world’s worst polluter, this is disastrous, not only for Americans, but for the world overall, if we don’t take action to prevent more pollution.
Understanding white skin and why are there “white” people in the world
Why we humans are of different colors throughout the entire world? You would be right to think that the actual color of our human skin has to do with climate.
There is also nothing in the contemporary debate about climate issues regarding the history of our skin color. Most probably think these two issues – climate and skin color – are not connected and they are wrong.
Our so-called “whiteness” evolved as an adaptation to the climate and, in particular, the “cold” climate of Europe, which is why our skin changed from black/brown to variations of whiteness. We human beings evolved in Africa and when some of us left Africa for Europe and Asia about 60 to 50,000 years ago, our skin color changed because of the climate and this was related to the sun’s rays, pure and simple. So all of us are African in origin and all of us, originally, had dark skin.
The Smithsonian article below explains about the origins of the variations in skin color:
Why do people from different parts of the world have different colored skin? Why do people from the tropics generally have darker skin color that those who live in colder climates? Variations in human skin color are adaptive traits that correlate closely with geography and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
As early humans moved into hot, open environments in search of food and water, one big challenge was keeping cool. The adaptation that was favored involved an increase in the number of sweat glands on the skin while at the same time reducing the amount of body hair. With less hair, perspiration could evaporate more easily and cool the body more efficiently. But this less-hairy skin was a problem because it was exposed to a very strong sun, especially in lands near the equator. Since strong sun exposure damages the body, the solution was to evolve skin that was permanently dark so as to protect against the sun’s more damaging rays.
Melanin, the skin’s brown pigment, is a natural sunscreen that protects tropical peoples from the many harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays can, for example, strip away folic acid, a nutrient essential to the development of healthy fetuses. Yet when a certain amount of UV rays penetrates the skin, it helps the human body use vitamin D to absorb the calcium necessary for strong bones. This delicate balancing act explains why the peoples that migrated to colder geographic zones with less sunlight developed lighter skin color. As people moved to areas farther from the equator with lower UV levels, natural selection favored lighter skin which allowed UV rays to penetrate and produce essential vitamin D. The darker skin of peoples who lived closer to the equator was important in preventing folate deficiency. Measures of skin reflectance, a way to quantify skin color by measuring the amount of light it reflects, in people around the world support this idea. While UV rays can cause skin cancer, because skin cancer usually affects people after they have had children, it likely had little effect on the evolution of skin color because evolution favors changes that improve reproductive success.
There is also a third factor which affects skin color: coastal peoples who eat diets rich in seafood enjoy this alternate source of vitamin D. That means that some Arctic peoples, such as native peoples of Alaska and Canada, can afford to remain dark-skinned even in low UV areas. In the summer they get high levels of UV rays reflected from the surface of snow and ice, and their dark skin protects them from this reflected light. (Smithsonian)
Climate change is major and should be addressed in myriad ways
There is agreement among the scientific community that the earth has warmed in the last century…. the world’s most prestigious scientific bodies put it in a joint statement signed by the heads of the national science academies in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US (Guardian).
Here is an extraction from the 2005 Joint Statement:
“Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems.
….human activities are now causing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases – including carbon dioxide, methane, tropospheric ozone, and nitrous oxide – to rise well above pre-industrial levels. Carbon dioxide levels have increased from 280 ppm in 1750 to over 375 ppm today – higher than any previous levels that can be reliably measured (i.e. in the last 420,000 years). Increasing greenhouse gases are causing temperatures to rise; the Earth’s surface warmed by approximately 0.6 centigrade degrees over the twentieth century. ” (National Academies) (See the entire statement below.)
The American Association for the Advancement of Science also noted in a February 2017 abstract entitled “What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change” that:
Surveys show that many Americans think climate change is still a topic of significant scientific disagreement. Thus, it is important and increasingly urgent for the public to know there is now a high degree of agreement among climate scientists that human-caused climate change is real. Moreover, although the public is becoming aware that climate change increases the likelihood of certain local disasters, many people do not yet understand that there is a small but real chance of abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts on people in the United States and around the world. (AAAS)
To repeat, in 2017 there is therefore “high agreement” by the scientific experts that by ridding ourselves of environmental protection and allowing for the increase of greenhouse gasses, the world will continue to be dramatically and adversely impacted and will become considerably more hot. And this will be largely thanks to our human behavior.
The other major factor here is that because of the likes of Trump and others, there will be next to no regulations for resource extraction, no significant environmental protection, along with virtually no significant initiatives in the development of sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar.
With more heat in the world there will be considerable impact on those of us with white skin. This is what Trump wants? I guess so.
Maybe, with all of this history of arrogance and violence, finally it is coming back to haunt white folks. It appears so, with Trump in place.
Plus, the impact his policies will have environmentally on all humans will also be dramatic.
Those of us who are white won’t have the much needed melanin and black skin to survive in the future hotter world. And yes, we will not only be dramatically impacted by the heat, we will be lacking resources to address the heat to then cool us as these resources will have been callously and inappropriately extracted and/or polluted and, as mentioned, the alternatives (such as wind and solar) will not have been explored and developed as they should be.
In the future, the evolutionary process will select children who can withstand the heat and it won’t be “white” children. It will likely be the reverse of what happened when we humans left Africa into cooler climates and, through this evolution, our ancestors who survived in the cooler climates were the ones with white skin. To survive adequately in the hotter future climate, we humans will need darker skin.
If we continue like we have in terms of abuse of the environment, whites will be impacted, as mentioned, but ultimately, in the long term, living on the planet will be difficult for everyone regardless of color because it will be so polluted. As Rashid Nuri of the “Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture” in Atlanta has noted, “The planet will be fine and will survive, but we humans won’t be able to live on it!”
Joint science academies’ statement: Global response to climate change
Climate change is real
There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring1. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001)2. This warming has already led to changes in the Earth’s climate.
The existence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is vital to life on Earth – in their absence average temperatures would be about 30 centigrade degrees lower than they are today. But human activities are now causing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases – including carbon dioxide, methane, tropospheric ozone, and nitrous oxide – to rise well above pre-industrial levels. Carbon dioxide levels have increased from 280 ppm in 1750 to over 375 ppm today – higher than any previous levels that can be reliably measured (i.e. in the last 420,000 years). Increasing greenhouse gases are causing temperatures to rise; the Earth’s surface warmed by approximately 0.6 centigrade degrees over the twentieth century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that the average global surface temperatures will continue to increase to between 1.4 centigrade degrees and 5.8 centigrade degrees above 1990 levels, by 2100.
Reduce the causes of climate change
The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.
Action taken now to reduce significantly the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lessen the magnitude and rate of climate change. As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognises, a lack of full scientific certainty about some aspects of climate change is not a reason for delaying an immediate response that will, at a reasonable cost, prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
As nations and economies develop over the next 25 years, world primary energy demand is estimated to increase by almost 60%. Fossil fuels, which are responsible for the majority of carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activities, provide valuable resources for many nations and are projected to provide 85% of this demand (IEA 2004)3. Minimising the amount of this carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere presents a huge challenge. There are many potentially cost-effective technological options that could contribute to stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations. These are at various stages of research and development. However barriers to their broad deployment still need to be overcome.
Carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for many decades. Even with possible lowered emission rates we will be experiencing the impacts of climate change throughout the 21st century and beyond. Failure to implement significant reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions now, will make the job much harder in the future.
Prepare for the consequences of climate change
Major parts of the climate system respond slowly to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. Even if greenhouse gas emissions were stabilised instantly at today’s levels, the climate would still continue to change as it adapts to the increased emission of recent decades. Further changes in climate are therefore unavoidable. Nations must prepare for them.
The projected changes in climate will have both beneficial and adverse effects at the regional level, for example on water resources, agriculture, natural ecosystems and human health. The larger and faster the changes in climate, the more likely it is that adverse effects will dominate. Increasing temperatures are likely to increase the frequency and severity of weather events such as heat waves and heavy rainfall. Increasing temperatures could lead to large-scale effects such as melting of large ice sheets (with major impacts on low-lying regions throughout the world). The IPCC estimates that the combined effects of ice melting and sea water expansion from ocean warming are projected to cause the global mean sea-level to rise by between 0.1 and 0.9 metres between 1990 and 2100. In Bangladesh alone, a 0.5 metre sea-level rise would place about 6 million people at risk from flooding.
Developing nations that lack the infrastructure or resources to respond to the impacts of climate change will be particularly affected. It is clear that many of the world’s poorest people are likely to suffer the most from climate change. Long-term global efforts to create a more healthy, prosperous and sustainable world may be severely hindered by changes in the climate.
The task of devising and implementing strategies to adapt to the consequences of climate change will require worldwide collaborative inputs from a wide range of experts, including physical and natural scientists, engineers, social scientists, medical scientists, those in the humanities, business leaders and economists.
We urge all nations, in the line with the UNFCCC principles4, to take prompt action to reduce the causes of climate change, adapt to its impacts and ensure that the issue is included in all relevant national and international strategies. As national science academies, we commit to working with governments to help develop and implement the national and international response to the challenge of climate change.
G8 nations have been responsible for much of the past greenhouse gas emissions. As parties to the UNFCCC, G8 nations are committed to showing leadership in addressing climate change and assisting developing nations to meet the challenges of adaptation and mitigation.
We call on world leaders, including those meeting at the Gleneagles G8 Summit in July 2005, to:
Notes and references
1 This statement concentrates on climate change associated with global warming. We use the UNFCCC definition of climate change, which is ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’.
2 IPCC (2001). Third Assessment Report. We recognise the international scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
3 IEA (2004). World Energy Outlook 4. Although long-term projections of future world energy demand and supply are highly uncertain, the World Energy Outlook produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA) is a useful source of information about possible future energy scenarios.
4 With special emphasis on the first principle of the UNFCCC, which states: ‘The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof’.
5 Recognising and building on the IPCC’s ongoing work on emission scenarios.