Obama golfs while climate burns

Further proof (from the Argus Leader, a newspaper apparently bent on denying the evidence of its own reporting) that climate change is heating up:

After suffering through the worst drought in decades last year, farmers throughout South Dakota should brace for another round of hot and dry conditions this year, some weather forecasters warned recently.

SD Drought

Farmer Greg Ode looks at the effects of dry conditions on corn last July in his field outside of Brandon, SD. (Jay Pickthorn/Argus Leader)

As the spring planting season nears, forecasters are worried that much of the Midwest could remain starved for moisture, though they caution it’s too early to safely predict the weather several months out.

The Midwest could see a late-summer increase in rainfall, but the relief will be too late to help farmers…

Last year’s drought spread beyond the Midwest to affect more than 60 percent of the contiguous U.S., making it the worst since the Dust Bowl in the 1930s… The latest Drought Monitor, a report by the U.S. government and the University of Nebraska, shows that dry conditions remain throughout South Dakota. The entire state is suffering from moderate to exceptional drought, up sharply from 20 percent a year ago.

This of course casts important light on the dangers of water-intensive in situ leach uranium mining (more on that in a couple days). But it also casts light on the great struggle of our time: the fight against climate change. As President Obama put it in his 2013 State of the Union Address, “We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.”

Forward on Climate

The “Forward on Climate” Rally in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. Photo by SDPJC ally Phyllis Cole-Dai of Fast for the Earth.

Last weekend, 40,000 people acted in the Forward on Climate Change rally in Washington, D.C., the largest climate rally in U.S. history. It was a powerful witness against a policy, both official and intentional as well as unofficial and accidental, of environmental destruction in the name of profit.

And where was the leader who urged us all to “act before it’s too late” as tens of thousands took his words at face value and marched on Washington?

Why, golfing with oil executives, of course:

On the same weekend that 40,000 people gathered on the Mall in Washington to protest construction of the Keystone Pipeline — to its critics, a monument to carbon-based folly — President Obama was golfing in Florida with a pair of Texans who are key oil, gas and pipeline players…

[O]n his first “guys weekend” away since he was reelected, the president chose to spend his free time with Jim Crane and Milton Carroll, leading figures in the Texas oil and gas industry, along with other men who run companies that deal in the same kinds of carbon-based services that Keystone [XL Pipeline] would enlarge. They hit the links at the Floridian Yacht and Golf Club, which is owned by Crane and located on the Treasure Coast in Palm City, Fla.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the legend says. And President Obama appears to be golfing while our climate burns, golfing with the men who, if they did not start the fire, are daily putting fuel to the flames that they might line their own pockets. Call the President and let him know how you feel. In the meantime, it’s clear that, as powerful as the Washington rally may have been, it is only the beginning if we’re going to hold the President to his word.


About sdpeacejustice

The SD Peace & Justice Center connects a grassroots network of South Dakotans working for social justice and against violence and oppression.
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