Climate change conversation imperative post Hurricane Harvey destruction

With hurricanes hurdling toward the coast with unbelievable speed, there has never been a better time to talk about climate change. We have a moral obligation to acknowledge our planet’s rapidly increasing temperature and to discuss the serious effects—even if our government refuses to act on the issue.

This summer was tropical storm season for the southeastern United States; with warm water and rising air, cyclones form, which causes hurricanes to occur. Climate change greatly affects how hurricanes develop, because the warmer the water is, the more energy is created for the hurricane. So, the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold, thus increasing the rain levels.

Over 70 people lost their lives due to the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Harvey as of Sept. 6, according to Time Magazine. Seventy deaths are considered a surprisingly small death toll for these types of storms, especially compared to storms like Katrina in 2005. 

These death tolls, nevertheless, are not only alarming—they also highlight the ever-increasing damage caused by natural disasters.

In the media, Harvey has been coined a “once in a lifetime storm” or the “kind of storm you only see every 500 years,” and yet, there’s another right behind it. Clearly, these storms are becoming more powerful and more frequent.

“Atlantic tropical cyclones are getting stronger on average, with a 30-year trend that has been related to an increase in ocean temperatures over the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere,” according to researchers James Elsner, James Kossin and Thomas Jagger.

This extremely alarming trend can be attributed to rising temperatures from climate change.

Climate scientists have been predicting events like Harvey for years, but the average American hasn’t heard much about them. The U.S. government continually avoids words like “climate change” to avoid “politicizing” the human tragedies produced by these natural disasters. 

The desire to abandon politics and to instead focus on the people affected is understandable, but refusing to acknowledge the role of climate change in natural disasters is unacceptable. Reporters and government officials are making climate change a political entity, when in fact it is an issue of science. Many individuals are disregarding facts and are choosing to ignore research that could prevent, predict and soften the blow of future natural disasters.

Now that President Donald Trump and his administration are refusing to acknowledge climate change, discussions about it are more crucial than ever. It is imperative to actively speak up during these devastating storms, before the focus is once again shifted toward a typo Trump decides to tweet or the next massive group of people he chooses to personally attack. 

“We are already seeing Trump using the cover of Harvey to push through the hugely controversial pardoning of Joe Arpaio,” The Intercept said. “Harvey didn’t come out of the blue. Now is the time to talk about climate change.”

It is only a matter of time before our government pushes Harvey and the next group of massive storms further under the rug to divert the U.S.’s thoughts to other events. 

The time to talk about climate change is now. Storms like Harvey have affected so many lives and will continue to do so until we have the necessary discussions and acknowledge the role of climate change in natural disasters. 

Regardless of political beliefs, we must recognize how Harvey grew into its monstrous form so quickly and demand that those holding higher office recognize it as well.