Protect the Vulnerable

Protect the Vulnerable by One Hundred For Haiti board member, Nathan Bean.

It almost seems as if the earth is fighting back lately against its greatest threat, human beings. Floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes are occurring at an alarming rate. It feels scary. It is scary.

I heard it said on a recent episode of The Daily that, “By loading the atmosphere with carbon, its like a baseball player taking steroids.” What Texas A&M climate scientist Andrew Dessler means is that a seasoned baseball player can hit a baseball just fine, i.e. natural disasters ravaged earth long before humans. However, a seasoned baseball player on steroids hits the hell out of the ball, i.e. after building factories, eating burgers, and driving Hummers, natural disasters have became far more devastating and deadly.

I would add an element to this useful analogy. Recently, a two year-old girl sitting close to the field at Yankee Stadium was struck by a line drive. It was a horrific event and fortunately, she is going to live, though the road ahead will be a long one. The element I wish to add to the baseball player on steroids analogy is that people living in poverty are vulnerable to line drives and about as equipped to absorb impact as a two year-old.

It has been said many times and must be restated and restated that a quarter million Haitians did not die on account of an earthquake in 2010. They died because Haiti is a poor country that has been ravaged by a history of economic disempowerment, starting with slavery and continuing to some degree by NGOs.

This makes Haiti and countries like it vulnerable to line drives and we make it worse when we willfully supply the the steroid business, carbon which contributes to the downfall of our climate. This is the fight of our lifetime and countries like the United States have a responsibility to reverse the damage that we have disproportionately done.

It is not our job to stop natural disasters from happening. It is our job to protect the most vulnerable among us. Baseball teams around the majors are acting to add protective netting, which will keep fans safe from line drives. Perhaps we could do something similar for the people in countries like Haiti who stand to lose so much with the increasing number and power of natural disasters.

It is the least we can do, until we decide the most we can do is worth it.