Monday, August 17, 2020

#230 / Derecho

I am a confirmed subscriber to Heather Cox Richardson's daily blog, "Letters from an American." Generally, Richardson delivers an analysis of the latest political and governmental news. It's free to subscribe, and I definitely recommend subscribing. Apparently, Richardson has over 500,000 subscribers at the present time, so I am obviously not her only fan. 

In her letter dated August 14, 2020, Richardson commented not only on politics (specifically on the president's assault on the United States Postal Service), but on the weather, too: 

In all the political craziness, the devastating storm that hit the middle of the country on Monday has gotten less attention than it should have. The storm was a “derecho,” and brought wind over 100 miles an hour. Iowa appears to have lost 43% of its corn and soybean crops; 15 tornadoes in Illinois left 800,000 people without power. In Iowa, four days later, 250,000 are still without power, and roads remained blocked.

A "derecho" is a "straight-line" windstorm. In Spanish, "derecho" means "straight," or "straight ahead." According to Wikipedia, derechos can cause hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash floods. 

We are all preoccupied with politics (for good reason), but I think it is likely that the most serious challenges upcoming will be weather-related. Global warming is upsetting the conditions that we have assumed were stable and "normal." Our current arrangements for our lives together have left us largely unprepared for the Natural World to start being not only an unreliable ally, but an actual opponent. Witness what the coronavirus has done, worldwide. 

Let's start thinking now about how we can organize ourselves to survive the results of the global warming that our human activities have unleashed. Crop loss? That means less food. And this is just a warning. 

There is no time to waste, and we should not be under any illusion that someone else, some government agency, for instance, is going to solve our forthcoming problem for us while we continue on with our lives as they have always been organized. 

A "forthcoming" problem? I guess I didn't get that quite right. The problem I am talking about has come down upon us already. It is a problem we are starting (only starting) to experience in the here and now!

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