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Houston, We Have a Climate Problem


Houston, We Have a Climate Problem

Andy Rowell

Texas has never seen rain like it. Some forty to sixty inches of rain in some places. Over 9 trillion gallons of water or maybe even more. There has been so much rain that the National Weather Service had to add extra colours to its rainfall map.


This already IS the new normal.

So while we’re broaching formerly “unspeakable” topics, how about examining the insanity of rebuilding along the coasts?

How about acknowledging that the volatility currently present in our climate necessitates admitting that we as a species have been fighting the Law (of Nature), and that the Law has won? That we, the human species, cannot “fix” what we’ve broken? That we’d best humble ourselves and pray we’re offered a plea bargain?

But no, that would be too scary. Let’s just keep playing ostrich, and hope this very inconvenient Truth will just go away…


After Katrina I wrote a piece and submitted it to CD, which I heard nothing from, and so I posted it as a comment. I proposed that New Orleans should be abandoned, left to the Gulf and the many millennia workings of Old Man River. I was roundly denounced here by many “progressives” as being a racist. To be sure there was much of what Naomi Klein calls disaster capitalism taking place in that aftermath and communities of color were being preyed upon. I was lumped in with that predatory lot, when my only intention was to show that New Orleans COULD NOT be protected from the increasing effects of climate change.

Rather than face the truth about rising seas, and increased rainfall events, and in a fit of falsely placed NATIONAL PRIDE it would be rebuilt; massive sums of national treasure would be poured in to clean up, rebuild, and install more pumps, build higher levies, etc. All for naught. New Orleans is sinking as a result of human activities, the seas continue to rise, and rain events become more intense and longer-lived. At some point, probably not long in the offing, NO will be drowned again, many people will lose everything, many their very lives. And many again will say “Who Knew?”

It wouldn’t necessarily take a Katrina-sized hurricane to destroy NO. A prolonged and intense rain event in the upstream basin of the Mississippi could do much the same thing, and the very same mechanism of global warming via climate change being the culprit. Intense rain events are overwhelming cities and towns all across the globe as drainage infrastructure that was designed for a cooler and drier environment no longer is adequate for the task. It is only a matter of time until a crippling storm event comes to your locale.

I don’t hold out any hope that the response to Harvey will be any more enlightened than the response to Katrina, and talk of climate change will be stifled quickly by the orange moron and his fossil-fueled cabinet. To be sure, the change of heart and mind that is necessary at this point in human history seems incomprehensible. We’re about to find out whether we truly are an intelligent species.


Building on the coast and crowding in thousands of gullible folk every day is nothing new here. Because here in Florida, the so-called “growth” boom is going full-tilt yet again. With Governor Rick (alien) Scott at the helm, mentioning Global Warming is in itself a no-no, and growth management was long ago thrown out, lock, stock, and barrel. Concrete rules this state, and our state bird is a construction crane. When, not if, a hurricane even 1/3 the size of Harvey takes aim at Tampa Bay, we are going to be wiped off the face of this globe. Houston was one of the biggest examples of “no Plan, No growth management, just pour on that asphalt and concrete. Growth is eternal, Growth is King!!”. And in part, that is why they are in such agony tonight.


Until we all, meaning each and every one of us, experience something catastrophic like this we’ll keep on seeing this same scenario play out more and more frequently. The only unknown is where and when the next one takes place. Because until the big dog craps on your front lawn, no problem with the big dog. However, after it happens…


Wow! I knew the Chinese were capable of incredible things just to put out a good hoax, but this is very cruel and it is just not funny anymore. Please stop it now this fake must be the biggest conspiracy EVER!

It couldn’t be that a huge batch of morons got themselves elected and didn’t make any plans for infrastructure repair, bad weather that was generally predicted to happen and failed to require reasonable safety factors to be built into the 4th largest city in the USA in case of disaster. I mean there are a pack of homophobic racist sexist isolationist fascists - HOW could they fail? Those are the categories to get the best and brightest - RIGHT?


With a president? in denial about climate change and members of Congress and the Senate in denial about climate change the leadership is missing. We have no choice but to assume leadership in every community. Our government has proved incapable of leadership in the past and in the present. The future is now in the hands of the people. People must take control. Leaders must lead in this effort. Weapons of destruction and armies have failed to secure peace. In fact they have made the world a more dangerous place. Building for the future will not require weapons of destruction. The future will depend on the people taking action against the status quo which has made terrible choices. Every person can do a little bit. Some will do more but together we shall prevail. The time is now to ensure our future.


Yeah but … lots see you commute to work without any fossil fuel.
… and yes, it’s all going to crash and burn when fossil fuel is gone … civilization that is
When all those Afghanistan minerals are all gone, just what do you think they’re going to make their car batteries out of then ???


Great Line!!!


What you say is essentially correct, but remember the “government” is simply the operating arm of a corporate oligarchy and that is the primary problem.


My mother lives in North Carolina, about 30-40 minutes from the beach. We went often when I was a child and adolescent and even back in the 70s and 80s I was struck by the fact that the older beach homes built in the 50s and earlier were pretty much a quarter of a mile away from the beach and up on stilts. Then right beyond the dunes, you’d see these newer beach palaces, not even on stilts. Our grandparents were smarter, and they didn’t have to deal with the weather we’re having now.


Sorry, but calling people who deny science about GLOBAL WARMING by by calling them "Climate Deniers is giving them too much credit as critical thinkers.

And as well, you are using Faux News Frank Luntz self created non-science diction every time you say “climate change” instead of “global warming” http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/04/28/fox_news_global_warming_versus_climate_change.html.

And if you do call it “climate change” you are not only doing Luntz bidding, you are also a “Global Warming Scientific Term Denier”.

Yes, the planet is slowly frying those who led the charge to global warming, and that is supposed to be a comfortable topic to talk about?

Hell NO! It is as scary f*^king shit as it gets, and we need to present it as such, instead of pussy-footing around it.

Because Bruce Willis is not coming to save the day, and neither is any savior or any god.

So let’s not call them “climate deniers”. But “Dumbfuck” is more truthful and fitting.


I have lived in Florida 45 years, and agree with what you say. Florida: Overdeveloped and Underplanned.


Iʻm cynical about the “climate change denier” people. No they are not idiots, just amoral capitalist scumbags. If they are card-carrying members of the 1% they know very well that climate change is real and happening now. The Koch bros know it. Trump knows it. They all know it.

What they see is not human misery but opportunities for profit. There is a boom in coastal development right now in my home town because those folks are creating attractive packages (condos, gated communities, business parks) to sell to the gullible. In another 10 to 20 years, that land is going to be flooded regularly with high tides, if not permanently under water.

What this country really needs is a revolution and Vietnamese-style reeducation camps.


Not as catching but I would like to suggest calling them “accomplices in ecocide”.


If the fourth largest city in the U.S. is a disaster area it is because unregulated capitalism built it. The whole metro area should be immediately put under public ownership and its industries forced to move to defensible sites, and the workers moved into moderate-cost, community owned housing in defensible areas with public transportation from home to work. It will be some years before oil-based industries an be replaced by renewable energy sources, so this is a transitional arrangement. Bring in some Dutch engineers to explain how to create areas defensible against sea and heavy rainfall. Private enterprise created this disaster and cannot rebuild in a safe way. Allen Barton, author of Communities in Disaster.


A phrase for consideration: “climate catastrophe.”


So well said. In a functioning democracy the people might likely decide to do just that type of thing. Capitalism requires, and our Constitution allows, never-ending consumption whatever the cost, dividing the population–through racism–into winners and losers, and redistributing the nation’s wealth to the top 1%.

With no clear vision for the future, not even a set of shared values defining what it is to be American (until some major storm hits and is forgotten), the slide down the slippery slope to complete system-fail continues, with impunity. What is unfolding in Houston is all about corporate rule, from generous campaign contributions and the lax regulatory bodies charged to protect the public to Exxon and other giant multi-nationals over what they knew and when, about global warming and the potentiality for climate catastrophe.


Thank you! And too sadly, it’s oh so true…


Amen brother. I was born here 55+ years ago, and it’s been sickening to see what’s become of this beloved state…