With Hurricane Dorian claiming at least 30 lives in the Bahamas last week and making its way towards the states, the country waits for the impending destruction it will bring. Destruction that, as of late, the United States has become all too familiar with.
It seems as if every day brings with it a new natural disaster. This may partly be because the emergence of social media and the ability to connect with people from all over the world in real time has exposed us to when and where disasters are taking place and the immediate damage. But, the truth may lie with a policy issue that some individuals still claim is a hoax: climate change.
Look, I’m no Greta Thunberg, but there just comes a time when so much scientific evidence is available that it becomes naive to ignore the facts. NASA and the U.N. have conducted extensive research and have entire websites designated to inform people on the issue. Two very credible sources that have the money and resources to dive deep into the problems our planet is facing.
At this point it is just point-blank undeniable. Sea levels are rising, the earth is warming and the ice caps are melting.
These contributing factors have all led to a perfect storm of severe natural disasters that are happening at a seemingly increased rate all around the world.
Climate change may not be the initial cause of a natural disaster, but rather a factor that intensifies them at a deadly rate. Lives and livelihoods are destroyed and communities are left to pick up the broken pieces of what once was.
With the last two years bringing forth some of the costliest natural disasters we have ever seen, this opens up a new dilemma for politicians and economists alike. How do we pay for these disasters?
Rising financial burdens caused by natural disasters that are taken on by the government pressures our elected officials to start taking the climate change conversation seriously. It’s not unreasonable to expect FEMA to run out of designated funds. It actually happens more years than it doesn’t.
When the money Congress allocates to FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund is exhausted, additional money must be appropriated. These supplemental appropriations often rack up billions of dollars. Needless to say, natural disasters are tragic for individuals and a government's economy.
The layered budget and funding dilemmas that will be thrust upon our nation’s politicians will lead them on a quest searching for an end to the bottomless money pit that natural disasters result in.
With what seems to be an ever growing occurence of more severe natural disasters, what will our politicians be doing to address the problem and negotiate a solution? Along with growing pressures from constituents and their needs to access relief measures paired with the budget crisis we are currently seeing in Washington, it’s time we see real change being introduced through climate policy. Hopefully before it’s too late.