CLIMATE CHANGE: a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years*

Nobody likes to be ignored.   Including the Earth.

Despite numerous optimal opportunities to speak on the issue of Climate Change, both major political parties have basically ignored the hot potato issue over the past year.   This past week the environment roared back, introducing Hurricane Sandy to a part of the country least capable of handling her temper.

Recognizing that this is a blatant example of animism, promotion of the belief that inanimate objects have a soul, it is a helpful way of describing what people in the northeast portion of the United States experienced this past week.  It feels as if the Earth has stomped her feet, screamed in her loudest voice, and thrown a temper tantrum that finally caught our attention.   Now the big question “out there” is “why haven’t we been talking about this before now?”

The answer is simple:  it was politically inconvenient to open that can of worms during an already over-heated political season.  But the environment has her own understanding of “seasons” and it doesn’t include “political season.”

For decades now there have been intelligent, scientifically sound people telling us that we have fooled around too much with the environment, causing a global heating that will be our downfall.   We dump unbelievable amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, convincing ourselves that it doesn’t make a difference.   Fuel from factories, cars, trucks, buses, ships, trains and homes burns away gleefully, allowing us to produce products, travel far, and stay warm or cool, depending upon the season.   The chemicals released by those actions pours into the atmosphere, changing the configuration of its contents.  An umbrella is created there, holding the heat from all our activity and affecting the makeup of the earth.

Polar caps are melting.   When ice melts, the water rises.   For decades we have been warned that rising water was going to get to the point where entire cities located at or near sea level were going to be inundated.   We pretended that it was a myth.

Well, it happened, and today there are deaths, destruction of homes, people displaced and without shelter, and it isn’t a dozen or so.  It is millions of people.   Millions of homes.  Industries, schools, places of worship, government buildings, bridges, tunnels and power systems have been destroyed.   There are estimates that it will cost more than $50billion to repair the damage that has been done.

THIS TIME.

The point I’m making is that this is not an isolated incident.  This is the second time in less that 14 months that such a storm has hit this vulnerable location.   Hurricanes have proliferated.  Droughts have been devastating.  Winter storms are more intense and more frequent.   In fact, the issue of intensity is probably equally as important as frequency.

There is no easy solution to this issue.   Any suggestions made are costly, difficult to undertake, and capable of replacing other projects which are equally important.   But, projects that are as costly as a ten year war are a far better use of funds, manpower, and intelligence.   What has to happen for us to get the picture that our planet is in trouble?   Is Hurricane Sandy just a passing phenomenon that will be forgotten in the months ahead?  Have we already forgotten Katrina and Isaac?

Silence on the subject is the cruelest and most irresponsible action we can undertake.   As soon as we are through with the foolishness of the the election and can settle back into governance of this nation, it is urgent that we begin the expensive, inconvenient and exhausting development and implementation of a plan to combat human-induced Climate Change.  (I capitalize those words to give her a proper name.)   It is a comprehensive issue which will take all the intelligence, creativity and capital available.   Not to do this is to “kick the can” of destruction of the planet down the road.

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Photo Credit: M/Sgt. Mark Olsen, USAF

*thanks for this definition from Wikipedia

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