As another tropical storm heads into the Gulf of Mexico and wildfires ravage the West Coast, we are beginning to feel the climate emergency breaking out in real time. Hurricane season has just begun and my neck of the woods (Southern Louisiana) has already felt the wrath of two storms, soon to be three. California and Oregon have been devastated by massive wildfires, spurred on by record heat waves. It is safe to say, we are living the Climate crisis we were warned about not that long ago.
Tropical Storm Sally is heading toward the Greater New Orleans Area (GNO) and is expected to be a Category One Hurricane before it makes landfall. This is coming mere weeks after the Lake Charles area of Louisiana was devastated by Hurricane Laura. Lake Charles is still largely without power and basic services, and many homes damaged.
While Sally is not going to be as powerful as Laura when it makes landfall, and it has recently veered slightly east of New Orleans, this is an alarming trend to see early in hurricane season. We still have at least two months before hurricane season ends. At this rate, its not far-fetched to say that more powerful storms are on the horizon. This is happening while the West Coast is dealing with unprecedented wildfires.
The West Coast, California in specific, has been dealing with some incredible wildfires over the past few years. Each year that passes, the fires get worse. This year, millions of acres, between California and Oregon, have gone up in smoke. Nearly 30 deaths have been reported in the last week in association with the fires.
While the popular meme going around is the fires being caused by a gender reveal party gone wrong, these fires have been happening for years and are more intricately linked with climate change. Record heatwaves have caused leaves and brush to dry out more thoroughly, which in turn makes them more susceptible to catching fire.
All of this, of course, is taking place amid an ongoing pandemic and massive social unrest. George Orwell himself could not have written a better scenario then the one we are living in real time. As with the pandemic and social unrest, our leaders seem inept at reacting to the climate crisis unfolding in front of us.
Of course, as with any issue, solving the climate crisis is not as easy as pushing a button. There is a process and we must do our best to transition our economy away from fossil fuels in a way that provides economic opportunity and security. The issue here is that our society still has not even accepted the fundamental premise yet.
We are still debating with people about whether the climate crisis is real. To be fair, we are also still debating whether Covid-19 is as bad as experts say or if systemic racism is real. People often say there are no “easy answers” and to an extent that is true. The problem is people say this as if there are no solutions at all. There are solutions, and yes it may cost some corporations some profits. Terrible, I know.
As I sit at my desk watching the clouds grow darker outside, listening to the wind howling like a tortured spirit, and thunder booming like the hammer of Thor itself, I cannot help but wonder if this as the new normal.
What is normal anymore? Perhaps this is the dystopian nightmare that the left has been talking about for years. Regardless, there are answers to these immense problems. Hopefully, we can stop obsessing over the questions for a minute in order to find a comprehensive solution instead.
Stay safe everyone.