Samoa’s white elephants and climate change

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MILLION DOLLAR PROJECT: One of the government’s multi-million tala projects that remain unused and empty.

MILLION DOLLAR PROJECT: One of the government’s multi-million tala projects that remain unused and empty.

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Orlando Huaman

In my previous comment, I addressed some of the claims made the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure in relation to the government changing the law for the age of imported vehicles.

The Minister was quoted as saying “old” cars pollute the air…”because they blow out black fumes.”

To be honest, I have not seen cars or vehicles of any kind spewing black fumes while moving haltingly on the potholes ridden roads of Samoa. This small island has not much to worry about the effects of climate change; but neither we want to make it happen for real. 

The reason I say this is, because at the rate that the white elephants are being built here, then soon we will have a climate change in our hands that will be irreversible; and nobody to blame but ourselves. 

By ourselves I mean the “big boy” Stui and his “bright” ideas that does not please even the street vendors kids. (By the way those kids could use the beds that the hospital is not allowing the brand new moms to use them.) 

Imagine his latest bluff: Samoa a Christian country. Can we honestly call this a Christian country? With all the permanent corruption and thieveries? 

A Christian country, just because we have a TNTC (too numerous to count) churches.  And everybody flocks every weekend (because there is no other place to go; like  an amusement park with a free swimming pool, kids swingers, a volley ball net, food and Samoan music, etc.) to empty their pockets. 

For what purpose? To support a comfortable life for the part/time pastors. Who  have not changed the spiritual mindset of the Samoans one  bit, since they arrived as LMS missionaries after 1840. 

That is to show, by example, how a true Christian population should live and act; because thievery and corruption, as it is now, will corrode our Christian beliefs to the bare bones. 

If we don’t straight it out the behaviour of the street vendor kids, we have to beg China to build more Tafaigatas, and at the rate the Chinese  store keepers are pushing the less funded Samoans; we will ended up with our future youth behind bars and our Samoan small business people standing in the unemployment lines. And with the help that MAF is given to the farmers (a big zero, nada) subsistence agriculture is the `only way to go. 

M.A.F people should think big for a change. Listen to the plight of the farmers; remember those were the ones who hired you. Eleven months after the election and you don’t have anything to show. How about some Stevia planting to save us 12 million tala in buying sugar abroad? How about hydroponics? You are deft by choice, and lazy by design. Poor Samoa!

 And since our so-called “leaders” have not a hint how to create jobs, and least of all, know how to gauge the output of the graduating kids to fill needed jobs in the market place. 

And perhaps he (Stui) will require that every Christian Samoan wear a big cross (metal for the matai and wooden for the rest) hanging from their neck. And can also be used as a weapon against those who do not have them (Muslins). Who knows? May be Stui is planning to reach a hundred in power (my “friend Henry”-Kissinger said: “power is the greatest aphrodisiac”) and by then our debt will be in the trillions., and the colour of the population will be yellow instead of brown.

Who knows? And how about if our stigmata lady’s Hebrew translation states: “The PM of Samoa must step down immediately; he has been fooling me too long. And now he wants to put my name right in every page of his constitution. I don’t approve that. 

I “anointed” him and gave him a poor country to turn around. After 30 years, nothing done. He does not believe there is poverty in Samoa. But I can see street vendors kids sleeping by a fast food chain store. As a mortal I can allow you some mistakes; but so many, no way. Enough is enough. I know I gave you a low I.Q. but sorry I can’t help you with your corruption. You see Stui, lawyers are banned from my territory. I am through with you. Signed. God.” 

Well, enough of that. Now, back to the white elephants and the climate change. I suppose just about everybody has a rough idea what is climate change, and there is a lot of information floating around about climate change. Contradicting at times and other even denying its existence.

The fact is, that our weather and the usual suspect that makes the weather tend to change over time. Just think one minute, how long it would take for a solid rock to became a nice white little grain of sand at your favourite beach, where you lay down next to your Vailima? Remember change is the only thing constant throughout the Universe.

 Science tells us that our known universe is 14.7 billion years old, and our beloved Earth is 4.5 billion years old. If in doubt read Stephen Hacking’s Universe. The book. Since the first naked half ape half humanoid came out of Africa have been battling the weather and surviving all along. And we are the survivors, debt and all.

 I claim to know very little about climate change. Nothing wrong with that. 

Do I have to? A Danish man said to me: “ … it is not that we have a good or bad weather; it is that we do not have the appropriate clothing to protect us”. Remember any weather is beautiful in any shape or form.

Coming to the point. I have to. Do you really think Mr. Minister that the presence of “old rubbish” cars in Samoa will affect the climate change? I don’t think so. Here is my reasoning, product of my research in that direction. First we have to know what a “green building” is, how is becoming an environmentally friendly trendy way. The blunt fact is that how buildings and how building construction affect the environment. In other words: It is not just the methods and materials to construct a building that affect the environment, but also how it is built to operate has a huge impact as well.

The fact is, according to the Department of Energy of the USA, 52% of global greenhouse emissions is produced by the construction and operation of buildings—heating; cooling; lighting, the manufacture of cement, drywall, and glass. So, let’s not demonize the cars and light trucks, specially our “old rubbish” cars; which only produce 9% of emissions. Fair enough?

So, why blame the buildings? Simply. I am referring here to the buildings in Samoa, to include those along Beach road: government, businesses, banks, big hotels, churches, and mega churches, and specially T.A.T.E. building; as the king of the white elephants. Let’s not forget the Faleolo airport. 

The Muslins are coming, run to your nearest church!

 Believe it or not, according to the U.S. Green Building Council,  buildings account  for an average  of 41% of the world energy use. A building’s lighting system, heating and cooling system and outlet use all contribute. In fact in the US, buildings are responsible  for 73% of the country electricity consumption. Buildings are responsible for 38% of all CO2 emissions. Therefore; the building construction is responsible for a huge percentage of the greenhouse gas emissions that have been affecting climate change.

Here is a revelation that will shock those than don’t know much about the effect of buildings on our climate change: Here it is: It has been discovered that those walls, doors, and windows—and the operation of the buildings those products went into—were among the world’s biggest energy sinks and carbon culprits. Hear this; about 40 percent of the energy used to control the climate in buildings seeps out through windows and doors, producing more than 250 million tons of emission a year. Just the manufacture of drywall releases 200 million tons of CO2 annually. The new eco friendly drywalls are made not of the traditional gypsum but of recycled waste of steel and cement plants. (Talking about drywalls, the Chinese have been using tainted Chinese drywall that causes sulphur emissions.) Since it is well known that the Chinese contractors, not only bring their own materials (perhaps Chinese tainted drywall) but also their own people, chop sue and all. 

To finish this piece here is an apocalyptic  weather report to scare the believers and non-believers in climate change, here it is: “ We are adding CO2  to the atmosphere  so fast, it would be unbelievable  that we could  stop it as low as 550 ppm.” “A good case would be to stop it at 750. That would be a 12 –degree- Fahrenheit rise . That is so dramatic, you understand, that  much of humanity wouldn’t survive. That is the good case.”

But all is not lost. The government of the US has been emphasizing the need  for GREEN CONSTRUCTION and that is why a program called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) have come into existence.

To better understand the importance of  green building consider the following benefits.

1. A green building has 19% lower maintenance, than the non-green one.

2. It produces 34% less greenhouse gas emissions.

3. Green building consume fewer resources.

4. Green buildings are more occupant friendly, and reduce sick building syndrome.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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