The American Red Cross and other national relief groups are seeking relief and additional help to combat the recent unprecedented outbreak of tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires. The magnitude of these recent events are stretching the resources of the American Red Cross, who has spent 41 million alone so far in response to the recent seven week disaster onslaught, while only raising 33.6 million dollars so far, and those numbers were taken prior to this weeks latest outbreaks. Red Cross officials have confirmed to us that since March 31, 2011, the sheer number of major natural disasters is truly unique for such a short time span. During this period, the Red Cross has opened 29 different relief operations in 22 different states, with 9,200 disaster responders having been deployed, and serving more than 2.1 million meals and snacks, and opened more than 200 shelters.
We still haven’t reached June yet, and Hurricane season is not yet here, so what can we expect for the near future? The top meteorologists in the nation and NOAA warn that the 2011 Hurricane Season will be serious and above average, with as many as 10 hurricanes reaching category 3 or more. They do not expect it to be as severe as 2010 was, which wound up being the third most active on record. Although 2010 was very active, the U.S. did not experience any significant damage from major hurricanes , however we cannot count on having the same string of luck this year, stated Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. This week is also national Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs from May 22 – 28. FEMA urges residents of hurricane prone areas to prepare by watching a set of new video and audio announcements featuring NOAA hurricane experts.
While the onslaught of storms continues, our fearless leaders, particularly the House Republicans are attempting to make our government completely deny any such thing as climate change science and that it doesn’t exist. Daniel Lashof, who is the Director of the Climate Center at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) claims that the GOP refusal to acknowledge climate science reflected the Republicans “substituting ideology for science” in the face of political interests. He went on to say that “they started with a conclusion – which is they don’t want to limit carbon pollution – and then worked backwards and put themselves in a position where they had to deny science,” and adding to that he thought the tendency to “ignore the facts and substitute politics” was “disturbing.” A White House spokesperson went on record slamming the Senate GOP’s efforts, pointing out that the amendment from the Senate Republicans “rolls back the Clean Air Act and harms Americans’ health by taking away our ability to decrease air pollution. Instead of holding big polluters accountable, this amendment overrules public health experts and scientists. Finally, at a time when America’s families are struggling with the cost of gasoline, the amendment would undercut fuel efficiency standards that will save Americans money at the pump while also decreasing our reliance on foreign oil.”
Another thing to point out is that climate change is getting expensive for the insurance industry, and governments as well. Insurance executives state that in the 1980’s, economic losses from natural disasters averaged roughly 25 billion per year. In the past decade, those costs have risen to 130 billion annually. Some of this has to do with population and demographics, as well as adjusted inflation, but some of it is also from an increase in the amount of extreme weather we are now getting. We can also expect these costs to continue to rise, as the weather continues to increase in intensity. Now how are the Republicans and there energy industry friends going to pay for that? Sooner or later we will find ourselves suing the big energy companies that continue to wreak havoc on our atmosphere, and ultimately the weather, just as we finally did with big tobacco companies not too long ago.
We must not let the Senate Republicans, nor big energy companies get away with continuing down this path to destruction. Our future depends on our actions right now, not 10 or 20 years from now. We cannot put off any longer what we should have done 30 years ago, and that is put an end to our self destructive ways, and develop new cleaner energy sources and use them, not just talk the talk, but walk the walk, so to speak. Do not let them get away with the further destruction of our planet. To help the movement and learn more about what you can do today, visit 350.org and become part of the solution! Make your voices heard loud and clear! Climate change is something we all need to be concerned about, and together we can make a difference! Peace my friends and God Speed!