By Alexis van Dijk
It’s time. It’s time to take things at face value. Our world is changing. Yes, change is good, change is normal – but not at this rate.
We just went through a devastating hurricane. A Superstorm. In Manhattan! In November! People died. Others lost their homes; some were lucky to only lose power for a while; several are shaking their heads at the thought of the billions of dollars of damage Sandy has caused in this already struggling economy.
How can we not see…this is not normal.
Storms are natural, but scientists and climatologists everywhere agree that this storm would never have been as devastating if it was not for global warming.
Let’s think about this. Warmer temperatures means warmer waters, and warmer ocean waters give fuel and energy to hurricanes, making them stronger, more powerful, and more frequent.
Andrew Revkin, The New York Times writer who honored us with his presence at Marymount Manhattan College last Spring Semester when he gave his lecture, “9 Billion People + 1 Planet = ?” posted on his blog “Dot.Earth,” “Many parts of the planet…are subject to extreme storms, super droughts, or other climate-related disruptions with or without a push from greenhouse gases. Greenhouse heating will worsen some extremes and is almost assuredly contributing to some (but not all) now.”
Revkin quoted InDepthNews reporter Julio Godoy on one of his posts whom reinforced this idea by adding, “Sandy would have happened without global warming — but it became that Frankenstorm only because anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide have helped to warm up oceans. By the same token, average global temperatures have increased, making the atmosphere more humid, adding force to an otherwise ‘normal’ storm,” said Godoy.
It’s time for a change. Regardless of whether or not you refuse to acknowledge that temperatures are rising, we need to realize that we are destroying ecosystems, we are clear cutting forests, we are polluting our waters, our air, and therefore, ourselves.
Our world is so beautiful; our planet has so much to offer; there is so much to see. Close your eyes, and think for one second of a place you dream of seeing. What if it was gone? What would happen to all our dreams of adventures? Where would we live if our city was inhabitable? Are we able to endure routine natural disasters?
It seems far-fetched, but so was a super storm flooding out our subway system.
A shift must take place. As citizens, we need to be more wary of our energy use, because if we don’t take small steps to consume less, the switch to renewable energies will be harder, but it needs to happen.
An old Native American proverb once said, “Only when the last tree has been cut, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize that money cannot be eaten.”
It’s time to prove this wrong because we know better. We can prevent future catastrophes, because there are no small actions when we are 7 billion strong to do them.