Scorched Earth Not Worth Discussing at ASEAN Summit

President Obama concluded his second trip to Malaysia since becoming top executive of the United States after taking part in the third ever ASEAN summit held on the weekend of November 20–21, 2015.

The summit was extremely important, not only for Southeast Asia but also for the President as there is a considerable push for his Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement between the region, the United States, and other Pacific Rim countries.

Coincidentally, the summit takes place at a time between two very significant events in regards to climate change and the Earth’s environment. The former being an environmental catastrophe from what has been labelled the worst Indonesian and Malaysian fire season in recorded history (which was “cleared away” just several weeks before by the start of the region’s rainy season), and the other, the UN Climate Change Conference being held in Paris at the end of November 2015.

Shockingly, though, the President failed to take advantage of the summit to speak out, scold, or even acknowledge the man-made catastrophe that the environment (and humanity) on this side of the planet had to endure the past few months.

Although this year’s was the worst on record, these avoidable catastrophes occur each year as if on schedule due to harsh palm oil and timber plantation clearing methods. The method of choice for palm oil-producing and timber corporations in the region is called “slash-and-burn,” which entails cutting down old trees and loose debris and then setting the entire area ablaze to help create more fertile land. According to many reports, this year’s fires have already released more CO2 than the entire U.S. economy. Many go so far as to say it was one of the worst environmental disasters in the documented history of the planet.

Descriptions of the fires and smoke do not do it justice. One needs to experience firsthand to understand the hell that they bring with them.

Knowing this only all too well, the Malaysian and Indonesian governments were clever enough to schedule the summit in the middle of rainy season, and right after the worst of the fires were extinguished.

Quite frankly, it appears that the hypocrisy, manipulations, and lies of those who publicly proclaim to care about climate change science and environmental issues never cease to reach new absurd levels. Moreover, the complicity and gagged-mouth attitude of so-called “mainstream media” is something to marvel at. Not only were this year’s fires almost completely ignored, but the press that covered the recent summit failed to even broach the topic, leading many to believe that the fires have little to no significance. So an amount of CO2 that exceeds the entire U.S. economy is released into the atmosphere within the short span of a few months and it is not worth mentioning in the grand scheme of the climate change debate? Theater of the absurd, people.

These disastrous fires aside, Malaysia and Indonesia have many other areas of concern that should make every leader in the world who is clamoring on board the man-made global warming bandwagon take pause. The annual fires just add to the terrible traffic problems with little to no regulations on vehicle exhaust, little to no regulation on their mining industries, deforestation that has wiped out huge tracts of important rain forest in the region—most of it thousands of years old, coral reef damage and over fishing that coupled all together could harshly label Southeast Asia as the epicenter of environmental disasters.

Whether you are someone who believes in the science behind climate change or not, it is becoming increasingly difficult to take any of it seriously when world leaders, the press, and agenda-driven scientists only want to focus on disappearing polar ice caps—that are mysteriously growing not shrinking—and data that has been routinely criticized by a growing number of insiders.

I’m quite certain that both sides of the debate certainly agree that the planet needs to be protected and preserved for the health, wealth, and the sustainability of future generations. But when world leaders flatly ignore one of the greatest environmental disasters ever recorded, only to jet off to more “politicized” areas of the globe to once again declare environmental protection as key, well, forgive me for raising the bullshit flag.