What do you know about hurricane Matthew? Most of us, not much. Matthew is mentioned by the press and by those running for office as “bad weather,” which totally leaves us in the dark. What is causing this ever mounting climate debacle? The VP and Presidential candidates do not call it climate change. They do not explain ever increasing winds and rain as a result of human activity. They do not heed the consequences of our increasing burning of carbon- based fuel, of coal,and oil and gas. Oh no. That would upset their major supporters, corporations paying their advertising fees and the cost of their high living. It would put all of them out of business.
I listened to Mary Robinson of 350.org on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now.” She gave a clear perspective on hurricane Matthew. First, we have oceans rising as glaciers melt into the sea. Ice-bound lands like Greenland are turning brown as ice melts so that the brown earth is exposed and absorbs heat, hence more melt. Melting permafrost everywhere releases methane, a gas that increases global warming more than CO2. Permafrost melt releases buried radioactive material. Ice does not last “forever” as was counted on by those who buried the waste, not if we heat things up.
Second, there is the turbulence. The winds outside Florida reached 104 miles per hour. There is increasing wind speed over the islands where the ocean is warmer. Huge and expanding damage is happening to Haiti, crops ripped from the soil, water more infected by cholera which was brought to the island by UN workers after the earthquake catastrophe.
Robinson explained that wind speed depends on the temperature of the evaporating water. The ocean is getting warmed to ever greater depth by the outpouring of heat from our use of carbon fuel. If cold water evaporates into a storm, the turbulence slows down. If hot water evaporates, the storm speeds up.
Republican candidate Mike Pence says he supports the coal mining industry. Republican President candidate, Donald Trump states that he doubts global warming. President Obama criticized North Dakota’s mistreatment of the Standing Rock Sioux trying to stop digging of their reservation (including holy sites) to protect Mother Earth but did Obama not stop the sale of an adjacent ranch to move the oil. So-called leaders make humanitarian statements but do not follow through with effective action. They are masters of “sound bites.”
The extraordinarily tuned-out “planners” want to run ever leaking gas lines past the frequently disabled Indian Point which should be long-closed. One leak out of gas lines whose spill is touched by a flame from lightning or from a poorly snuffed-out match that falls on grass and it’s goodbye New York City and its environs.
Island dwellers are already the first to go thanks to rising waters and lethal storms. But we, the mainland dwellers are next. Elected officials who shape the US economy and are supported by the carbon using industry, speak of building walls to keep out climate refugees. Trump and others label these refugees criminals, drug dealers, worthless parasites (by Trump, if Mexican), to keep up the myth of needed self-protection.
People object to oil trains which are exploding into their homes and towns and schools. What are we going to do about this short-sighted planning? How are we going to get our economy to use life-supporting energy from the wind, sun, geothermal, tidal, magnetic, whatever is next dreamed of that has no destructive side-effects? If the noise of these people’s objection gets loud enough accompanied by comparable voting, perhaps the “planners” will hear them.
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