Hurricane Sandy: Environmental Policy Tipping Point?

In the past few weeks we have followed the trail leading up to the U.S elections, from campaigning to the debates and every other thing that accompanies it. The two rivals, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, have gone head to head arguing extensively on economic and social issues ranging from; unemployment, taxes,  gay rights, gun laws, foreign policy among others. In particular the economic issues have taken center stage given the dire state of the American economy. The economic situation has become so significant that it has led to the coining of a new phrase “Fiscal Cliff”, which summarizes the predicted consequences of the lack of fiscal discipline on the part of policy makers. I must admit these are very critical issues that have a strong potential of setting the pace of things for at least the next four to five years. The way and manner in which these issues are handled will, to a great magnitude, define the lives of not only the American people but also that of others in the world at large. In the pandemonium that has become the U.S Presidential race one issue seems to have eluded everyone’s mind, and that issue is the Environment.

According to the Carbon Dioxide information Analysis Center in the U.S America is the second largest polluter of the environment in the world (after China), with as much as 5,492,170 metric tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere in 2010 (accounting for about 30% of the world emission). At about 17 metric tonnes, America also has one of the highest levels of carbon emission per person. With such staggering numbers you would expect that the environment would take top priority, but no that not the case. The recent hurricane on the east coast I believe should be a wake-up call for those in seats of power, to further alert them of the situation at hand.

I did not realize the severity of the situation until my sophomore year in school. Back in the university I took a course titled “Natural and Environmental Science” to fulfill my science general education requirement; suffice to say I did not exactly signup for the class with enthusiasm. It was during that semester that my Environmental consciousness was raised significantly. I remember quite vividly being asked by our faculty to right a report on the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” by former American Vice President Al Gore. Initially I contemplated just coping off the internet or dubbing off the work of a friend of mine, but I did not. One Wednesday evening I walked into the library to get a book for an assignment, on getting to the check-out counter, there it was; the documentary I had dreaded was staring me right in the face. I wanted to walk away, but I decided to take the documentary and go watch it. I have to admit it was the longest one hour of my life. The documentary stirred such sympathy (for earth) in me I did not realize existed. The documentary was quite captivating, awakening and informative for me. I will not give a plot summary here because this documentary is like a Bond movie, having someone tell you the story line does not do it justice, you just have to see it for yourself. But get ready to feel very guilty of the many atrocities you have committed against mother earth.

America and the world at large needs to sit up and honestly tackle this very present problem called Global warming. We have already seen sea levels rising drastically due to the melting of ice caps in the arctic. We have also seen the intensity of major disasters such as hurricanes and typhoons increase to such tremendous heights, leading to great loss of lives and property. From the Tsunami in Japan to the series of hurricanes in the U.S, I believe it is time to really sit up and take action.

Here are some of the horrifying pictures I could find.

My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones and property during the recent storm, may the good lord in his infinite capacity fortify you with the strength to bear your losses. But as sad as the situation might be, I believe this is perfect timing.  Americans need to reevaluate their voting decisions and give the environment a higher priority. They need to ask their leaders more probing questions as to what their plan is for the future of the environment. Because it doesn’t matter how much wealth you can acquire for the next generation, if the earth becomes inhospitable they will not be able to enjoy it.


About Talka NG

My brain is all over the place, help me put the pieces back together.

Posted on November 4, 2012, in Environment, Global Warming, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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