My wife doesn’t understand how come I get upset. What’s happening in the United States really bothers me. I don’t care if unemployment is low, and the stock market is high. They don’t matter, we are destroying our future. I’ll use the Republic of Nauru as an example.
Nauru (pronounced NAH-roo) is the world’s smallest and most isolated republic. The island has an area of eight square miles, about a third the size of Manhattan, and it is so remote that the nearest island of any size is hundreds of miles away. But Nauru generates wealth that might make a few oil-rich potentates envious.
Thanks in part to what was left behind by the sea birds that have sought refuge here over hundreds of thousands of years, this island’s 7,500 people are among the richest in the world, at least on paper, because of phosphate mines that bring in tens of millions of dollars a year.
The phosphate, the product of fossilized bird guano and a primeval stew of marine microorganisms, is exported as fertilizer, most of it to Australia, Nauru’s former ruler.
Inch for inch, Nauru is the most environmentally ravaged nation on earth. So much of the island has been devoured by strip-mining begun 90 years ago that Nauruans face the prospect that they may have to abandon their bleak, depleted home.*
This is what we’re doing to ourselves. We’re being short sighted. We’re treating or allies badly. We’re treating our neighbors like they’re out to get us. We’re borrowing, and spending so much money we’re dooming our children and grandchildren to staggering deficits. We may make a few more dollars now. But we’re destroying ourselves doing it. Prosperity now, desolation and hopelessness later.
Nobody seems to care. That’s why I get upset.
*A Pacific Island Nation Is Stripped of Everything