There is only so much the human mind can take, only so much stress, pushing and pounding before decision making becomes impossible. Take a hurricane watch that turns into a warning, compounded by expert predictions terrifying normal people into fight or flight mode. That together with the non experts telling everyone they are doomed if they stay or wimps if they leave, soon enough you will have thousands of people wandering around doing impersonations of headless chickens.
Each and every one of us presumes and even boasts that they are prepared, in charge and fully equipped to handle any emergency. But some of us lie, we lie to ourselves maybe unwittingly, we lie to those around us by trying to bring calm to an escalating situation, we put on a show of being totally ready for whatever is thrown our way. Some of us believe the hype, “your house is safe”, “don’t head North, there are people stuck by the side of the road”, “there are no hotels left between here and Alaska”, “your house will be looted if you’re not there to defend it”or “you have to leave everyone else is already headed North”. The list is endless, the scaremongering, although well meant is coming from others just like you and me, people who think they know, but in fact know absolutely nothing.
How could you, a storm of this magnitude has not hit this town for over 60 years. Mother Nature has her own agenda, be it affected by man or not, this Earth of ours is rolling and no matter where people live, no matter what technology they think they have that will protect them, the fact is there is no escaping the wrath of the weather if it is hell bent on destruction.
Whatever your decision was during the hurricane, wherever you spent your terrified days watching the mayhem from, if your home is here in Florida then here is where you have to pick up the threads and carry on with life. For some, their homes and lives will be changed forever, if you started this journey with very little, if you lived in a rental or only had a temporary job, if you lived from paycheck to paycheck unless you can sustain yourself without those things, then for some, there is very little worth returning to Florida for.
We were lucky, the day we returned, I felt relief, relief as we turned into our driveway that our home was still standing. I had confidence that the great wheels of power would turn and our lives would get back to normal within a very short period of time.
Now over one week later, still without power, reliable cell phone service and watching the water rise in some parts of town causing dangerous health hazards and back ups, I am even more acutely aware of how insignificant we are as individuals, how unless we work together we will never have an impact.
For hundreds of years we have kept records, professors study our world and everything in it. We hear on the news that a species has become extinct, somewhere in Outer Mongolia a specific frog ceases to exist. Very infrequently we hear of a new discovery, an animal that escaped our attention for thousands of years, hidden away suddenly comes to light, but that is rare. For the most part species die.
Climate change is a touchy subject at best, there are few people on the fence, but on either side most vehemently defend their beliefs, it either exists, or it doesn’t exist. I for one believe it to be true, every action we have taken since the industrial revolution, has had an impact and things have started to go downhill. We live in a compact area, the earth is surrounded by atmosphere, it will never change or get larger, the demands we put on it to exist will grow simply because the human race is continually growing. Imagine being in a garage with a car, starting the motor, how long would you last? Carbon dioxide is a bi product of almost every machine on earth, from cars to people, it is produced out into the atmosphere and has to go somewhere, a balance has to be maintained. Think of our world surrounded by it’s atmospheric layer, sooner or later it’s going to get full. How long would you live, what would happen in the garage if you didn’t walk out. The same will happen to the earth. Unless we regulate our atmosphere, eventually things will go terribly wrong.
No I can not say for certain that the series of strong hurricanes we have just experienced, two major hurricanes in the same year, such as we have never seen since records began, are caused by climate change. But at the same time I can’t say they are normal either.
Every day the human race increases at a phenomenal rate, by the time people on the side of the fence against climate change have been proven wrong, it could already be too late.
Unfortunately just like before Harvey and Irma struck Texas and Florida, climate change is causing the same headless chicken reaction, no one knows what to do, people defend what they believe, some are wrong, some will be proven right. But no matter what your beliefs, surely taking precautions and working together on the path of survival is in the best interests of everyone on the planet.
Just as in the face of a hurricane it is best to take precautions, sitting back and keeping your fingers crossed is not a plan, ignoring it and believing that everyone is wrong and it’s never going to happen, is not a plan. Planning for the future making decisions based on a worst case scenario ensures that all your bases are covered, if climate change is not real then what have we to lose, nothing, we are just being prudent, but if climate change is a very real threat as so many eminent scientists believe, then being prepared is just basic common sense.
There is a spirit here in Naples today I have not seen before. People are talking to each other offering help, working together to restore our wonderful town, there is a sense of relief, we survived, we pulled through and everything eventually will return to normal. I dearly hope that climate change is not real, but just in case it is, we should prepare, just as we should be ready and have a plan for hurricanes. Whatever you believe about climate change, It can’t hurt to be prepared can it?