Years ago, Al Gore warned that ignoring the risks of climate change or global warming would have clear and lasting detrimental effects on the future of our environment and our survival. Global warming is real. It is not a hoax.
Many global warming naysayers get hung up on whether the climate is warming due to human actions. Humans have been and continue to be the main culprit in the warming of our planet; but what does it gain us to fight that fight. I, for one, can’t place a great deal of my efforts into resolving the question of who is to blame and to what extent. Our planet is warming and we and all our fellow creatures are in severe danger.
Last month, my daughter and grandson were forced to flee Wilmington, North Carolina, drive more than 10 hours in horrendous traffic and pouring rain to find shelter from Hurricane Florence. They spent nearly two weeks with my wife and I, constantly worrying about their home, work, school and friends.
Last week they had to make their way back home on back roads, many flooded; by rain-soaked fields and towns, through hog waste and other contaminants in water too filthy for human use. They made the trip unaware of what they might find when they did finally get home. Her job was severely affected leaving her with hours curtailed indefinitely. Our grandson’s school has been closed for nearly a month, still not in session. Their house had slight damage and filthy water was standing everywhere. To add to the misery, piles of garbage were and still are a constant. She was one of the fortunate.
In reading all the reports from friends, neighbors, news accounts, etc., it became clear that no one was arguing about whether this devastation was human caused. In fact, most were simply agreeing that global warming was changing our world and for the worst. There is no room for blame and for identifying the culprit in all this while waiting to take action. Just as there is little time wasted getting to the cleanup after these on-going disasters, we must waste no time in taking action to prevent those disasters that are still to come.
In recent years, Hurricanes Harvey, Sandy, Katrina, and Florence either behaved in ways that surprised even weather forecasters or completely exceeded our predictions of devastation. We think of hurricanes, like tornadoes, as wind machines and they are; but recent storms have brought inundating rains compounded by incredible storm surges of ocean water. This is not a surprise to world scientists. The warmer temperatures on earth get, including warmer oceans, storms become more severe carrying far more water than have storms of the past. As a former resident of Tucson, Arizona, I was surprised this week to see a second tropical storm deluging the southwest this summer. In my years there, not one tropical storm made its way into the desert. The weather is talking and it is not saying, “Nothing to see here.” It is saying, “Beware.”
Here are some irrefutable facts. The oceans are rising caused by melting ice at the earth’s poles. Places close to the ocean are experiencing high water absent of storms, but rather corresponding to high tides. Places with no historical records of regular flooding are now being regularly flooded. There is ample proof that severe drought is overtaking the planet in myriad places, more often and lasting longer. The toll on people living in these areas is incredible and dangerous; causing food shortages, health issues, death and greater numbers of worldwide refugees. Storms continue to get stronger, more frequent and more dangerous; causing terrible human suffering, rising insurance costs with the expense of rebuilding escalating.
Our grandchildren will inherit this mess and most likely they will not thank us. If they elect to live in Miami, Norfolk, New Orleans or a myriad other places around the world, they will be struggling to keep their heads above water; literally. And most certainly, they will be spending incredible amounts of money to correct our “head in the sand” mentality.
I don’t want this for my grandchildren.
We must not delay in doing all we can to save this beautiful planet and the future of those we leave behind.