​What natural disasters should teach us

September 28, 2017

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Hurricanes, landslides and other disasters show Africans why we need fossil fuels

Steven Lyazi

I express my deepest sympathies to the people in the Caribbean and United States who have been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The loss of life was tragic but has thankfully been much lower than in many previous storms. Buildings are stronger, people get warned in time to get out, and they have vehicles to get to safer places until the storms pass.

I also send my sincere sympathies to my fellow Ugandans who have been affected by terrible landslides in eastern Uganda, near Kenya. Natural disasters often strike us hard. Sometimes it is long droughts that dry up our crops and kill many cattle. This year it is torrential rains and landslides.

This time we were lucky. The collapsing hillsides destroyed three villages, but thankfully it was daytime and people were outside. They lost their homes, cattle and ripened crops, but not their families. A horrendous mudslide in the same mountainous area in 2010 buried 350 parents and children under 40 feet of mud and rock.

People there have been cutting down trees for decades – for fuel, lumber and to grow crops. Now no roots hold the hills together when it rains. More cracks have appeared in the hills, so more slides are likely. But people don’t want to leave their lands, and they’re not planting new trees either.

Some people are ignoring all this history and the human roles in causing these “natural” disasters. They are blaming the rains and mudslides on global warming, climate change and the fossil fuels that modern industrialized countries burn to provide modern homes, travels and living standards.

These false claims are intended to divert us from real problems. They are intended to justify demands and campaigns that Ugandans and other Africans should rely on a few wind turbines and solar panels and should never use oil, natural gas or coal to provide cheap, reliable and plentiful energy so that we can live more like Americans or Europeans.

These people want to become our Jesus, and save us from “global warming disasters,” by keeping us poor and at the mercy of Mother Nature. Former vice president Mr. Al Gore said manmade global warming has increased the number and strength of tornadoes and hurricanes, Mount Kilimanjaro’s glacier would disappear by 2016, and Arctic summers would be ice-free as soon as 2014.

None of this happened. So he just changed the year when the disasters will hit. Mr. Gore declares in his film that “it is right to save humanity.” Yes, it is and I support that with no argument.

But I would suggest that he and his friends begin by injecting their own billions of dollars into fossil fuels and nuclear energy to create jobs around the world, help us build modern homes, uplift economies so that people can live a self-sustainable life, and get rid of the diseases that are killing us.

He needs to stop trying to scare us by spreading false gospels about mankind and fossil fuels. He needs to stop trying to save humanity from movie disasters, when we face real disasters. He needs to stop making us rely on renewable energy, while he continues to have many big homes, drive around in big cars and fly in private jets all over the world.

Just in the last 25 years, fossil fuels have helped over 1.5 billion people in developing nations get electricity and escape deprivation, starvation, and lung and intestinal diseases that used to kill them and their children. But Africa, India and Asia still have vast regions that need to be electrified. More than a billion people in those regions still do not enjoy the wonderful blessings that electricity brings.

These places need more coal, gas and nuclear power plants. Thankfully they are building them, no matter what Mr. Gore and his radical friends say. Mr. Gore and his friends have fancy homes with every modern technology that electricity can bring. They have cars and modern hospitals.

My family in Kampala has a few of these things – a few lights and a radio, small stove and not even a little refrigerator. I just got a used computer that a friend sent me from the United States. Someday we would like a television and a normal sized refrigerator, like what we see in Europe and the States. Can we dream that someday we will have air conditioning?

Can the people in eastern Uganda dream of a time when they can rebuild their homes with more than mud and sticks? And actually have electricity, lights, refrigerators and stoves?

Radical Al Gore, renewable energy cheerleaders and climate activists have sweet homes and nice cars, jets and trains to take them anywhere they want to go 24/7. They cannot even come close to understanding how it feels to live in darkness, drink dirty water, and have no medicine except herbs and the grace of God when they get sick from malaria and other diseases they have never even heard of. They cannot imagine not being able to have a cold drink or hot coffee when they want one.

But they tell us we should be happy to enjoy the tiny improvements we might get from wind and solar power, as an “acceptable” and “preferred” and “sustainable” alternative to really better lives.

I have said this in my past articles, and I will still say it again. In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 700 million people still cook with wood, charcoal and animal dung, Hundreds of millions get horribly sick every year – and thousands die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, because we have to breathe smoke from open fires and don’t have refrigeration, clean water and safe food. Hundreds of millions are starving and malnourished, and try to survive on a few dollars a day.

Mr. Al Gore, how many dollars do you “survive” on per day? How many homes and refrigerators do you have? Can your refrigerators hold more than a few vegetables and a few bottles of milk or water?

To use the words of Rabbi Daniel Lapin, our impoverished masses simply want to take their rightful, God-given places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. Instead, we are being told “that wouldn’t be sustainable.” We are being told that improving our health, living standards and life spans is less important than avoiding the forthcoming climate cataclysm that Mr. Gore and his movies and computer models say will happen if we Africans modernize with fossil fuels.

These claims – and the false solutions to make-believe problems sometime in our future – ignore the real disasters and deaths that face us right now, every day of the year. They are intended to divert us from the better lives and sweet homes we dream of. They are intended to make Mr. Gore and his friends and the radical cheerleaders feel like they are saving Africans and our planet, while in reality they are killing millions of us every year.

Right this very minute, climate alarmists are blaming hurricanes and landside on fossil fuels. While they enjoy fancy homes, cozy beds and sofas, heating and air conditioning that keep them comfortable all year round, televisions and Alexa music, air travel whenever they want to go somewhere – they tell us Africans we should be happy and content with our “simple lives.” They tell us we should keep our oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy underground and untouched.

This is disgraceful. It is unacceptable. We will no longer tolerate it.

Alexander King was the co-founder of the Club of Rome, which wrote The Limits to Growth book.  During World War II, he organized production of a new insecticide and gave it the name DDT. The chemical saved the lives of thousands of Allied troops in the Far East. It was also used to stop typhus epidemics in Europe after the war.

But later on he said: “My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem. Of course, I can’t play God on that one.”

But King and his followers did play God. They got DDT banned and even blocked its use in preventing malaria for decades. Millions of African parents and children died. Now his descendants want to keep us from using fossil fuels. Where is the justice and humanity in any of this?

Steven Lyazi is a student and worker in Kampala, Uganda. He served as special assistant to Congress of Racial Equality-Uganda director Cyril Boynes, until Mr. Boynes’ death in January 2015. He plans to attend college and help his country and Africa get the energy and other modern technologies they need.

 



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