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Harvey Should Be The Turning Point in Fighting Climate Change

Harvey Should Be The Turning Point in Fighting Climate Change

Vernon Loeb

I’ve covered the news in Houston for 3½ years and have already seen two devastating floods and now what is being described as a one-in-800-years flood brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

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“It’s not hard to wonder whether this vast expanse of what was once coastal plain was really the best place to build a major city.”

It seems pretty obvious that this not the best place to build a major city or even a good place. In fact, it is a bad place. It was only 16 years ago that Tropical Storm Allison dumped about 35 inches of rain on Houston, caused $5 billion in damages, and killed more than 20 people. As long as Houston is where it is these tragic events will happen again and again. All it takes is a tropical storm that stalls in the Houston area. These storms just sit there circulating, picking up moisture from the warm Gulf of Mexico and dumping it as rain on the land. It was much smarter to build a major city where Dallas is located.



These type of storms are very tricky for the media to mention climate change. After all, Amelia dropped 48 inches of rain on Texas in the 1970s. So what is the media supposed to conclude? That because of climate change this storm dumped an additional three inches of rain. Nobody can quantify how climate change made this storm worse except maybe to say that sea level in the Gulf has increased by so many inches so the storm surge was that much higher. This hit land as a category 4 storm. There have certainly been stronger storms in the Gulf in past years. The turning point should have been the Rio Conference almost 30 years ago. That was supposed to bring the nations together to deal with this problem. We are still waiting for that to happen. Maybe the Paris climate agreement will do it but also it could be too late given where we are now and all the obstacles (e.g., Republican Party). that remain.

To my mind “the turning point” should have been the publication of Silent Spring, 55 years ago, which proved that human engineering and technology and economy were not only plainly capable of, but plainly were, disrupting the ecology of the Earth. That “wake-up call” should have led our “leaders” to do a whole-system reassessment of the power and practices of humans to undermine the ecological basis of life and civilization. But the power-mad looting class would have to be disempowered! So that looting class lit out on a decades-long, trillion-dollar propaganda campaign to discredit science itself, and corrupt the public mind.


MSM will not mention it because it scares off sponsors. That said, I was amazed that Morning Joe this AM actually mentioned Houston’s lack of zoning and whether large cities should be located in such places. New Orleans is actually in a worse spot sitting in filled wetlands with much of the city below sea level or even the level of the Mississippi River.

So many places below sea level—think about it???What have humans done to the Earth----its not just climate change—the seas and water ways being poisoned and depleted, all the crap into the air,and all the chemicals into the land and our bodies----and we call this progress??? Think of what the environment was like just two hundred years ago. I see people working two or three jobs to keep ahead–so they work and sleep and get some food at the fast food place----this is insane. But don’t worry because the Earth will survive.

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