I read the following, got up, made myself some coffee, ingested it and sat down again to re-read because I thought it was a trick played by my just awoken mind.
Why are The Miami Herald and other news outlets so quick to label common-sense survival activities in Haiti as “looting”? According to news reports, there are few if any grocery stores open for business in Port-au-Prince, and vast quantities of donated food have yet to be distributed. Meanwhile, there are tens of thousands of people without food, water and shelter.
There also are tons of debris to be removed from the streets. In these circumstances, removal of any useful items before arrival of the bulldozers seems like the sensible, humanitarian, environmentally friendly and cost-effective thing to do.
The missive to the “editors’ was written by Helene B. Dudley of Miami. After a quick Google search, I found out that Ms. Dudley belongs to the group Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida.God Bless them for the service they performed, but bundling looting to environmental clean-up is akin to associate a stabbing during a mugging to a life-saving open heart surgery.
I won’t comment on the legality of having to steal food and water from a store to survive a catastrophe like that, but I don’t care how flexible is anybody’s imagination, to think that looters are doing so for environmental causes is just idiocy. If anything, looting might be bad for Gaia since people do not know what kind of chemicals and poisons, crushed but contained by the debris will now be released and spread to the four winds in the legs of looters. Contaminated items will pass hand to hand making people sick and overburdening even more the tight situation in Haiti.
Oh and by the way. The traditional looting custom of burning up the ransacked stores after they are pillaged seems to be running against sound environmental principals and are serious increase in the carbon footprint that will kill our planet.
I need another coffee.