Nonbelievers No-More: Hello Climate Change

When I first saw the Hollywood production of The Day After Tomorrow, I was entranced. The thought of a global natural disaster on a gigantic scale was terrifying, yet also bewildering. A look into what happens when the population is unprepared for the worst, but perhaps how to make best of what is left. A parallel to our society today, and with the recent events of Hurricane Sandy, a quite literal comparison.

Watching Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast this past weekend, all I could think about was the Hollywood representation of the disaster, and how fiction was becoming reality. Naturally, this was only one massive hurricane, and not four or five, as we see in the movie, but I couldn’t help but think that maybe that is what we can expect for the future of our planet.

While I send my heart to all of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, including my family, as most of my relatives live in the New York area, I couldn’t help but want to scream and blame our entire country for causing such massive natural turmoil. To all of you non-believers, welcome to a world where climate change DOES, very truly, exist.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a group of leading scientists from all over the world that come together every five or so years to summarize their observations and data on climate change. While a conservative group of publishers, in their 2007 report, they published this statement on natural disasters:

“Based on a range of models, it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and more heavy precipitation associated with ongoing increases of tropical sea surface temperatures.”

If this doesn’t scream Hurricane Sandy, I don’t know what does. These are not mystical fortune-tellers, these are scientists with facts. So stop being afraid of graphs and numbers, and read the words. Climate change is here, and it is irrefutable.

In a recent article published in Business Week, Paul Barrett makes a similar observation. He explains Hurricane Sandy a scientific perspective that economists and other non-climate enthusiasts can understand.

“The broadening consensus: “Climate change amps up other basic factors that contribute to big storms. For example, the oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms. And the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture, which is drawn into storms and is then dumped on us.” Even those of us who are science-phobic can get the gist of that.”

His words are fluid and clear. They prove an inevitable truth: we should have put climate change in a context that everyone could understand decades ago. Quite simply, Barrett claims, “If Hurricane Sandy does nothing else, it should suggest that we need to commit more to disaster preparation and response.”

Hollywood gave us an imaginative representation of large-scale climate change with The Day After Tomorrow, but new leaders like the IPCC and Business Week, among the many others, will help us prepare for the realistic climate change of the future. I beg you- do not be ignorant of what is here, take a stand for the planet you live on. We deserve to all live healthy, beautiful lives on this Earth, and it can start with you. It’s our turn to have the happy, hopeful ending this time.