I feel deeply sorry for those affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma and appreciate all efforts to help them recover.
But it distresses me deeply to hear people in such vulnerable areas as the Florida Keys talk about rebuilding. It compounds these tragedies to realize people continue to deny why these storms were as powerful as they were, to continue to refuse to accept that storms like these will occur more frequently and with ever greater strength. I just heard one survivor from the Keys say “I hope I never see another storm like this in my lifetime”. That will be an unrealistic hope if he stays there.
People who should (do) know better suggest this is not the time to talk about climate change and its consequences. True leaders would use the lessons of these disasters to acknowledge that we need to plan for the multiple consequences of environmental crises that will be coming at us at an accelerating rate–increasing frequency and strength of storms, rising sea levels, increasing air and water temperatures, changing precipitation patterns with huge areas of drought, death of sea life from acidification of ocean water, dwindling supplies of clean water, and air, etc.
These tragedies should make us stop fossil fuel use and infrastructure (such as pipeline) development immediately. They should stimulate a massive transition to the development of renewable energy right now. They should spur us to focus on building resilient communities in areas that will not be flooded by rising seas. They should make us plan for how we will deal with food and water insecurity, and massive numbers of climate refugees.
Addendum: My Friend Anne Reynolds from North Meadow Circle of Friends sent me the link to the following EXCELLENT podcast discussion about climate change: