It’s time to face the reality of climate change

Photo by James Hill

James Hill

Texas received a biblical sized flood, a hurricane about the size of Texas made landfall in Florida and Montana literally looked like hell on Earth. Now is the time to talk about climate change.

Houston was ravaged by torrential rains from Hurricane Harvey. Harvey dumped more than 20 trillion gallons of water onto Texas, the heaviest rainfall for a storm in the continental United States, according to the National Weather Service.

Almost immediately after Harvey dissipated, a monster storm set course for Florida. Hurricane Irma is the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. At its peak, it was 785 miles wide, which is about the size of Texas. It had sustained winds over 185 miles per hour for more than a day with gusts over 200 mph.

Florida was saved from catastrophic damage due to Irma hitting the Caribbean and Cuba first, but Florida still took a massive hit from Irma. Millions are without power and the death toll is slowly rising. Already, Irma has left 22 Floridians dead.

The Western states are burning to a crisp as well.

There are currently 49 wildfires in 11 states. There have been over a million acres of land burned in Montana alone. The smoke from these fires reached across the entire United States. The smoke from these fires caused the sky and sun to be a very odd orange color on Labor Day.

Dr. Bruce Johansen, a UNO professor of communication, has written several books about environmental subjects and his newest, “Climate Change: An Encyclopedia of Science, Society, and Solutions,” releases later this month. “Heating does not create hurricanes, but it does enhance them,” Johansen said.

“Heating also enhances drought in areas that are prone to it, even as total worldwide moisture goes up. This is why we can have drought and deluge at the same time in different places.”

Some prominent conservative voices claim climate change is just media hype or the result of government experiments.

InfoWar’s Alex Jones claims the government is creating storms with “weather weapons” to manipulate the weather. Jones, in his infinite wisdom, said the government uses “weather weapons” for population control and reducing the food supply. He also claimed NASA is allowed to kill citizens in the name of weather modification.

Rush Limbaugh, a slightly more credible conservative talk show host, said the media companies over-hype storms for ratings and helping out retail outlets.

“There is a symbiotic relationship between retailers and local media, and it’s related to money,” Limbaugh said. “The local media…reports in such a way as to create the panic way far out, which send people into these stores to fill up with water and to fill up with batteries, and it becomes a never-ending cycle and the two coexist. So the media benefits with the panic with increased eyeballs, and the retailers benefit with the panic with increased sales and the TV companies benefit because they’re getting advertising dollars from the businesses that are seeing all this attention from customers.”

Johansen said Limbaugh was a fool for believing this. “Limbaugh has had a loose relationship with the truth for decades,” Johansen said. “He’s such a fool. He (and Donald Trump) own mansions at Palm Beach within a few feet of high tide. The ocean is slowly rising and the land is sinking. These are verifiable facts. Temperatures are rising and that closely parallels the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. This is a fact. In a century or so, sea levels may be 25 feet higher. Palm Beach mansions will be fish food.”

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, told CNN on Sept. 11 that it “is very, very insensitive” to talk about climate change during major storms. Johansen believes otherwise.

“There has never been a better time to have this conversation,” Johansen said. “Pruitt has spent his entire adult life as a fossil-fuel apologist. Now he has turned the EPA into its Orwellian opposite, a home for Earth Plundering Assholes.”

Even though climate change is massive in scope, the average college student may do some really simple things to reduce their carbon footprint. Johansen suggests taking an inventory of how you could reduce your CO2 emissions. “Ride a bike to school and stiff the parking bureaucracy,” Johansen said.

Climate change is not a matter of opinion. It has been scientifically proven over and over again.