We haven’t heard much lately about the hurricane damage in Puerto Rico. Maybe by the time Hurricane Maria devastated the island, we were bored with hurricane coverage.
After all, we had already followed Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. Time to switch to more cheerful stuff, perhaps the latest breakup of a celebrity couple or our Facebook accounts of what we ate for lunch.
Bill McKibben, writing in Sojourners (‘Earth’s New Vulnerabilities,” December, 2017), recounts some of the devastation in Puerto Rico we may not have noticed. “Gone were airports and roads. Eighty percent of the island’s crops were destroyed . . . Almost all the cell towers. . . . Electricity was suddenly a thing of the past . . . Modernity retreats.”
To be sure, the aftermath of all three major U.S. hurricanes, not to mention the wildfires in California, strain our resources.
McKibben draws a deeper lesson. “We’re starting to realize how unbuffered the whole planet is . . . everywhere new vulnerabilities emerge almost daily.”
He calls on us to “staunch the flow of carbon into the atmosphere. Maria is what happens with 1 degree Celsius of global warming. We’re currently on a path for an increase of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius. That would be enough to join the whole planet in a community of collapse.”
Anybody for bringing back those forbidden words “climate change”?