Climate Change and Coastal Destruction

Why is it that other nations see the link between climate change being a cause of coastal destruction of the type which devastated New Orleans and not the United States? In the most recent case, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has criticised the United States' record on combating global warming in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Warming oceans, rising sea level and sinking coastlines from the pumping of petroleum are all indicative of fossil fuels intensifying hurricanes.
The best explanation of the science behind the conclusion that global warming may have increased the intensity of Hurricane Katrina, and certainly will in the future, can be found on Real Climate – a blog by leading climate researchers. More fundamentally, the scale of the human endeavour is simply overwhelming the ability of natural ecosystems to continue functioning and providing our every need.
Indeed, the New York Times asks what about the next storm – echoing many observations made recently here. One would wonder how many ecologically augmented natural disasters it will take for the United States to realize their way of living is deadly, and by that time it may well be too late. Americans have proven themselves unwilling to think critically of their lifestyles if it means even minimal reductions in their material consumption. By and large Americans are a greedy, selfish bunch – so far detached from nature that they do not recognize it when it bites them on their ample butts.

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3 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    I couldn't agree with you more. Everyone needs to read or listen to a reading of Thoreau's “Walden”. We don't stand a chance as long as we keep “consuming” (read that as using and discarding) junk at such a furious pace-all for the sake of just having stuff. It's insane.

  2. Leila A. says:

    Are Americans the only greedy, self-centered humans on the planet? I agree that we're the biggest consumers. However having grown up partly in the Eastern Mediterranean, and watched how human development has nearly destroyed the ecosystems of the sea and mountains, I just can't agree that Americans are alone in their shortsightedness and greed. When you look at the concrete block towers ringing the sea, and the sewage and industrial wastes befouling its waters, you must admit that the inhabitants of the entire Mediterranean basin are damned fools. From what I read, the Chinese and the Russians are as bad or worse. The Indians. etc.
    I think people don't change until pain forces them to change. I do hope that Katrina and now Rita will wake up my fellow Americans.
    So many Americans are just incensed at the thought of global warming – some fellow just posted a long angry comment on my blog about the bad science of global warming theorists. I know of at least one Ph.D. in electrical engineering who believes global warming is a hoax perpetrated by evil liberals who want to take away everyone's freedom. Etc.

  3. Excerpts from recent Earth Meanders personal essay: Humanity's obsession with celebrity, status and wealth is a major component of the disease killing the Earth and her species including humans. I am concerned with the direction Al Gore, as the self-appointed climate movement leader, is taking — emphasizing celebrity and inadequate small personal responses, to the detriment of grassroots inspired major cultural change necessary to save the Earth. Anyone thinking climate change will be solved without personal sacrifice and societal change is guilty of wishful delusional thinking of the sort that has caused the climate change crisis in the first place…

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