In the runup to Earth Day a leading bank in Africa convened some of the world’s most provocative if controversial financiers to foretell Earth’s future.
ABSA may not have the assets or power of Deutsche or CitiGroup but it has the unique advantage of being untied to the world’s toughest institutions like The Fed, Exxon or the Trump Family. Unfettered from a world economy that is about to massively change, ABSA’s Daniel Mminele is probably a better convention organizer for the view of a future world economy than Jamie Dimon.
The worst locust outbreak ever seen in Africa, the most insidious virus ever known to man, the most flooding and worst earthquakes in history… then, bloodshed.
All Africa journalist Jerry Chifamba has just completed a series of in-depth reports on how accelerating conflict in Africa is directly linked to climate change. No surprise, or is it just that we don’t want to be surprised, anymore.
Climate change is a silent slow motion video that with a touch on your remote bursts out of your TV with the cacophony of earthquakes and volcanic thunder. You reach for the remote. Mute the volume again. Change the channel.
Half of Zimbabwe’s population is starving. Today. Right now. Kenya’s oil that had been saving its government from default has come to an abrupt halt. “Unprecedented numbers” are starving and sick in southern Africa.
Victoria Falls without falls is disturbing enough but there are even more disturbing aspects to the viral dissemination of the falls turned off.
More than several times I’ve seen the falls this way. It reflects a severe drought to the west. But right now really destructive torrential rains are destroying large towns and major agricultural areas to the west as the drought breaks. In several months the falls will be running wild. No one seems to mention that… this time.
Trump apparently can make about a third of America believe any falsehood he imagines and do anything he asks up to sacrificing their farm for his pockets. But Trump cannot tell Mother Nature how to act.
A pitiful world conference begins today in Madrid on climate change. It doesn’t matter if there are paper ballots in Georgia or not for the future’s elections there, if there’s no soil or water. Africans find a wry twist to all of this: the greedy power-brokers are suicidal.
Les Misérables who barricaded the streets for bread not cake were ultimately wiped out. Give them a smartphone and Twitter and we wait to see what happens in Hong Kong, but in Africa, where colonialism masterfully subdued millions for a century, “revolution” has never yet occurred.
It seemed like Africans could take anything. Until now.
Cyclone Kenneth was the strongest hurricane ever to hit Africa and only the fourth on record. It plowed into Mozambique on April 21 with 143 mph winds.
Then, just three weeks later Cyclone Ida crashed into the same place! With winds of 127 mph it refused to move like Kenneth or normal hurricanes. It sat over Mozambique for more than three weeks wrecking untold destruction.
Like drunken gluttons these two disasters seemed to have sucked away Africa’s moisture for years to come. Terrible unpredicted droughts have popped up all over the subcontinent. My safari just ended in Botswana, a thousand kilometers west of where the hurricanes struck. It was a mess, an utter drought.
African agriculture has tumbled. Local currencies have tanked. Mozambique and surrounding areas of Zambia and Tanzania have been utterly destroyed. Millions remain displaced.
This is not the screenplay for an apocalyptic movie. It happened six months ago. The two hurricanes are the worst natural disaster in the history of Africa but unfortunately that record is not expected to stand very long.
We spent seven days game viewing in one of the most brutal droughts Botswana has ever seen. First-timers thought it was wonderful, because the cats are having a heyday. There was blood everywhere.
There are few pools of water left in Chobe or the Makgadikgadi that aren’t artificial. Elephant dug a few tiny pools in parched river bottoms, but it was only the drainage from camps and national park boreholes (wells) that have kept total disaster at bay.
I have to constantly remind myself how wonderful – especially for first-timers – the dry season seems. To me it’s worse than the worst ever winter in Chicago; it’s earth challenging its own creation. What I see through the billows of dust are all the battles being lost to survive.
But the battles won are by the cats as they pick off the sick and wounded like turtles. For the cats it’s their heyday. That’s why the visitors love it so.
I was very worried. To begin with I don’t particularly like the dry season. The enormous amounts of dust kicked up by the rovers when traveling is constantly irritating, but more generally I just don’t like seeing the beautiful veld so dry and stressed.
The silver lining is that the cats are in their heyday, picking off weakened animals like flies.
We were ready to leave the crater at the end of the game drive when Tumaini noticed far away near the down road a huge group of wilde running down the side of the escarpment.
We stopped and turned around and with my binocs I could swear I was in the western corridor watching a couple thousand frantic animals in their endless search for better grass. But we were far, far away from that place.
So even scientists have been coopted, now. Today in Paris most all of the most famous scientists in the world issued an 1800-page much anticipated report detailing what the rapid loss of biodiversity is doing to us:
Killing us, essentially. By the way, what did you think about that last Game of Thrones episode? Pretty cool, isn’t it, that Alex Cora is skipping the White House meeting? Is it possible that climate change has something to do with the decline in biodiversity?
So let’s say you’re running for national office. And let’s say you’re an incredible progressive promoting aggressive implementation of climate change remedies and reforms including a moratorium on any new development of fossil fuels.
And then let’s say that less than a few months before the election an oil-equivalent billion barrels of gas are discovered in your country. What do you do? This is exactly what’s happened in South Africa, elections on May 8.
The safari ended at the most popular foreign tourist attraction in East Africa, Ngorongoro Crater. Greener than nearly everywhere else we went, the veteran safari traveler who organized the trip, Steve Farrand, said it was the best game viewing on the safari and the best he’s ever seen in the crater!
Steve’s assessment reflects the current “almost-drought” situation on the circuit and the unique advantages that game viewing has when the veld is dry. I wish it weren’t so dry. It shouldn’t be.
Why does a miniature scorpion in Samburu remind me of one of the world’s greatest paleontologists?
When Richard Leakey published The Sixth Extinction nearly a quarter century ago, many disparaged what they contended was just another publicity stunt in the then ongoing personal wars between paleontologists who were finally getting their air time with Oprah.