Disasters Are Us

by on October 10, 2017 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

By David Helvarg / Blue Notes – Blue Frontier

The Ocean is in trouble is a familiar refrain.

A year ago we seemed to be making some progress, but most of that is now being reversed. Denial of science and common sense solutions to existential threats like fossil fuel-fired climate disruption also put our lives and our future at risk.

That is why I can’t understand people like EPA Chief Scott Pruitt or Governor Rick Scott of Florida who refuse to believe NOAA scientists when they tell them climate change is real and impacting extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and wildfires but give full credence to these same NOAA scientists when they tell them that a massive hurricane that is heading west across the Atlantic will turn north in three days and so you should begin to evacuate people (credit to Dana Beach for this riddle).

Science is not Sirius Radio where you only have to listen to the station that you prefer.

The lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Super-storm Sandy in 2005 and 2012 were reflected in the early disaster response to 2017’s historic hurricanes and rain bombs but petered out by the time Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were devastated by Maria. At that point, the U.S. government failed to respond at the right scale and we have been playing catch up ever since.

I have long argued we need to build up our ground forces of disaster warriors – the Coast Guard, FEMA, USFS firefighters, CDC Rapid Response Teams and other frontline operators while also establishing a Disaster Response Command as the Department of Defense’s tenth Unified Combatant Command, given this is where the security challenges are growing most rapidly on a hotter more crowded planet.  Welcome to the Greenhouse century.

Also we need to rebuild our disaster zones with resiliency which would suggest Texas discover zoning – at least for its flood zones – and rather than sending thousands of diesel generators we should be shipping millions of solar panels into Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands so after the next storm you do not have island wide long-term power loss because you will have established a distributed localized grid.

For more on this check out my Sept. 26 opinion piece that ran in The Hill :

“We can do more for the first responders who risk everything.”

By Dave Helvarg / The Hill / Sept. 29, 2017

The images fascinate and appall us, unless it’s our own lives and homes being flooded, burned down and destroyed.

Across the world epic disasters such as hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria are growing in scale and intensity demanding battalions of skilled first responders. At the same time Canada and the Western U.S. have been battling fierce forest fires amplified by a weeklong record-breaking heat wave in California that included 106 degrees in San Francisco where the fog that usually obscures the city was replaced by a thick haze from the wildfires. The same heat wave set off the largest urban wildfire in L.A.’s history challenging firefighters ability to respond.

No one has any doubt that first responders are heroes. We see their bravery in the helicopter, swift water and urban rescues in flooded, hurricane-shattered communities. We know the danger air tanker and “hot shot” wild land firefighters of the West face, including the 19 who died in Arizona four years ago.

For the remainder, go here.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: