Eight inches of rain in eight hours. Not much compared to Harvey (51”) maybe, or Maria (20”). But enough to transform our sweet, docile Hazel River into a roaring, destructive torrent . . . uprooting trees and forcing them, cracking and groaning, down river. Judging from the debris tangled high in the remaining trees, the water rose at least 12 feet above the banks along this section of the river.
Some of us will be cleaning up for a long time to come.
Sadly, this will not be a one off. As Ellicott City reminds us, these events — so rare in the past — will become more and more common as we continue to fill the atmosphere will more and more carbon. This is our future. As carbon accumulates in the atmosphere so does heat, energy and moisture, making rain bombs ever more frequent and violent.
Of course, floods are not the only result of global warming. Wildfire, drought, stronger and more frequent hurricanes . . . the list of disasters from last year alone makes sobering reading. And the costs are astronomical: $306 billion last year.
Global warming is the greatest challenge facing us as individuals, as a democracy, as a planet. Bar none.
We need a government that recognizes this and acts for our benefit, one that recognizes the enormous, beneficial potential of an economy based on renewable sources of energy. After all, the one positive aspect about human-caused climate change is that if humans caused it, humans can fix it.
Instead, our current administration is irrationally attempting to prolong a death-dealing and moribund fossil fuel system. This comes at a great cost to us taxpayers.
We need strong leadership. We need state officials who work to protect the planet and we need to send a representative to Washington who understands our need to move beyond the ramshackle, doddering mind set of the past and embrace the vast potential of the future.
Meanwhile, friends, mind your culverts.