Filed under: climate change, disasters | Tags: climate change, disasters, Reveal
Just a brief note. This afternoon, I was listening to the radio, and the show Reveal had a program called “Might Ike: A monster storm in the making.” It’s investigative reporting worth listening to, if you want to get away from California disasters a bit.
What got me in listening to it was the commonality of American–human(?)–experience. So few people think about disasters, whether they’re storms, earthquakes, fires, or whatever. It’s not just us, either. I’m still reading Robert Kelley’s Battling the Inland Sea: Floods, Public Policy, and the Sacramento Valley, and 140 years ago, they acted the same way. Even after they got flooded out, they thought it wouldn’t happen again. When it happened again, they thought it would be an easy fix. When that fix didn’t work…well, you get the idea, and you can see where California’s modern dam and canal system came from. Even though, back in the 1860s the Republican Party was the one that wanted to improve society with Progress and state-level programs, while the Democrats were the hands-off, suspicious of government types (180 degrees reversed from today, since the Democrats were the southern rebels), the attitudes were startlingly familiar to what we see today. We really haven’t come very far in the last century.
Since I’m a very provincial American, I don’t know if this brand of ignoring disasters is an artifact of American culture or a wider problem. Dare I hope it’s an American disease? The parallels with climate change are depressingly obvious. If developers in Houston can pack people into areas that will flood 10-20′, even knowing that another big hurricane is inevitable, (let alone build boomtowns in places that are already flooding, like Tampa), it’s hard to be optimistic that enough people will wake up on climate change until it’s way too late to do anything to ameliorate it.
But as always, I’m a pessimist. Whether you’re a pessimist or not, it’s a good hour of radio, and you can listen to it at the link. Let me know what you think about it.
3 Comments so far
Leave a comment