Saturday, February 23, 2008

What's the Pentagon Got to Do with Kindergarten?

As your local kindergarten teacher, I sometimes peek outside the classroom at larger issues that may affect my students in their future lives. I take their safety and happiness seriously enough to extend my concern beyond June.

Current kindergarten are members of the high school class of 2020. The connection between the Pentagon and kindergarten will become clear as you read a report that the Pentagon has written concerning the year 2020.

I came across this story on the internet this morning. It's a report on the website of the Guardian News (a British paper).

With fair warning that this is strong—and not very happy—material, here are some quotes:

"Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in war and natural disasters.

A secret report, suppressed by the US defense chiefs and obtained by the Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to it contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis."

Bob Watson and Rob Gueterbock are quoted near the end of the article.

"Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going to be hard to blow off this sort of document. It's hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defense. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group; generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act....' said Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars,' said Geuterbock."

This sort of material has surfaced before, but not in the mainstream broadcast media. (A close reading of the article suggests that it's been held in secrecy for almost 4 years: it mentions John Kerry as the Democratic front runner in the presidential campaign.) Many years ago the Atlantic Monthly magazine ran an article about global warming that mentioned the Pentagon's planning for an Arctic Ocean so free of ice that it will be navigable by ordinary warships. It's the sort of work they do.

If you have a stomach for this sort of stuff, you can read the Guardian article in its entirety on the web:

Link to Article

Meanwhile, find a light you can turn off.

Grab an umbrella a walk or ride a bike to the nearest video store and rent An Inconvenient Truth if you haven't already seen it.

Read a book to your kid.

Stay close to home this weekend.

How to Cultivate a Happy State of Mind


Culmom37 said...

There are so many who both agree and argue these statements/facts. For me, maybe it is denial, but I cannot stand reading these types of things because it scares me to death. I only want the best for my children and I get very sad when I read about what my children may have to live through.

Ugh, I honestly can't fathom what my children may have to go through later in their life. Makes me sad.

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Yes, so true! It is scary, hence my warning, that this is not happy material, and my promise to talk about cultivating happiness in tomorrow's post.

I promise.

I share your worries for your kids. I worry about my own kids, too. At this stage of my life, I don't worry so much for me personally; I'll be just about 70 by 2020.

Still the concern I feel is keen and it gives me the courage I need to write about these topics. I feel compelled to do so: I couldn't live with myself and NOT speak up. I want my kids to know I'm trying to do something!

The "controversy" about climate change is purely political. Within the scientific community itself there IS widespread consensus that global warming is real and something we should take seriously.

The whole thing reminds me of smoking. When I was growing up there was "controversy" about whether cigarettes were harmful for health. The tobacco companies hired scientists to debunk the widespread consensus in the real scientific community that smoking kills.

My mom died from smoking.

That's why I resent the 2008 edition of scientific controversy. Oil lobby sponsored "scientists" sell their integrity for political purposes exactly as the tobacco lobby scientists did in the fifties.

Culmom37 said...

Oh my goodness, the whole political thing really gets my blood pumping! What a joke!!!! It is really disgusting the way politicians get away with the things they do. I am talking about personally and professionally.

I agree that we must speak our minds and do what we can in order to make a change for the positive. With that said, I often times feel like my voice is NOT heard and my vote does NOT count.

And to think I was going to run for City Council a few years back! I used to be on the Sonoma County Children and Families Commission (Now called First 5). This commission is funded by the tax placed on cigarettes years back. We helped many families, organizations/daycares and schools with this money and it felt really excellent, BUT the politics always seemed to get in the way. Very frustrating.

I sure learned a lot during the years I served.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the Guardian article is dated 2004. Is that correct? Four years we should have known and been doing something about this???

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Anonymous, Yep, 2004. In the article they talk about John Kerry as the presidential front runner. He was just that in 2004. I thought it was an error, that the author typed Kerry instead a Obama, a slip of the fingers.

But sure enough, the article first surfaced in 2004 according to the tag when you print it out.

Yes, it's discouraging that so little has been done on behalf of future generations in regard to global warming.

Thanks for chiming in!

Gail Jonas said...

Dan and commenters,
I remembered this article, did a search, and found that I had saved it on February 26, 2004, from a Daily Grist link.

The Pentagon plan for global warming has stayed in the back of my mind because conflict over resources is going to be messy.

Do we in this country, who have contributed the most to global warming, batten down the hatches and seal our borders from desperate people from other countries who have been the most affected by global warming?

Bringing it closer to home, what would I do if I only had a small amount of food or ability to grow food and there were too many starving people begging for help?

I've decided I would rather not live through that. I doubt that it will happen to me, here in Northern California. I do know that people in poor countries share what meager supplies of food they have, even with strangers. I like to visualize myself sharing rather than hoarding.