Friday, January 11, 2008

Trouble, Trouble, Trouble

By Alan Caruba

I never fail to be amazed by all the problems there are in the world and the fact that we now learn about them instantly, no matter that they are occurring on the other side of the planet.

One problem is “wheat rust Ug99”. In times past, we would not have been asked to know or learn a thing about this fungus, but a story about it moved on one of the news sites and it turns out that it is now threatening wheat crops in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. It is a form of black stem rust, first discovered in Uganda in 1999. Now think about it. It has gone from Africa to the Middle East and Asia in just under a decade!

It is killing wheat harvests and it is impervious to the usual fungicides or other chemicals applied. It is a variant of Puccinia graminis fungus and that is what Mother Nature does. Just when you get the handle on one threat to the crops, she comes up with a new twist. Famed scientist and father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug, says there are only three weapons available; fungicides, wheat breeding to create a resistant strain, and luck. Yes, luck! How’s that for bad news?

Translation: the cost of all food products that involve wheat is going to rise, perhaps dramatically, if a solution to this new crop threat is not found and soon. Every current strain of wheat around the world is susceptible to this fungus.

Americans have not been spared bad news this past week in the form of tornadoes showing up in places where they have been considered rare events. The weather got very nasty.

I tell people that Mother Nature has a message for mankind. It’s “Get out of the way! Here comes a tornado, a flood, a wildfire, a blizzard, a tsunami, an earthquake.”

There’s even a volcano in Ecuador threatening to erupt. It’s called Tungurahua and that just sounds like a volcano’s name! It’s 80 miles southeast of Quito and, if it goes off like Pinatubo did in the Philippines, it could change the weather of the planet for a couple of years. It would cool the planet, not warm it.

What is amazing is that there are people who actually claim that they or anyone else can “control” the weather and, thinking long term, the climate. They run around wailing about “climate change” hoping no one will say, “But the climate and the weather changes all the time.”

That's the pitch, however, that the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and all the rest of the fear-mongers who keep telling everyone. They keep saying that if we just “conserve” energy or switch to some “alternative” form of energy, we will “save” the Earth. Oh yeah?

You can’t really “conserve” energy. You either use it or you don’t. Try getting through the day without using it. Imagine being dependent on whether the wind is blowing for a couple of watts from a windmill or the sun is shining so a solar panel can churn out a watt or two?

These planet-savers can’t do diddly when it comes to wheat rust Ug99. They can’t control a hurricane. They can’t stop a blizzard. What they can do is get lots of money from suckers who think they can.

These same suckers don’t have any idea how these environmental groups are working day-in and day-out to impede progress for real farmers, real ranchers, real people who risk their lives to find new sources of oil and natural gas, real people who are trying to build a new nuclear or coal-fired plant. In short, the people that feed us and make sure there’s gas for your car and heat for your home or apartment.

Electricity? Try running your computer without it.

There will always be plenty of bad news and it won’t just be thanks to Mother Nature. Mankind has a pure genius for making trouble. When it comes in the form of a big state government, it comes with a guarantee that individual freedoms will be lost and lots of people will be killed.

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