The massive hurricane Florence approaches the East coast today, with predictions of up to 40 inches of rainfall in some areas, and storm surges up to 13 feet, with flooding miles inland. Flooding will be both salt water flooding from the storm surges, and fresh water flooding from deluges of rain. Florence is an illustration of the more powerful and frequent storms we will experience as a result of deteriorating environmental conditions.
Unfortunately at a time when we need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the current Republican administration is moving in the opposite direction. This is a perfect example of decades of policies that value corporate profits over the well being of living beings and Mother Earth.
The New York Times summarized 23 environmental rules rolled back by the Republican administration in its first 100 days. Recently the administration announced it would roll back a major Environmental Protection Agency rule that restricts emissions of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Hopefully the midterm elections will send people to Congress who understand the environmental dangers that threaten us.
I fear the severity of the destruction by Florence will result in thousands of climate refugees, and hasten the collapse of local governments and economies. We are seeing that here in Iowa. In Marshalltown, where I once lived, there is talk of a new ‘normal’ where businesses and residences may never be rebuilt.
We need to be planning to prepare for the millions of people who will become climate refugees. We can start to do so by building communities for the homeless and immigrants now.