Nature is serving deadly notices to humans recently. Fire, earth, wind, and water are running amok.
In the Americas, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and western wildfires have got the most attention. Less-covered recent disasters include South Asia floods, a Mexico earthquake, and a mudslide in Sierra Leone.
Are these disasters indicators of climate change? Or are they normal variations of weather? Of course, this is a subject of debate.
Nevertheless, if you believe in scientific facts, nature is rebelling against human efforts to run rough-shod over it. Since 1970, natural disasters have nearly “quadrupled.” In the same period, there is a clear trend of increasing temperatures.
Profits are partly responsible for the increase in temperatures. Regulations against corporations could help.
Unfortunately, unchecked capitalism is rampant in our culture. The eclipse of science under President Donald Trump is just a recent indicator of profits subjugating nature.
Naomi Klein, in a detailed account of wildfires in British Columbia’s forests, explains how profits have sabotaged nature.
Normally, fires in forests occur naturally. These fires consume flammable material. Further, they create conditions for new growth.
However, humans try to control even small fires, out of fear that it would impact trees for logging and threaten human inhabitation. This increases the danger of large-scale fires.
Human action is also creating ripe conditions for earthquakes. For example, scientists have linked increased oil and gas production in Oklahoma and Texas to both the number and intensity of earthquakes.
In both these cases, our greed for material goods is enhancing nature’s restless cycles, above and below earth.
Dealing with the Wrath of Nature
Even without climate change, nature has periodically thrown fits. Policy backed by good science can try to control nature’s wrath.
In controlling nature, richer countries obviously have an advantage in terms of education and policy teams.
Still, some policy decisions make no sense. For example, Houston has had unchecked growth in flood-prone areas. This means the city is unable to absorb the massive amounts of water from disasters like Harvey. Wetlands shrinkage from unchecked development in South Florida also has the same effect.
You do not need a science degree to see that nature can absorb a lot more water than concrete. Scientists do know that hotter water can lead to more powerful storms with a lot more rain.
Sadly, many Republicans have blinkers on when it comes to scientific facts. Naturally, the politicians they elect often ignore nature’s warnings.
Ignoring the Warnings of Nature
Senator Jim Inhofe is another powerful Republican critic of climate change. He is now the Senate Environment Committee chair. His House counterpart introduced a bill last week to defund important climate research.
Republicans who control government in hurricane-prone areas like Florida and Texas also ignore science. Rick Scott, the Republican governor of Florida, banned the use of the term climate change. Texas Republican governor Greg Abbot supported the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Perhaps the latest warnings from nature will impress these politicians. For the sake of their populations, I hope so.