Climate change deniers have all but won their war on science. Motivated by petty obstructionism or short-term profits, they have effectively delayed collective action in most of the world’s industrialized nations. Their militant resistance to reason has accelerated the slide into oblivion for more than a billion human beings who live near rising oceans, and billions more who don't. These same people are now gearing up to combat the next major crisis sweeping across the globe.
Antibiotic-resistant pathogens have reached every country, with some patients being treated with drugs that are now the last line of defence against infections. Scientists gathered at the Royal Society in London on Thursday warned the situation is so desperate that a global response in line with efforts to combat climate change is needed.
Pardon my cynicism, but if a “global response in line with the efforts to combat climate change” is what’s being called for, we are well and truly screwed.
As is always the case, those profiting from crises have dug in to declare that human ingenuity will find a way to prevail. For example, a recent advance in destroying biofilm bacteria suggests that some innovations may mitigate the deadly effects of superbugs. That discovery might help in small ways, just like driving a Prius might help in small ways. But the bigger threat goes unacknowledged.
Profiteers argue that somebody somewhere will be motivated by enough money to discover a breakthrough that will save the human races from its own stupidity. But in the meantime, they are pouring gasoline on the fire with stunning disregard for the consequences.
Corporate interests, of course, control the frontlines of the battle. Here in North Carolina, the widespread use of antibiotics in factory farming makes us a hotspot for drug resistant bacteria that have the potential wreak havoc. Ten million hogs are just the tip of our toxic iceberg. Add in 100 million other animals being treated with prophylactic antibiotics, and you have a public health crisis ready to boil over.
We eat these animals, and antibiotic overuse has repercussions for our health,” said McClean, who sells her meat at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. “If we disrupt our internal flora and fauna with antibiotic overuse, we run the risk of many health problems, [including] the antibiotics not working when we need them.”
And make no mistake, antibiotics are not working when we need them.
In Britain, 5,000 people a year die from antibiotic-resistant infections. The following article below reports that in the United States, just one of the best known "superbugs," MRSA, kills around 19,000 people per year, and a similar number in Europe. This is far more than are dying from HIV and AIDS.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the crisis talk that’s going around these days, and I empathize with those who want to hide their heads in the sands. Just make sure those aren’t “tar sands” you’re ducking into, because that would be a reminder of yet another crisis we’re creating for ourselves.
For all of these crises, we have Republicans and corporate Democrats to thank, people who will deny and delay until death stares them in the eye, and then look for miracle cures in order to turn a profit on the misery of others.