Guest essay by Eric Worrall
While various US governments continue to waste unimaginable sums of public money on pointless climate schemes, real problems ranging from third world poverty in Alabama to an explosion of the skid row population of Los Angeles are being allowed to fester.
Human Intestinal Parasite Burden and Poor Sanitation in Rural Alabama
Hookworm infection affects 430 million people worldwide, causing iron deficiency, impaired cognitive development, and stunting in children. Because of the environmental conditions needed for the hookworm life-cycle, this parasite is endemic to resource-limited countries. Necator americanus was endemic in the southern United States before improvement of sewage disposal systems and eradication programs. With continued poverty, poor sanitation, and an environment suitable for the hookworm life-cycle in some regions of the southern United States, a current prevalence study using modern molecular diagnostics is warranted. Lowndes County, Alabama, was chosen as the study site given previous high hookworm burdens, degree of poverty, and use of open-sewage systems. Participants were interviewed, and stool, serum, and soil samples were tested for nine intestinal parasites using a multiparallel quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays . We found that, among 24 households, 42.4% reported exposure to raw sewage within their home, and from 55 stool samples, 19 (34.5%) tested positive for N. americanus, four (7.3%) for Strongyloides stercoralis, and one (1.8%) for Entamoeba histolytica. Stool tested positive for N. americanus contained low levels of parasite DNA (geometric mean 0.0302 fg/µL). Soil studies detected one (2.9%) Cryptosporidium species, and Toxocara serology assay detected one (5.2%) positive in this population. Individuals living in this high-risk environment within the United States continue to have stool samples positive for N. americanus. Gastrointestinal parasites known to be endemic to developing countries are identifiable in American poverty regions, and areas with lower disease burden are more likely to be identified by using qPCR.
© The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
People with untreated hookworm are stuck in a poverty trap which is difficult to escape. Hookworm is a pernicious parasite which saps the strength of the infected. Why don’t the people afflicted by this horror fix their own sewage systems? Perhaps they don’t have the strength to lift a shovel.
Alabama is not alone ignoring extreme poverty and deprivation. The population of the Los Angeles Skid Row is exploding. While a lot of people on Skid Row are obviously there because they are hopelessly addicted to various drugs, some of them are there simply because they can’t afford soaring rental costs.
Los Angeles’ homeless crisis goes from bad to worse
By Peter Bowes
BBC News, Los Angeles
19 July 2017
Los Angeles’ entertainment industry nurtures the city’s dreamy La La Land image. But while Hollywood laps up the attention, there is a growing crisis in the land of make-believe – a soaring increase in the number of homeless people living on its streets.
Homelessness in Los Angeles County soared by 23% in the past year and it shows. The problem has become tangible and inescapable, with makeshift tent encampments cropping up across the sprawling metropolis.
Tourists are shocked to find themselves stepping over people draped in filthy blankets and begging on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Shop owners routinely swill the pavements to wash away urine and the accompanying stench.
“For the 31 years that I’ve been involved with homelessness… it has gotten worse far worse than I’ve ever seen before,” says Ted Hayes, a long-time activist.
Hayes says gentrification of the downtown area has begun to scatter a previously concentrated homeless population across the city.
The yearly homeless count in Los Angeles County rose to 58,000 in 2017, up from 46,874 in 2016.
Morrison believes the problem has worsened because of combination of factors, with rising housing costs in the city at the top of that list.
“The cost of housing is far outpacing the increase in incomes.”
Its not just the people at the bottom of the heap, the newly homeless, who are feeling the pinch. The tightening of Californian residents’ budgets is also being felt by organisations trying to help the homeless in Los Angeles.
Skid Row Mission May Have to Cut Services Amid Donation Drop
By Eddie Kim Aug 21, 2017
DTLA – Amid the county’s worsening homelessness crisis, Skid Row’s largest homeless shelter saw a 55% increase in people served last year, according to Rev. Andy Bales, head of the Union Rescue Mission at 545 S. San Pedro St.
Bales is proud that URM has been able to “step up” and accommodate more homeless people than ever before. He noted that the mission, founded in 1891, has not turned away single women and families with children.
That may change, as URM is facing a dire financial challenge.
The URM, which relies on philanthropic dollars and does not use government funds, saw its charitable giving plummet 23% in the fiscal year that ended in June. The challenge is worse than what URM faced during the Great Recession, Bales said.
“In 2010, we had 450 families come through. Last fiscal year, we had 1,110 families seeking help. I always give tours of our ‘hall of history’ to newcomers, and I’ve long explained that 2010 was the worst year for us,” Bales said. “Now I have to say 2016-17 has by far been the most challenging year in our existence.”
What has all this got to do with climate waste?
California’s push for 100% renewables is a major factor driving up the cost of living. Poor people spend around 40% of their income on energy. Anything which drives up the cost of energy is a big deal. A high energy bill can make the difference between being able to pay the rent, or being evicted onto the street.
California energy dreaming costs consumers billions
By Dan McSwain
September 19 2015
I have a friend who periodically gets into trouble. Whenever we review the history of an episode, his explanation is always the same: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Such hindsight leaps to mind as California lawmakers once again overhaul the state’s electricity industry. History suggests that consumers will pay dearly to see how this movie ends, regardless of whether the result justifies the price of admission.
Federal data indicates Californians paid $171 billion in higher costs for power over the last 20 years, compared to the national average. For perspective, this works out to roughly $12,300 per household, but bear in mind the total includes residential, industrial, commercial and government usage.
Those two decades included the 1996 partial deregulation, resulting power crisis and partial re-regulation in 2001, followed by a historic plunge into green energy that began in 2006.
Each policy seemed like a good idea at the time, to somebody.
Alabama is also getting in on the climate act. Alabama have not reached the levels of climate lunacy championed by California, they are commonly described as a laggard when it comes to climate, but last year Alabama Power joined the renewable race – they issued a request for tenders for 500Mw of new renewable energy schemes.
Do climate policies exacerbate poverty, homelessness and despair? I would argue there is a direct connection.
Several studies have highlighted the connection between subsidised green jobs and job losses in the real economy. This is particularly apparent in European countries like Spain, which travelled further down the road of renewable economic self immolation than most other countries.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: LESSONS FROM THE SPANISH RENEWABLES BUBBLE
8. The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created.
Nobody forces drug addicts on skid row to try their first crack pipe or heroin syringe. Perhaps the desperately poor Alabamans living in almost unimaginably squalid conditions haven’t exhausted every option for improving their own lives.
But its difficult to imagine a worse economic crime against vulnerable people than to drain money out of the real economy, and waste that desperately needed public cash on well connected political cronies and useless green energy schemes.
If California had wasted less money on renewables, some of those young people surging onto the streets of Los Angeles skid row would not have lost their jobs, or might have had work opportunities which in our green policy blighted world never eventuated. Some of them might have been saved from the spiral of hopelessness and despair which led them to utter ruin.
If Alabama has millions of dollars to spare, instead of wasting it on green schemes, they should be spending it helping desperately poor people in Lowndes County contain their debilitating hookworm infestation, to help restore their health to the point that they can help themselves.
I’m not suggesting all social problems would be magically cured if climate expenditure was eliminated. But there is no doubt that wasting huge sums on climate boondoggles, driving up prices for businesses and ordinary consumers, is making things worse.
History will judge politicians whose useless climate policies exacerbated the misery of their poorest and most vulnerable.