Wildfires, murder hornets, flash floods, hurricane Irma, super storm Sandy, brain eating amoeba, water shortages, and earthquakes are all things that sound like the premise for a blockbuster disaster movie. Up until 2019, these types of movies were my favorite genre. I was an avid fan of the Weather channel and storm chasers until that became a dangerous line of work and ultimately cost people their lives. Watching "what if" scenarios were compelling until the “what if” became the reality when parts of New York City became submerged under water after Sandy. Climate change is real and always has been and these are just some of the events that have happened in recent times to prove naysayers wrong.
We have known for quite some time that our abuse of mother nature would prove to be detrimental for future generations. That is now catching up with us in record time. During this past week my area had an unprecedented amount of rainfall in a short period of time. The rate of rain was reminiscent of what you would see in the South yet even in traditionally rainy seasons, the amount of rainfall is causing catastrophic flooding conditions. Most recently parts of Tennessee received an unheard amount of rain totaling approximately 17 inches. Most experts are in unison in their beliefs that this is due to man-made induced problems to climate change. We are consistently moving the bar forward in creating more drastic events. Over 20 people were killed in that rainfall and many more are still missing. This is not normal and many fear that it could be too late to change the trajectory of the path we are on. Could it be and does that mean mankind should give up and continue to abuse mother nature and its inhabitants?
Art Imitating Life
Disaster films used to traditionally include some last saving grace to rescue all of mankind or at least those lucky enough to make it to the safe haven. What about those who cannot? Having seen the film Contagion which bears striking similarities to the world wide pandemic we are currently in, should we be surprised about our present situation? Probably not considering that we have had Ebola, Swine flu, Bird flu, Zika, and H1N1 viruses to name a few. Strong storms, super tornadoes, and drastic weather events depicted in two of my favorite films Twister and Day After Tomorrow have been occurring more frequently in recent years. Catastrophic earthquakes and volcanoes erupting are also themes that made for good movie film office numbers in Hollywood. Instead of actively taking these as signs that something was terribly wrong with our environment, we as humans forged ahead and further destroyed our planet. We have little regard for endangered species as we continue to hunt just for fun. More can and should be done to protect our wildlife, oceans, and things within our control now. It begs the question, do we value our natural resources and have we learned our lessons from the past? In short, the answer unfortunately is no. Our brazen overconfidence and down right self- serving actions have exacerbated issues and in many cases accelerated the climate change problem.
So what comes next? More education on ways to protect and improve the environment. More debates from big corporations and other entities seeking to earn huge profits with no consequences to how their actions impact the environment. Humans have proven all throughout history our recklessness. Whether it is creating weapons of mass destruction to outdo others or using biological testing to create bioweapons. We have been selfishly hunting and killing off wildlife out of convenience or greed for decades. One has to ask have we pressed our luck one too many times and is the damage done irreversible? We have the tools on hand to combat modern day viruses, save wildlife and improve known factors that impact climate change. The question is do we unite together globally to do so or continue on the same path of annihilation with more catastrophic natural events and even deadlier viruses. Acclaimed marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson said, “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” The imminent threat is, how do we get back to appreciating the world around us before it is too late?