It’s Tuesday November 17, 2020. Heavy snow is falling in the mountains, our first of the season. My morning has been spent researching articles on the emerging climate crisis and its future affect on our children and grand-children. A break for mid-morning caffeine brings a thought about how alike the issues of COVID and climate are.
At first both were denied, both were called a hoax, both were thought to be invented by the news media, both were dismissed by many as made up in spite of all the scientific data that strongly suggested both were real and both were dangerous, and both were killers.
As most know the virus has ended the lives of some 250,000 Americans in just 10 months and the promise of many more deaths seems a certainty.
While death is so final the struggle of millions to fight off the disease has not been fun for many. We seem to lose sight of this suffering in the fact that so few die in relation to the ones who are sick. Being sick has never been fun and spending 20 or 30 days in the hospital fighting for our lives is certainly no joy.
COVID is now killing 800 per day in the USA and still we have deniers. Climate, too, has killed many. Fires incinerate villages, hurricanes ravage our shores, floods wash away victims, and heat and drought bring many to respiratory failure, and still we have deniers.
Some argue that the climate has always been changing and that virus has always been around. During the early months of COVID we were told the flu was far more deadly, killing an average of 40,000 Americans. We were told that doctors and hospitals were distorting the cause of death in order to receive higher reimbursement and we were told that the scientists manufactured and manipulated the information on climate to get more money for research.
While we were being told these stories we were actually being lied to all along about how dangerous was the virus and that climate was not an issue but just some wild weather. Much of the west and southwest receives less than six inches of rain a year and the rivers and aquifers that supply much of the needed water have dried up and yet we continue to move toward harm’s way in ever increasing numbers.
Millions have moved south and west in the past several decades and scientists are beginning to see an explosive migration away from these areas as people realize the physical and emotional costs of rebuilding in fire and storm zones that only promise more death and destruction. Cloudless skies and constant sunshine are nice but with no rain the dryness becomes fuel for drought and fires just like large gatherings of unmasked people are fuel for the continued spread of COVID.
Some call it a right to not follow the rules about masks, distances and gatherings, just as many call it a right to rebuild in a fire, flood or storm area. All of our rights also come with responsibility. Today another 800 Americans died including an infant baby, a 3-year-old, a grandma and the nurse who tried to save her.
Is it too much to ask to trust science? We trusted the politicians and look where we are.