by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
November 20, 2007
THE COMING RESOURCE WARS
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- I always thought it would be a cold day in hell before I gave GPresident eorge W. Bush credit for having brains, but now I'm not so sure.
A little over a year ago, the Cuban press broke a story about Mr. Bush buying a 98,840-acre ranch in the desolate Chaco region of Paraguay. Other rumors spread - Jenna Bush paid a secret visit to the president of Paraguay; Bush '41 also has a ranch there; so does the Reverend Moon. The snark sisters at Wonkette.com headlined the story, "We Hate To Bring Up the Nazis, But They Fled To South America, Too."
Just when the Internet was happily perking the story along, the State Department put out a statement saying, "There is no truth to any of these allegations."
The most interesting thing about the "allegations," however, is not the land grab. It's this: the land Mr. Bush did or did not buy sits atop the one of the world's largest freshwater aquifers.
Now take a look at what's happening out West. A few weeks ago, in a story titled "The Future is Drying Up," The New York Times Magazine talked about "a catastrophic reduction in the flow of the Colorado River - which mostly consists of snow melt from the Rocky Mountains... A greatly reduced river would wreak chaos in seven states: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. An almost unfathomable legal morass might well result."
But wait, there's more.
Now look at the thriving metropolis of Atlanta. "An unprecedented drought stretching across the southeastern United States has forced some of the region's largest cities to declare water emergencies," says ABC News. "The situation has become so serious that officials in Atlanta, where rainfall totals are more than 16 inches below normal, said they could run out of drinking water in a matter of weeks." And just this week, the governor of Georgia joined lawmakers and ministers of the steps of the state Capitol so they could all pray for rain.
But wait, there's more. It's not just about water.
Our European forefathers landed on this continent and saw unlimited abundance. Driven by arrogance and the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, which says, "Then God said, 'Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life - the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals,'"the settlers began what can only be described as the strip mining of the continent.
By comparison, some of the "savages" they were killing approached the planet in a far more reasonable way. The Great Law of the Iroquois, for example, states, "In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."
None of the pioneers - or their descendants - thought about conserving resources. Now our air is befouled. There's a hole in the ozone layer. A huge underwater river of toilet paper runs through our oceans. We've almost fished out the seas. We're running out of oil. We're cutting down all the trees. Polar bears are drowning. Who knows how many species are disappearing?
But wait, there's more.
The myth of unlimited abundance didn't stop in the 1800s. Last month, for example, The Wall Street Journal reported on a "growing debate over whether the Internet's current infrastructure is sufficient to handle the explosion of bandwidth-hungry services such as Internet telephony and video... Many believe networks could crash or at least come to a crawl."
The story quoted Larry Roberts, one of the creators of the Internet, as saying, "We can no longer rely on last-generation technology, which has essentially remained unchanged for 40 years, to power Internet performance."
But wait, there's more.
Believing in the myth of unlimited abundance is not just an American error. Besides clean air, clean water and sufficient oil and gas, some huge countries like China and India are running out of girls.
A while back, facing a population explosion, the Chinese government chose to limit couples to one child apiece. In ancient rural Chinese culture, girls leave home to join their husbands' families, while boys stay put and care for their elders. So when a couple had a girl, they put her up for adoption and tried again. Many of these female Chinese infants were adopted here, in America. In India, where they value men over women with no questions asked, they used ultrasound and aborted the female embryos.
Who are all these boys going to marry?
The truth is that there is no such thing as unlimited abundance. Every resource has its limits. We live in a demented world that can barely see past the next quarter, much less see forward to the seventh generation. We have a culture that believes abundance is a birthright and domination over natural resources is a gift from God.
Reality will soon be taking a big bite out of our butts.
We're already fighting for control of oil in the Middle East - a fight which, by all reports, isn't going too well. And we're sacrificing some our food agriculture to grow corn for ethanol - we're actually making the choice to value cars over our food supply!
We may find ourselves fighting off terrorists, fighting the Chinese and Indians for oil, protecting our women from raiding tribes, starving from a lack of unpolluted food, and so thirsty that we have to buy our water from The Bush Corporation. Have a nice day.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.