Friday, July 8, 2011

WEATHER WOES


The fires, dust storms, those scary dark funnel clouds, all the pictures, the scarier clouds, visions of yet another area devastated -- do we need the statistics? We know that number of fires, storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, is larger than ever.

Is all this bad stuff God's way of handling, cutting down the world's exploding population?

I've written about that. I wrote "Disappearing Island," 4/2/10). And I wrote "Weather" 1/22/11 You can click and see what was on my mind back then, but now those posts seem childish. We need to do something, but HOW? -- doing anything costs money, and nothing is happening, can happen, while Congress is focused the way it is focused on the "debt ceiling."

I can't NOT worry. Every day, throughout the day, we hear weather news -- about the temperature, humidity, wind speed. We see maps of the U.S. and lists of the major cities of world, with their Fahrenheit/Celsius temperatures, and learn .from the peppy, positive, weather person, if planes are arriving and departing on time, and what the probabilities are for tomorrow, and the weekend.

It's blabla -- diddling fiddling, while Rome-our-home-sweet-home is burning.

In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage. The Midwest suffered the wettest April in 116 years, forcing the Mississippi to flood thousands of square miles, even as drought-plagued Texas suffered the driest month in a century. Worldwide, the litany of weather’s extremes has reached biblical proportions. And it's not just us.

The 2010 heat wave in Russia killed an estimated 15,000 people. Floods in Australia and Pakistan killed 2,000 and left large swaths of each country under water. A months-long drought in China has devastated millions of acres of farmland. And the temperature keeps rising: 2010 was the hottest year on earth since weather records began.

The facts speak. While we've been murmuring, gee it's hot -- gee it's cold, are the polar ice caps really melting -- golly, what's with the weather -- gee, has the climate changed -- the climate has changed!

Hello Al Gore -- Al, we need you! Come out of hiding! Hello somebody, anybody who'll donate scientific services to the White House that's negotiating mostly money-money ways to fix the economy.

Economy? Sure, sure, but the E that is more important is the environment.

Sure, sure... We still have people saying climate change is a hoax and activists blame it on carbon emissions. Sure, there are some committees that have been meeting. Some cities are planting new trees -- ones that grow in hotter climates. Chicago is swapping heat-loving sweet gum and swamp oak trees for the traditional white oak. New York City, according to the Pew Research Center folks (who have statistics on just about everything), is going to have an average temperature increase of up to 3 degrees Fahrenheit by 2020, So NYC, my home sweet home, is planning to paint three million square feet of roofs white, to reflect sunlight and thus reduce urban heat-island effects.

Sure, I'm clapping my hands and saying good-goody! 14 states are implementing, climate-change adaptation plans. The other 36 apparently are hoping for a miracle.

Yes, sure -- praying for miracle might help. But dammit, we've got to DO SOMETHING.

Though Big-Coal corporations and the Big-Oil guys are spending tons of money telling us everything is fine, some real human people are already working on farms, planting and studying other foods to grow that won't die in the heat. They're doing something!

What we can do is talk it up with photos, videos, tweets, passionate paragraphs -- the social networks have been helping to fire up folks who can't vote or earn a living, throughout the Arab world. Facebook has billions of ears, eyes, typing fingers, friends chatting away. Keep doing what you're doing but talk it up -- talk about E for environment -- we need our world to be a place we can live in. Use social networking and talk it into a river, talk it into an ocean, and make waves.
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