Bush Tours Town Wiped Away by Tornado

Yesterday, President Bush visited Greensburg, KS, the town that was decimated by a tornado last weekend.  The tornado reached speeds of 205 mph and spanned 1.7 miles as it destroyed 95% of the town of Greensburg and killed 11 people.  Ben Feller of the Associated Press called the tornado “the most punishing tornado to hit the United States in years.”

Bush wanted to meet with the people of Greensburg in the hopes of lifting their spirits.  At one point, he picked up a chainsaw, “ripping it into action for the cameras and other media that accompanied him.”

And I wonder, as he spoke to the people of Greensburg, what exactly did he say to them?  Did he promise federal aid?  Did he offer his condolences?  Did he reminisce about a time when he lost a prized family heirloom in some tragic act of nature?

Did he use the G W word.  No, not his name.   Global Warming. Oh, wait. I’m sorry.  He’d say Global Climate Change.  As if that is any different.

There is, somehow, a serious debate over whether or not Global Warming is occurring.  Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) has made headlines by calling Global Warming the “greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people.”  And some people agree with him.

Thankfully, the majority of Americans are warming up to the reality of Global Warming. According to a recent poll by Time Magazine, 85% of people believe the temperature has “been going up slowly over the past 100 years.”  Of those who agreed with that statement, 19% blamed the increase on nature, 31% blamed it on humans, and 49% blamed it on both.

So why aren’t Americans doing anything to curb the damage we’re causing to the planet, let alone anything to try and rectify the damage we’ve already caused?

My opinion: if it isn’t affecting your daily life, you don’t really care.  You don’t plan to visit Greenland, so why do you care if it suddenly turns green?  Hell, that would make for a better vacation spot anyway.

Certainly, you didn’t care about cataclysmic global changes occuring 100+ years from now, as was predicted in the 1980s and 1990s.  And, really, 25-50 years seems pretty far off, too, doesn’t it? 

And you don’t care if the polar bears go extinct.  Oh, you may complain and you may feign saddness, but in the end Americans care more about their oil that they do about a cute fuzzy animal that lives thousands of miles away.

But maybe, you’llcare about this:

  • A total of 91 tornadoes were spotted between May 4th and May 5th, the days Greensburg, KS was destroyed by a tornado.  (read more)
  • On May 9th, Subtropical Storm Andrea formed off the Eastern U.S. coast, becoming the third earliest named storm on Record. (read more)
  • A drought in Florida has, among other things, nearly dried up Lake Okeechobee.  Many water untility companies in Florida worry that the drought will put unbearable strains on the water pumps that provide water to homes. (read more)
  • A drought has hit the Western states as well, especially California, which Red Bennett, owner of Bennett’s Honey Farm in Fillmore, compared to the Oklahoma Dust Bowl.  (read more)
  • Meanwhile, many Midwestern states were deluged by floods.  Parts of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma were submerged by flooding rains.  The National Weather Service issued flood advisories for at least seven other states across the Midwest and South. (read more)

Did I cover all of the United States there?  No?  Well, I was pretty close.  And that all happened within the past week.  Let’s not go back a few years and talk about tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes (anyone else remember 2005 when we had so many named storms we ran out of letters to name them with?).

I’m not a scientist.  I can’t say these things are caused by Global Warming.  And I’ve already seen reports that Andrea, the first named storm of 2007, likely is not caused by Global Warming.  But still I defer to scientists.  From what I’ve seen, every professional, peer reviewed scientific journal article about Global Warming has said it is real, it is man made and it is very very very dangerous.  I’ve heard there are professional, peer reviewed scientific journal articles that disagree.  Sadly, no one has been able to find one for me.  So I defer to scientists.

And I defer to common sense.  Whether or not Global Warming is real, there is still the common sense answer to changing the ways in which we live.  I know I’m simplifying the issue, but basically we can choose from a number of different fuels.  Some are dirty and non-renewable.  Some are somewhat clean and non-renewable.  And others are the cleanest and the most renewable.  Common sense says, choose the cleanest and the most renewable.  Because they’re the safest option.  Because they’re the smartest option.