There are Texans, Floridians and others on campus whose homes recently were affected by hurricanes, droughts and other natural disasters. That’s because, of the 13 tropical storms named in 2017, seven have turned into hurricanes, three of which were above a Category 3.
Certainly, there have always been raging storms in the Atlantic. We all remember Katrina and how it raged through the southern states, leaving an imprint on all of us. This generation’s Katrina is Harvey. Harvey was stronger, larger and more costly than Katrina. Irma was not as bad, but it was still devastating to Floridians and Puerto Ricans. And, as if Puerto Rico wasn’t suffering enough, they got hit with Maria shortly afterward.
California also is under attack from Mother Nature with what’s called the “2017 California Wildfires.” Almost 8,000 wildfires have burned more than a million acres of land. The fires, which have been fought courageously, are dying down, but are known as the worst wildfire breakouts in American history.
About 260 people lost their lives due to these tragedies, not to mention others who were affected by other natural disasters around the world.
We have to analyze what nature is telling us. She’s not doing well. Whether you believe in climate change or global warming, one thing is for certain-2017 is a landmark year for natural disasters and lost lives. None of these disasters are preventable, but they are caused.
Atmospheric conditions in 2017 are a perfect breeding ground for hurricanes, according to National Geographic. Global air temperature is warming, droughts are occurring and sea temperatures are rising. This makes it easier for forest fires to start and for hurricanes to speed up.
While there has been a drought of hurricanes since Katrina, hurricane requirements have weakened in current years, according to National Geographic. In other words, a storm doesn’t have to be as serious for it to be labeled as a hurricane. But, this drought seemed to be a calm before the yearlong storm of the 2017 storm season.
I’m not a global warming denier. I also cannot factually conclude that long-term changing temperature conditions are causing this horrific year of natural disasters. What I can factually conclude is that these hurricanes and fires have had the perfect conditions to breed in, and we must do something to stop that.
It’s up to us as students to come to terms with these facts. It’s time for us to look at ways to protect our environment, rather than harm it.
Countries around the globe are recognizing this threat, and, while action is slow, there have been attempts to neutralize it. Our own country should look for avenues to start taking these steps as well before it is too late.