To now, the images we associate with global warming have been melting glaciers cracking off into the Antarctic and desperate polar bears floating upon disintegrating rafts of ice.
They are undoubtedly powerful images, but they are hardly relatable to the average American. In my experience, most people don't become alarmed until the danger is on their doorstep. But as the numbers of storms increase across America, and the intensity of storms increase, are the new symbols of global warming about to become Oklahoma schools reduced to shrapnel and folks on the northeastern shore abandoning their flooded homes?
According to scientists, the effects of global warming will be seen in three vital areas: hotter weather, fiercer storms and increased rainfall. Seems to me that pattern has already been established. So, what happens if the pattern intensifies?
The combination of melting ice and increased rainfall means a rise in sea levels. A rise in sea levels means people living on coastlines are at risk of storm swells demolishing their homes or the gradual and permanent flooding of low-lying areas. About 800,000 New Yorkers are said to live in flood zones, which is why Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering dropping $20 billion on the construction of storm-proof flood walls.
Meanwhile, the tornado barrage that has struck Oklahoma this spring has politicians wrestling over the requirement of storm cellars for schools statewide. And the reasons for such drastic measures and high construction costs isn't over what has happened to Oklahoma and New Jersey and New York recently, it's over what scientists are claiming will happen. A current IEA report suggests that, at our current rate, by 2020 the world's weather could turn apocalyptic.
Forget Iran, forget gun violence, forget video games, the weather could become our greatest enemy goinig forward. And how exactly does one prepare for war against Mother Nature? We certainly aren't prepared as of now.
According to the IEA, our previous efforts to create alternate energy sources have failed. Solar power, nuclear power, wind power, these costly attempts have all gone belly up and we are essentially at ground zero. Yes, the U.S. has lowered carbon emissions by 3.8 percent, but China's carbon emissions have grown by 3.8 percent. Again, ground zero.
I don't know if global warming was man-made, or if man can do anything to stem the dismal tide. What is unequivocal though is that global warming is real. The increased number of storms on our planet in recent years is real. The intensity of the storms that continue to strike this world are not products of political or media fabrication.
As I type this piece, 10 American states are bracing for something called a "derecho:" 75 to 100 mph winds that arrive like a dry hurricane. The Midwest, you know the heartland, has experienced such poor weather this spring -- freezing temps as late as May, record rainfall, tornadoes, you name it they've dealth with it -- that crops still haven't been planted. We're talking mid-June here!
I have no answers, only a growing concern and I don't mean to worry anyone unnecessarily. That wasn't the point of this piece. I simply can't help but wonder: Is there enough concrete to build the necessary defenses against nature?
I wonder if the pterodactyl ever saw it coming?