Reducing emissions vs. saving people |

Reducing emissions vs. saving people

Many lawmakers, including President Joe Biden, are more interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions than combating inflation, crime, homelessness and hunger in America.

I always encourage people who complain about how bad it is to live in the U.S. and who choose to ignore social issues to travel abroad to places like Africa, Egypt or China.

I traveled to Egypt with the U.S. Wheat Associates when I was a reporter with Agweek magazine. USW was on a mission to show myself and Taylor Brown, who at the time was a regional broadcaster and is now president of Northern Ag Network, how wheat is transported and used in the country. We were to share our experience with our readers and listeners when we returned home.

The trip was certainly an eye opener.

One of the issues the Egyptians had with U.S. wheat was that they said it wasn’t clean enough for their standards. I found that rather amusing because they would leave piles of wheat on the sidewalks and streets to women could scoop it up and make bread for their families. We also toured a couscous factory in Cairo. The doors were wide open, and birds and cats were plentiful inside the facility.

So, I didn’t worry too much about their complaints.

During our travels we got to observe living conditions in Egypt and Morocco. There were many half-finished apartment buildings in Cairo where people lived with no walls and I’m pretty sure no bathrooms.

When we were at the market a little girl who must have been 5 or 6 was carrying a baby and came up to me asking for money to feed the baby. I was just about to give her some when my handler stopped me and told me it was illegal to beg in Egypt and I could get in trouble if I gave her money. I don’t know if this is still true, but I read in Egypt Today that people can make a comfortable living begging and are taking resources from people who really need help.

As we drove through Morocco, we saw people living in caves or holes dug into the hillsides.

I bring up living conditions in these countries because in many of the largest cities in the U.S. the homeless will soon outweigh the homeowners if we don’t deal with the homeless and inflation is allowed to run rampant.

I have been to many U.S. cities, including Denver, where the homeless have built camps in wooded areas and under bridges. This is not something new to this country, in 1990, I lived in Washington, D.C., during my internship. I would see many homeless people sleeping on park benches on my way to the capitol and every stoop and entryway was filled with homeless people.

Homelessness is a messy issue, which is why many in Washington choose to look the other way as they are stepping over homeless people on their way to work.

COVID, inflation, crime have exacerbated the homeless problem and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not going to solve the issue.

We need to take a long hard look at social conditions in this country and decide if we need to spend more helping people or controlling greenhouse gases. We can still try to reduce greenhouse gases but with all the other huge countries like China, India, Africa and Russia, who can’t afford green policies or don’t have much interest in them, we don’t have a very good chance of reducing emissions worldwide. All it does is give some of us bragging rights and a false sense that we are saving the planet.