Air. Fire. Water. Earth. Our four elements. Since the beginning of the summer this year, 2017, these elements have driven home the message of climate change.
Air and water, let’s start there, with wind and flooding embodied in Hurricane Harvey, a cat 4 storm that slammed into Texas and made a loop back to Houston, where it dropped a total of 52 inches of rain.
Shortly afterward came Hurricane Irma, definitely an air event, with sustained winds of 185 mph for a record 36 hours. Irma hit Cuba with 155 mph winds, was supposed to hit the east coast of Florida, but stayed longer than expected over the northern coast of Cuba and made that turn later, sending it up Florida’s west coast. Eventually, it turned inland and struck Orlando as a cat 2 storm as well. The entire state of Florida was placed under a hurricane warning, prompting the largest evacuation in that state’s history.
Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Maria, another cat 5 storm, devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Mexico City was struck by a 7.1 quake on September 19 – an earth event, for sure. And now, we have a fire event in northern California, where 22 wildfires are burning out of control.
“By Wednesday morning, at least 3,500 homes and businesses had been destroyed and nearly 170,000 acres burned, according to Daniel Berlant of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.” (Huffington Post)
So what does the Trump administration do with all this climate change evidence? On October 10, Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA and a climate change denier, released a proposal to eliminate the Clean Power Plan – “a set of Obama-era regulations aimed at slashing emissions from coal-fired power plants and boosting renewable energy production ― had yet to go into effect, after being temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court since February 2016.” This leaves the U.S. without any policy that addresses climate change.
The synchronicity, a sad trickster, is that Pruitt announced this in Hazard, Kentucky.