Op-Ed: Hurricane Ian and the coming climate crash
Hurricane Ian brings a powerful storm to the East Coast — and puts the climate crisis squarely on the table.
There’s something very special about watching a hurricane come ashore. The wind shifts, the colors change, the tides rise — it’s a sensory overload. It’s a reminder that nature is not only an awesome force in our lives; it also shapes and defines us.
Hurricane Ian has just such a force. It’s not just an extreme weather event that, if left to its own devices, could go on forever. It is also a warning about the climate crisis.
In the face of extreme weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes — and in a time of political gridlock — it’s important to remember that not everyone lives in the tropics and subarctic.
Climate change is happening all over the world, and its human toll is not evenly distributed. One-third of the world’s population lives in regions where the average annual temperature increases by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. We are on pace to bring the average temperature in this region to 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today.
The impact of this is profound. From crop failure to species loss, the climate effects of this warming have created a humanitarian crisis in the developing world and led to millions of people suffering from inadequate access to clean water and nutrition. In many cases, the most recent extreme weather is the result of long-term climate changes.
Climate change has led to the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the expansion of seas around the world, and the emergence of new diseases, such as the Zika virus, Lyme disease, and the Ebola virus. Some of these changes, such as the expansion of sea ice around the world, were predicted decades ago. But others, such as the melting of the Arctic and the Greenland ice sheet, have been driven by climate change.
The effects of climate change may be felt in countries far away from the