Why We Should Stop Ignoring Climate Change

The predicted track of Hurricane Maria. Photo Courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Jenna Gibson

Opinions Editor

When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, I was heartbroken. I have family and friends who are from the area, and seeing all that water pour into Texas made me upset, especially because I knew I couldn’t personally do anything about it. Looking at Facebook and Twitter’s pictures of the devastation, I simply couldn’t believe it; I was speechless. What made me even more speechless, however, was the video I saw from Trump making a speech in Texas regarding the aftermath of Harvey, when he visited Texas on August 29 after the most powerful parts of the hurricane had occurred.

Throughout the speech, it seems that Trump was simply reading from a script. Although the words he said sounded reassuring and helpful, Trump was not empathetic at all. He just seemed so indifferent to the whole situation, like he was simply just saying what he was forced to say, and that was it.

Then, Hurricane Irma hit, devastating many Caribbean islands in the Atlantic as well as parts of Florida. Starting off as a Category 5 hurricane and one of the worst storms in Florida in almost ten years, Irma destroyed many parts of Florida. Still in turmoil from Harvey, I wasn’t ready for another natural disaster, and I’m going to assume that the rest of the country wasn’t either.

Now, another storm, Hurricane Maria, is said to be making its way through the Atlantic, just like Irma did. With all these storms in mind, all I can keep thinking is one thing: how does our President still not believe in climate change? NASA  has provided examples of melting polar ice caps and other effects of climate change on their website. A specific article that stuck out to me from NASA showed the melting sea ice from 1979 to 2016.

Although I should be used to it by now, it still surprises me every time I read an article or see news clips about Trump ignoring global warming, like when he tweeted that climate change was a hoax. As levels of  and other destructive human actions, climate change has been a constant issue. However, some people—GOP included—still  realize that climate change is a real issue that people need to be worried about. Grist.org sums it up nicely: “These storms weren’t natural. A warmer, more violent atmosphere—heated up by our collective desire to ignore the fact that we live on a planet where such devastation is possible—juiced Harvey and Irma’s destruction. Lurking behind the horrific scenes of water rising above rooftops along swollen Texas bayous and palm trees snapping in front of battered beachfront condos is this stark reality: Climate change doesn’t ’cause’ disasters like this, but it most certainly is making them worse.”

Even though taking note of climate change can’t solve all our problems, Trump ignoring climate change at all costs makes the situation even worse. On September 14, CNN reported that Trump literally dodged a question concerning climate change in an interview, and instead gave a completely irrelevant answer: “We’ve had bigger storms than this.” This blatant disregard for a real issue is distressing to me, to say the least.

If Trump continues to ignore what is literally right in front of his eyes, the intensity of these tropical storms will get much, much worse. I’m tired of waking up to hear even more bad news about a new storm that is approaching, or another catastrophic natural disaster that has occurred. It’s time that Trump realizes that if he doesn’t do something about global warming and climate change, disasters like Irma and Harvey could start to become a common occurrence, as we’re already seeing with the news of Hurricane Maria. Global warming is going to keep happening, whether leaders acknowledge it or not.

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