Following Sarah Palin’s facebook page is a great way to gain insight into the mind of someone truly dedicated to dumbing down intellectual discourse in America. In order to celebrate her assistant’s birthday, Palin wrote the following message accompanying the photo above:
Hmmm, today is “World Population Day,” whatever the heck that means. Better than that though, it’s this guy’s birthday!
A five second google search would have let Palin know that World Population Day is a yearly event established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme to raise awareness of the world’s rapidly expanding population. Of course Palin almost certainly knows this but was feigning ignorance in order to mock liberals and scientists concerned with the serious impact we are having on the planet. And of course, her assistant’s birthday is far more important than the crushing environmental effects of human population growth.
This petty scorn directed at environmentalism is becoming something of a Palin trademark. Earlier this month Palin delivered a ludicrous screed against California governor Jerry Brown for his environmental policies in the face of the state’s severe drought. Palin, a graduate in media communications, took the opportunity to lecture Brown on how to solve the crisis suggesting he should “just fix the infrastructure problem” and “build more reservoirs”. Palin accused Brown of going after people’s front lawns and golf courses, issues she presumably believes are far more important than growing food and providing drinking water to Californians.
While Palin and her followers believe these issues exist purely to poke fun at those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, they might not be so amused when the impact of population growth and climate change (two highly interdependent events) begins to destroy Alaska’s wildlife, coastline and infrastructure. As the EPA states, global warming has impacted Alaska at twice the rate of the rest of the nation leading to, amongst other things, severe permafrost problems that will seriously hamper Alaska’s economy:
Permafrost thawing and cycles of freezing and thawing can cause extensive damage to highways, railroads, airstrips, and other transportation infrastructure in Alaska.
Alaska’s “drunken forests” — as permafrost thaws, trees lean into the ground. Source: USGCRP (2009) (PDF)
Many of Alaska’s highways are built on permafrost. When permafrost thaws, roads buckle. Vehicles are only allowed to drive across certain roads in the tundra when the ground is frozen solid. In the past 30 years, the number of days when travel is allowed on the tundra has decreased from 200 days to 100 days per year.Projected increases in temperatures and permafrost thawing would continue this trend and could further limit access to the tundra. Building infrastructure on thawing permafrost requires additional engineering, and can increase the cost of construction by 10% or more.
This is probably A-OK with Sarah Palin given global warming is also causing ice sheets to melt around Alaska leading to what the EPA calls “new opportunities for shipping, oil and gas exploration”. This would of course lead to more long term environmental degradation and more ammunition for Palin to mock liberals – a perfect outcome for someone who genuinely has no interest in anyone other than herself.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.