The hurricane trilogy and its relation to climate change

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Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas on August 25th and ended on September 2nd, causing thousands of dollars in property damage. The area remains flooded and the death toll for the storm is still being determined, but the estimated mark is currently 84 people.

“At least nine trillion gallons of water have fallen on Texas, with an additional five to 10 trillion gallons to come over the week — up to 50 inches of rain, meaning some areas will get a year’s worth of rain in a week,” said Amy Souers Kober, a National Communications Director of American Rivers.

Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean Islands on September 6th in Antigua and Barbuda, and ended September 8th in Cuba. Irma was a Category 5 storm, “leaving at least 36 people dead in its wake before moving on to Florida,” wrote Eliza Mackintosh and Donie O’Sullivan on the CNN news website.

Hurricane Katia hit the east coast of Mexico on Saturday the 9th and killed two people. However, “The hurricane quickly lost strength after hitting land and was downgraded to a tropical storm,” said Kate Linthicum, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

“Harvey and Irma have caused as much as $200 billion in damage in the United States and killed dozens from Houston to Havana,” said Tim Dickinson, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone.

These losses are enormous and it will only get worse when Hurricane Jose comes along. The Associated Press at Fox News said, “Jose has weakened to a Category 1 storm, but it is expected to remain at hurricane intensity over the southwest Atlantic and could potentially strengthen as it steers through a strange loop that may bring it toward the Bahamas and East Coast, according to forecasters.”Print_Copy_Issue_2-041

Climate change is an underlying cause of weather disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Katia. One of the major downsides to high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are extreme weather disasters. With more carbon emissions in the atmosphere the climate is off balance, which can cause hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. When the ocean is warmer it can help fuel a hurricane or storm as it moves along.

“Climate change amplifies storms,” said Kober. However, it doesn’t necessarily cause them. Climate change still must be looked at as a very serious matter that not only affects our country, but those all over the world.

Environmentalists are having trouble finding a balance between societal needs and the safety of the planet. Yet despite the accumulation of more and more evidence of climate change, businesses carry on producing fossil fuels and carbon emissions to give humans electricity and technology.

Our society is willing to sacrifice the environment in favor of vehicles for faster transportation, trees for furniture and other products, and agriculture.

Vehicles, like cars and trains, give humans a means of transportation so that the flow of technology, ideas, and material goods can reach distant places to benefit the economy. Despite trains being one of the first major pollutants since the Industrial Revolution, trains have benefited the people in many different ways, including employment, which also accounts for economic growth.

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Trees are also one of the most naturally used resources in the U.S. Although logging is frowned upon by environmentalists, one can’t help but understand how beneficial trees are to us even after being cut down and reused for things like furniture and books.

The logging industry also creates lots of jobs, including the manufacturing of paper, cereal boxes, dyes, and medicines. Trees are so beneficial to humans in their everyday lives that logging will continue to happen at a very fast rate no matter how bad climate change becomes. The best anyone can do is remember to recycle their personal items when they are finished with them.

In addition, agriculture is one of the top ten leading causes of climate change, although it isn’t emphasized as greatly. According to climate change advocates, consuming less meat, particularly beef, helps lower carbon emissions in the long-run.

World Wildlife Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental conservation through science states that, “agricultural practices are responsible for around 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions…Farming practices, livestock, and clearing of land for agriculture are significant contributors to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

Climate change is a real problem on our doorstep, which many people choose to ignore. People all over the world need to realize that saving the Earth is important, even if it demands some sacrifice.

“If this isn’t climate change,” Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said as Irma bore down on Florida, “I don’t know what is.”

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