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Here Come the Hurricanes

| September 26, 2017

People in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands are currently experiencing the effects of the second major hurricane to hit in only the past two weeks. The Puerto Rican governor has just reiterated after the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, depending on how severe the damage to their electrical grid is, the power could be out all across the island for months on end. According to Holly Yan of CNN, the island of Dominica, often heralded as “The Nature Island”, has been virtually stripped of greenery—now brown and bare. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has successfully posted a Twitter poll asking his followers if ESPN Sportscenter host Jemele Hill should be fired. He has also shared a video someone compiled of himself hitting a golf ball at Hillary Clinton. Striking accomplishments, Mr. Trump. Simply striking. Before I lose half of the people reading this by shamelessly bashing the Donald, let me get down to what this article is truly about: climate change and international solidarity. If you choose to not believe in anthropogenic climate change, then please feel free to continue reading, but I am not sure what I will be able to convince you of if climate scientists haven’t been able to alert you of the fact that we have are continuing to warm the earth at faster and faster rates. I think there are two different lessons hidden in the goings-on of the past few weeks. The first is that we must curb the effects of climate change in order to stop the development of an increasing amount of these superstorms in the future. According to the Geophysics Fluid Dynamics Laboratory over at NOAA, there is not enough evidence at this point to show a correlation between human activity and changes in Atlantic cyclone activity. Their overview of current research results on the subject of global warming and hurricanes states, however, that “anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones globally to be more intense on average (by 2 to 11% according to model projections for an IPCC A1B scenario).” The overview also states that, over the next century, the odds are good that in some basins, the occurrence of intense storms like Harvey, Irma, and Maria will increase at a rate much higher than two at 11%. These statistics and predictions demonstrate that, although we cannot pin the destruction of the past two weeks on climate change as quickly as we might like, we should focus on subduing climate change as a means of preventing the increase of occurrences of such storms in the future. The only issue is, unfortunately, that Donald Trump’s continuing to threaten a U.S. exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, which would not only deliver a debilitating blow to the international climate initiative, but also add another embarrassing piece to the domino line of failures he has been working tirelessly to set up his whole presidency. Who knows when it is all going to come down. The Donald (I will consider calling him the President when he earns the title) has also appointed a staunch climate change denier to head the EPA in another embarrassing move that has people around the world laughing (and cringing in fear) at our White House. Another lesson flapping around in the wake of these recent storms is a plea for international solidarity. As hurricane Irma pushed towards Florida, it seemed too many people on social media and in conversation were quick to offer prayers for the southeastern United States while almost entirely ignoring the small island nations and territories that were even more prone to near total destruction by a category five impact. I felt echoes of the nationalist movement, currently sweeping across the U.S. and Europe, while I was scrolling through articles detailing where exactly along our Eastern coast the storm might hit, failing to mention which islands (even some that are U.S. territories) were in severe danger, and how hard they were going to be hit. Everything going on in the world right now should be a wake-up call; it should shake whole countries out of the nationalist mindset that separates us, impedes progress, and threatens to remove empathy from the list of human capabilities. The nationalist movement and the worldwide refusal to accept the realities of climate change and the need for drastic action are both factors that seem to push us closer and closer to seeing that first domino fall. It is our responsibility to elect leaders who feed into neither ignorance in the face of indisputable science nor dangerous nationalistic pride that silently draws us away from the rest of the world.

Category:Opinion, Society and Identity

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