By the Editorial Board
On Tuesday, an earthquake of 7.1 magnitude struck Mexico just south of Mexico City, killing upwards of 250 people. This death toll is expected to rise still as the rescue efforts continue throughout the week. Less than two weeks ago, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, killing dozens and laying waste to thousands of homes. Since late August, four major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Jose, and now Maria) have ravaged the Atlantic, devastating countless people.
From the assessment and rescue efforts so far, there have been 83 confirmed deaths directly resulting from Harvey, 101 from Irma, 0 from Jose, and at least 18 from Maria, with more unfortunately bound to come after the full force of each storm has been felt. Because of the force of Maria, every single person in Puerto Rico is without power; no square inch has not been affected by the storm’s destruction.
Over the last month, more than 470 people in the Atlantic have been killed by natural disasters alone. With rescue efforts still being tirelessly extended, the death toll will unfortunately only rise as the days go by. Furthermore, there are billions of dollars worth of damage from these events, leaving an innumerable amount of people homeless and livelihoods crushed. The physical, financial, and emotional tolls of the past month’s worth of natural disasters is simply too high to count, too high to express in print, especially by individuals who are safely tucked into the tunnels in Buffalo, New York.
While it should be obvious that the cause of these events can be directly traced back to global warming, many people still don’t want to believe it. Rick Wiles, a radio preacher, stated on his show that Houston is underwater because it “boasted of its LGBT devotion.” Not long after, Ann Coulter, a political commentator, tweeted, “I don’t believe that Hurricane Harvey is God’s punishment for Houston electing a lesbian mayor. But, it is more credible than ‘climate change.'”
Rush Limbaugh took a different stance, stating that, “There is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it,” implying that the severity of the hurricanes was made up for liberal media hype.
Upon first glance, these statements are comical; how can individuals that so many trust have such bogus ideas unsupported by facts? Of course, it’s only funny until you remember how many people have lost their lives, homes, and livelihoods this month. It’s only funny when you don’t think about the billions of dollars worth of damage and the immeasurable emotional consequences.
The humor quickly drains away when the realization hits that people have been seriously affected by these events that many politically powerful people are recognizing as anything but serious.
According to a Business Insider article published on September 2, Trump told reporters at his trip to Houston to meet with survivors, “It’s been really nice. It’s been a wonderful thing. As tough as this was, it’s been a wonderful thing, even for the country to watch it, and for the world to watch. It’s been beautiful.” At the time that Trump shared these thoughts, there had already been 43 confirmed deaths from Harvey alone.
Of course, Trump was referring to the beauty of the communities and the brave individuals who have rallied together to face the devastation. However, paired with his vehement stance that climate change is a hoax, the statements shows our president’s true colors yet again; he does not fully understand or respect the severity of the situation that lies ahead of us. Scientists have confirmed that these natural disasters are just a part of the bigger “plan” that global warming has for us, and if we don’t act soon, tragedies will continue to devastate us and the rest of the world.
While some people are crying media fraud, some are blaming the LGBTQ+ population, and some don’t have enough empathy and intelligence in their bodies to feel any certain way, one thing is for sure: this is not the beginning of the end of the world. It’s just science. This is science that contains theories that have been proven time and time again with data and facts, not anger and fear.
Dave Kubal, a guest contributor for The Christian Post, wrote on September 7, “Is God saying something to us in the storm? Absolutely! Everything is broken, we need a Savior, we must pray, and God is merciful.” Furthermore he says, “…powerless to personally affect the outcomes of our circumstances, we cry out to God. We would not passively watch cancer ravage one of our loved ones; no, we pray.”
Kubal is certainly not wrong in his wish to reach out to his god for support during hard times; certainly, we all have a way of doing the same thing. However, when a family member is diagnosed with cancer, we don’t just pray. We get them the treatment they need and deserve. The same principle can be applied to climate change: worry and seek solace in whatever way is necessary, but understand that at the end of the day, you are not powerless.
When it comes down to it, we each are responsible for this earth and the people on it. Once we start taking this notion seriously, perhaps so many won’t have to lose their lives because of our carelessness.