If we were having coffee today I’d be lamenting our lack of coffee sharing lately. I’d end with the “it’s not you, it’s me” explanation.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about, but a few weeks ago I found myself glued to the weather channel watching news about my hometown Houston and Harvey. Then I was closely watching the doings of Irma … and even now, Maria’s course is still a bit of a question mark regarding the NC coast.
Ah, hurricane season. Global Warming? Maybe. I’m not a naysayer but I’m also not firmly in the “we humans are totally screwing up our world” camp either. I think the earth is a much bigger engine than we give it credit for. Sheesh, thirty years ago scientists were saying the exact opposite: we were causing a general cooling trend, possibly starting a new ice age. Nobody made a movie about that though. If you follow planetary astronomy, you’d know that the ice caps on Mars have been in decline as well. We’ve thrown a lot of trash at Mars but I don’t think we’ve created emissions yet. Maybe there are solar causes for some of this? I don’t know.
Nobody talks quite as much about the massive loss of tropical rainforests … probably because they are out of our control. I think they have a bigger effect on the global climate engine. And don’t get me started on contrails … sometimes half the clouds in the sky are contrails. Should be cut emissions? Sure. Couldn’t hurt. Save the rainforests? Definitely. Those are the scrubbers of the emissions. Recycle? Sure. But I had to wonder when my local program started just saying separate THIS, but not that … just put it all together. Okay, makes me wonder if that stuff is actually being recycled. Recycling depends on available markets for the materials. But I still recycle. Why? I have curbside recycling but not curbside garbage pickup. If I recycle, I cut down the solid waste I have to haul to the local garbage place by more than a half. Whatever works, right?
But back to the hurricanes. We’ve always had hurricanes. Ever heard of the port of Indianola? Probably not unless you’re from Texas. Even then, probably not. It was once the second most active port in Texas. It was thriving. It was the county seat. It had a nice huge courthouse. It’s gone. It was destroyed twice in the late 1800s. In the 1870s, it was pretty awful but it was rebuilt. In the 1880s people sort of said, why bother after a massive storm really whacked it hard. All that remains are a few foundations and headstones. The county seat was moved and most of the town was reclaimed by the sea. Granted, if you follow hurricanes and the Texas gulf coast they built the town in the exact worst place. Countless storms, including the massive Carla in 1961 and this year’s Harvey would have hit it again.
I live about 200 miles inland from the NC coast. It’s far enough to not worry too much but close enough to take notice anytime a storm is out there. I’ve lived here almost thirty years … one storm whacked us pretty good inland in the mid-nineties.
Everybody I know in Florida did okay through Irma. Most people I know in Houston came through okay, and those unlucky few are alive and working through the rebuilding process. Global Warming? I don’t know. It seems to me that blaming Global Warming outright for a bad storm season is sort of along the same lines as saying God is punishing us for this or that. It’s just a bad storm season. Keep your eyes on the sky and a few extra cans of something for an emergency. Oh, and coffee. I wish I had a gas stove.
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in NC