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Watching the Hurricane’s Path


Watching the Hurricane’s Path

Richard Heinberg

It’s an eerie experience. You’ve just heard that another hurricane has formed in the Atlantic, and that it’s headed toward land. You search for NOAA’s National Hurricane Center website so you can see the forecast path for the storm. You’re horrified at the implications, and you bookmark the site. You check in every few hours to see forecast updates. You know in general terms what’s coming—devastation for the lives of thousands, maybe millions of people.


Heinberg is great, much admiration for his steady work.

But he makes it too much about individual consciousness and responsibility for change, and not enough about societal institutions and economic interests that too strongly influence humanity’s overall direction.

Yes we all need to “listen to the weatherman” and “move to higher ground,” metaphorically, in recognition of ecological destabilization. Taking personal action and taking personal responsibility are an important power that we can exercise.

But we also need to look at who has hands on levers of power, and how we can get organized to take those hands off those levers so major decisions are made in the interests of all, and not unduly influenced by narrow economic / military interests.


Hurricane Irma demonstrates the magic of the free market when airlines raise ticket prices as much as tenfold to flee Florida. Your money or your life, is a motto in this case that best describes free market principles of supply and demand and Disaster Capitalism.


While this summer’s two major hurricanes (so far) will undoubtedly convince many to move to higher ground – some because their homes on lower ground no longer exist – there will still be those who move back onto the flood plain.  It’s almost understandable in Texas, where there are few, if any, zoning laws.  But even out here in highly regulated Southern California I have seen families defy the law and build illegally in the bottomland, and then expect Government to bail them out when their fancy homes are washed away in a twenty-five or fifty-year flood.   To Err IS Human, after all.     OTOH, You Can’t Fool Mother Nature!