Flooding in Pakistan highlights the need for global solidarity.

In this Age of Endless Recovery, we’re being treated to a rolling barrage of escalating climate disasters. The increasing frequency of extreme events is already making it clear that having a global society like ours comes with unique vulnerabilities. Our just-in-time system has no room or redundancy for the kinds of disruption that we’re just starting to see. Those people in the United States who’ve been under the misapprehension that their nation and lives are somehow removed from the rest of the world, are going to be increasingly confronted by the economic effects of climate change, even if they somehow manage to tune out the human effects.

And while climate activists and “communicators” try frame the issue in terms of how it will directly affect some of the most insulated people in the world, other people are fighting to survive.

Pakistan declared a national emergency on Friday as catastrophic monsoon rains, exacerbated by the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis, continued to pummel the country for the third consecutive month.

Since mid-June, flash floods and landslides across the South Asian nation have killed least at 937 people, injured more than 1,300, and destroyed well over half a million homes, according to the National Disaster Management Authority. In addition, nearly 800,000 livestock have died and at least 1,900 miles of roads and 145 bridges have been wiped out, disrupting the supply of food and further driving up prices.

This is a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions,” Sherry Rehman, the nation’s climate change minister, told reporters on Thursday.

“Pakistan is going through its eighth cycle of monsoon while normally the country has only three to four cycles of rain,” said Rehman. “The percentages of super flood torrents are shocking.”

More than 100 districts across Pakistan’s four provinces have been hit by flooding since the start of the monsoon season. The impacts have been especially devastating in the southern provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, which have received 784% and 496% more rain this month compared with the August average, according to the minister.

The two provinces have lost at least 306 and 234 people, respectively, and tens of thousands more have been forced to live in makeshift camps far away from their inundated cities and towns.

“Thirty-three million have been affected in different ways,” said Rehman. “The final homeless figure is being assessed.”


Countries like the US should be helping Pakistan because they have the resources to do so (assuming they ever decide they stand for more than enabling the ultra-rich), but also out of self-interest. It’s hard to predict who’s going to get hit next, or when the next major supply chain disruption will come. We’re entering a period of time in which trying to maintain “business as usual” will be increasingly destructive and dangerous. The longer the warming continues, the more we’re all going to need help, and the less we’ll be able to afford to support a useless and negligent ruling class.

Now is the time for those nations with the means to reach out to people and nations in need of help, both to improve the resilience of those who are currently struggling, and to build up more solidarity and trust between people, groups, and nations. It’s something that the aforementioned useless ruling class ought to be doing. It’s also something that they will not do.

The good news is that with the internet, we can network internationally, and hopefully start building connections between the working classes of various countries. That could be a good tool for generating empathy in the imperial core, and for breaking through people’s personal bubbles.

I don’t know if there’s much any of us can do about the death and suffering in Pakistan right now, at least directly. Keep an eye out for ways to help, of course, but in many ways the best thing an average resident of the U.S. can do is work to change how the U.S. government conducts itself. This is not only key to actually doing good for humanity with the riches of “the richest nation on the planet”, but also to ending a pattern of military and political interference.

In light of what’s happening to the climate, we really don’t have time for the petty and destructive games of a spoiled and callous aristocracy.

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