If you break it you own it. Where have we heard that before? Lots of places: Our parents; Colin Powell; the lady who owns the china shop. But, are they just words that we have heard so many times before that they have lost their meaning?
Climate change? Are those words also overused? Just ask the residents of the Midwest whose towns were destroyed this year by early tornadoes, for I can say with total certainty that if we would not have been warming up the earth those particular tornadoes would not have gone through those towns on those particular days at those particular times. There would have been other tornados on other days in the south, but in other places at other times. But people would be alive today that were killed by those storms if the earth hadn’t been warming up!
We used to believe devastating weather events were “acts of God” that were out of our control. Now the chance events that lead to a killer tornado are not “acts of God” but acts of man for we have changed every bit of weather that would have happened by raising the earth’s temperature and adding energy to the atmosphere. From here to the future we have changed the weather for better or worse.
Now we are rolling the weather dice and countless lives will be changed in ways we will never be able to predict or understand. The only simple truth is that we broke the weather, and now we own it. We own every life that has been changed, every sorrow that is different then it would have been, every joy that is lost forever. We own it all.
I said we own the weather for better or for worse. Even in the terrible tragedy of the tornadoes, some people did indeed do better. An example is the increased orders for tornado-safe rooms, but do we want to keep rolling the dice and see who gains and who loses?
If you could snap your fingers and change everyone’s life, would you do it? It would mean that some people would be alive that would have died in accidents. Others would be dead that are now alive. Some would be married to different people and some would have different kids. If countless lives would be different — would you do it? Even if you had no idea of how everything would change?
In my next blog I’ll write about why any change in the climate will be bad for most people.