Friday, September 22, 2017

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1580: Earth is shouting: Stop!

  The Earth is protesting. The Earth protests when terrible storms rage. The Earth protests when tsunamis ravage our coasts. The Earth protests when earthquakes shatter our communities. The Earth protests when fires burn our lands and homes. The Earth protests when waters flood our communities. The Earth protests when droughts invade our lands. The Earth protests when polar ice caps melt and oceans rise. The Earth is protesting. The Earth is shouting out in its most powerful language.

  The Earth is in great pain. The Earth is hurting something terrible. It is shouting out in pain from our abuse. The Earth shouts when powerful storms destroy. The Earth shouts when tsunamis rage. The Earth shouts when fires burn our lands and consume our homes. The Earth shouts when droughts make our lands unusable and ground waters scarce. The Earth shouts when oceans change. The Earth is shouting: “Stop! Stop!! Stop!!!”

  God gave humans dominion over the Earth. Therefore, humans are duty bound to be stewards of the Earth. That means we must protect and nurture the Earth. We have failed to protect. We have failed to nurture. Instead of protecting, we have attacked the Earth. Instead of nurturing, we have diminished the Earth.

  Hurricane Harvey was a mighty shout. Harvey was an extremely powerful storm that rained for four days and four nights over Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Galveston, Victoria, and other parts of Texas and Louisiana. Harvey just lingered while the rains poured. It was almost like in the time of Noah’s flood. Fifty-two inches in four days. More than a year and half of rainfall in just four days.

  So many streets flooded. So many homes under water. So many people rescued from danger. So many people in shelters. So many people displaced. So much damage to lives and property. So much disruption in the land. The media said it was a once in a thousand years storm.

  Then came Hurricane Irma just 10 days later. Never before have two such powerful storms hit the U.S. mainland in such a close time frame. And we are little more than halfway through the hurricane season. Irma was even bigger and badder than Hurricane Harvey. It battered the whole state of Florida and then moved into Georgia and South Carolina. We felt the effects in Alabama hundreds of miles away. It devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands and many other islands. Havana, the capital of Cuba, was under rushing waters. So much damage to so many places. So many lives lost.

  Hurricane Irma dealt havoc to Florida and Georgia. As many as fifteen million people were without power just in the U.S. Many homes were flooded. So much damage to the land. And all this with the eye of the storm missing the heavily populated areas. What if the eye had struck these population centers?  Irma is also a once in a thousand years storm. The combination of Harvey and Irma is a never-before happening.

  Hurricane storms are not the only forces of nature shouting. The tsunamis also shout. Tsunamis are long, high, series of waves caused by an earthquake deep in the ocean. These waves of turbulent waters can reach 80 feet high. When they hit land, they sweep away everything in their path. One tsunami erupted in the Indian Ocean in 2004 killing more than 300,000 people and damaging property in the billions of dollars. It was the most powerful tsunami in recorded history.

  The water one time, the fire next time. Fires burn millions of acres each year. The fire burn season is now two months longer than it was just a couple of decades ago. Fires disrupt and take lives. Fires destroy property. In 2014, 8.5 million acres were devastated in Canada. In 2016, 367,000 acres were burned just in one area on the Kansas/Oklahoma border.

  The 2010 Earthquake in Haiti took as many as 316,000 lives. It displaced millions of people. It was a terrible international disaster. In addition, there are so many earthquakes across the world even in areas that are not earthquake prone.

  Then there are the droughts and wetness. In the 2000 – 2010 decade, there were many areas that experienced droughts to a far prevalent degree than usual. They lasted for years. Parts of California had to ration water. At the same time, there were many areas that were far wetter than usual. Extremes on both ends of the spectrum.

  Polar ice caps are melting. Huge chunks are sliding into the Arctic Ocean. That changes so many things in ways we cannot fully fathom. However, we know it is not good for the world as we know it.

  The oceans are changing. Its waters are rising. Its waters are warming. The evidence is abundant. The Island nations of Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Marshall are on the verge of being swallowed up by the ocean. All the low-coast cities are experiencing rising tides. The warming waters of the ocean are fueling terrible storms.

  The Earth is a finely balanced organism. Every time one basic element of nature shifts even a little bit, the entire balance is thrown off. A shift of even a half degree in the temperature of the Earth shifts the whole balance of the Earth. The Earth is protesting. The Earth is shouting out in its most powerful languages: “Stop! Don’t hurt me anymore! Please Stop before I hurt you!”

EPILOGUE – Sometimes our parents speak and we don’t hear. Sometimes others in our lives speak and we don’t hear. Sometimes moments speak to us and we don’t hear. Sometimes the Earth speaks to us and we don’t listen. When we don’t hear those speaking to us, we suffer greatly.

  About the author: Hank Sanders represents Senate District 23 in the Alabama Legislature.

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