In Hurricane Season, Drowning In a Sea of Ignorance

“You can stand under my umbrella…”

Thanks a lot, Rhianna, but when the next superstorm slams New York, it’s not going to do us a bit of good. And there’s no doubt it will hit__the only question is when.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated New York metropolitan area shorelines, homes and businesses. Coastlines were evacuated, service on the NY transit lines was suspended for days, and downtown Manhattan looked like Venice.

If we make it through October, we’re probably safe for 2018. Phew! But the truth is we’re living on borrowed time. Hey, don’t kill the messenger.

In the Carolinas and Florida, “kill the messenger” might as well be the states’ motto. Recently pounded by Hurricane Florence, North Carolina allowed extensive development along its vulnerable coast, ignoring the threat posed by steadily rising sea levels. Meanwhile Florida Governor Rick Scott banned employees of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection from using the words “global warming” and “climate change.”

The federal government isn’t much better. Climate change skeptic Scott Pruitt, who headed up the Environmental Protection Agency until resigning this summer, refused to discuss global warming and its effects (“Now is not the time!”) after Hurricane Irma blasted into Florida last year. Soon after, by strange coincidence, Pruitt spent $43,000 of government money to build a soundproof booth for his office (“I can’t hear you!”).

A number of tropical systems are currently forming off the Atlantic. Will these systems grow stronger, hit land and cause major damage? Stone age state officials are hoping if they cover their eyes, the storm gods will spare them.

Across the nation, politicians are proposing and enacting brutal cuts to state and national environmental agencies. Solutions are impossible where climate science is politicized, underfunded and ridiculed.

With such ignorant “leadership,” is it any wonder that global warming, which puts more water vapor into the atmosphere to produce heavier downpours and provides more energy for increasingly destructive storms, is scoffed at by so many Americans?

Meanwhile, New York is spending millions fortifying our shorelines and building barriers to prevent the next Sandy from destroying homes and flooding our subway and rail lines. Will it work?

Unfortunately, we’ll find out soon enough.

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