Climate Change

I am from Long Island, NY, where we are still -- 4 1/2 years later -- reeling from Hurricane Sandy, a storm so vast we had never seen anything like it.  When you live along the coast, you expect to see some flooding in bad weather.  But Sandy was different.  The cost of Superstorm Sandy is estimated to be $75 billion, surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Hurricane Katrina.  Remember that one?  Half of Louisiana was under water.  New Orleans was virtually in ruins.  The cost of that storm exceeded $105 billion.

Both storms were attributable, in part, to climate change.

Despite the denials of our President, climate change is real, it is happening.

According to the EPA, the Earth's temperature has risen 1.5℉ over the past 100 years, and is projected to rise as much as 8.6℉ over the next 100 years. These small changes can have a huge effect on our weather and climate.  Changes in rainfall can result in more intense rain, floods or droughts,and more frequent and  severe heat waves, Our oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, the polar ice caps and glaciers are melting, and sea levels are rising.  NASA scientists  are currently studying the effects of global warming throughout the world:  Hawaii's coral reefs (threatened by bleaching due to rising sea levels), ammonia "hotspots" (a study ties fertilizers, animal waste to changes in atmospheric chemistry), and desert songbirds (at risk of extinction from a warming environment).

The Environmental Defense Fund points out the effects of climate change on our ecosystem and our economy.  Climate change is a major threat to agriculture; pollution takes its toll on our health and well-being; extreme weather puts a burden on our infrastructure, negatively affects our electrical supply, and interferes with our ability to travel and communicate. Similarly,  The World Wildlife Fund reports that global warming is likely to be the greatest cause of species extinction in the 21st century.  Our environment is changing so rapidly that animals cannot adapt.  The species most at  risk include tigers, snow leopards, Asian rhinos, African elephants and polar bears.

The financial cost of climate change cannot be ignored.  By 2030, climate change costs are expected to cost the global economy $700 billion annually, and the The cost of dealing with wildfires, droughts, the destruction of assets and need to relocate  whole populations from flooded coastal areas, the decline of agricultural yields and decrease in fisheries, all will adversely effect the finances of the world.

Climate change can even affect our mental health.  Individuals who survive a natural disaster are more prone to PTSD and suicidal thoughts resulting in higher levels of suicide, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, violence and aggression. The aftermath of a natural disaster can strain social and interpersonal relationships. Extreme temperatures have an effect on behavior, e.g., hot summers result in hot tempers.  Conversely, green spaces in our cities can result in improved mental well-being.

The Center for Climate and Security regards climate change as a threat to our national security -- it can create political instability, resulting changes to the military's operating environment, in increased conflict over natural resources, refugee populations, stress on our infrastructure, etc.

The United States used to be the world's leader in addressing the global issue of climate change.  We have abdicated that role in the misguided belief that deregulation will improve our economy, stimulate manufacturing, increase our energy independence, and improve our economic position in the world.

We are applying  20th Century solutions to a 21st Century problem.  We need to do better.  We need to look forward, not back.  The cost of ignoring climate change is too much for us to bear.

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...


  1. Trump and cohorts are doing all the can to push us over the edge of the cliff while they're busy with their fingers in their ears.

  2. "Let no man pull you low enough to hate him" Martin Luther King, Jr.

    #AtoZChallenge CIVIL RIGHTS Movement

  3. I think how we adapt to the changing climate is going to be one of the main issues that defines and shapes the next century. I live in Canada and so think about the defrosting permafrost and what that means for the arctic and the implications for everything else connected - waterways, ecosystems, changing weather patterns. I think what the collective world does in the next couple decades really matters as far as this issue is concerned.

  4. Thank you for writing about meaningful issues. I'm going to share your blog with my husband, and follow your posts. Silence is no longer an option, is it? All the best to you.

    1. Thanks. It's true, silence only emboldens those who think silence means consent.


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