Article by John Parks | Photography by Joshua Eller | Owl Staff
It was a windy, cold, and gloomy day when Josh and I drove to the Eastern Shore only days after Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, hit on October 28. Our first destination was Assateague Island where we spoke with the Science Communicator of the park, Kelly Taylor.
Taylor was in the midst of various clean-up efforts. When we asked how long it would be until the park would be fully operational, she explained, “since there’s word of another nor’easter on its way, we may still be doing a lot of the same work in a few days, so we are still unsure.”
I thought to myself, “How could we be getting another tropical storm this late in the year?” Could it be just a coincidence or evidence of climate change?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Data Center, 2012 will go down as the third-warmest summer on record for the entire United States. In September alone, the U.S. suffered from a string of tornadoes left in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, leaving thousands without electricity and even some without homes to return to. Pairing that with the warmest conditions that Colorado and Wyoming had on record, scientists like Bill Mckibben think something is seriously wrong with our current climate conditions.
McKibben explains, “It’s really important that everybody, even those who aren’t in the path of this storm, reflect about what it means that in the warmest year in U.S. history, … in a year when we saw, essentially, summer sea ice in the Arctic just vanish before our eyes, what it means that we’re now seeing storms of this unprecedented magnitude.“ He continues, “If there was ever a wakeup call, this is it.”
Will these weather patterns continue? And what are some effective things fellow citizens could do? If we don’t lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and continue to neglect clean alternative fuel sources, our global climate will continue to worsen.
So, the real question is, why is our country not investing in clean technologies such as solar, wind power, hydroelectricity, or thermal energy? Are our politicians more concerned with financial or political gain than the future of our country?
According to PBS, in 2005, George W. Bush pocketed more money than any other politician from the oil and gas industry while simultaneously signing legislation that gave $14.5 billion in tax breaks to big oil, gas, nuclear and coal companies. And after the BP spill in 2010, according to the New York Times, President Obama allowed BP to drill offshore “as deep as ever and moving to open up new regions like Alaska’s Arctic waters.”
If we can manage to bail out and give handouts to big oil, banks, and automotive industries, then why can’t we use tax dollars to support cheap, renewable energy sources? As a country, it’s time to take a stand. Call your senators, get vocal online, or better yet, go out and protest the government’s stance on big oil and its lobbies.
Aren’t you tired of paying $4.00 a gallon to destroy our planet?