A trip for two to the destination of your choice. That is one of the prizes that my local NPR station offers during all of their fundraisers. As a sustainer (at a modest amount – I’m not a wealthy man) I’m automatically entered into all prize drawings. If I won it the choice of travel companions is easy: my wife. Until last week the destination, which would be her choice, would most likely be Hawaii. That made the news of last week particularly impactful, but it certainly doesn’t stop there.
For the benefit of my foreign readers, traveling within the continental United States is relatively easy and affordable. Most of us simply get in our cars and drive. (The Interstate Highway System, which was largely brought to us by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower and Tennessee Democratic Senator Al Gore, Sr. makes it very doable. Ah, the days of bipartisanship.) I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve been in 24 of the 48 continental states; keep in mind I’m not exactly a huge traveler. However, I have never been to Alaska or Hawaii. Hawaii is on the bucket and /or wish lists of most Americans.
Hawaii has a reputation of being beautiful and basically America’s paradise. Over the last few days, it has been the victim of wildfires that have destroyed many landmarks and much history. As of this writing (and I’m sure the number will rise considerably, in fact, probably by publishing) 80 people have lost their lives in the wildfires. At this moment Hawaii is not exactly a vacation destination.
This was an illustration of the real-life impact of climate change. To be fair many factors, some yet to be explored, contributed to the disaster. Like many things bad in life, it was to a degree a perfect storm. (Certainly, no pun intended!) While the effects of climate change alone did not cause the tragedy it did make it worse. The first industry we see reacting to climate change is the insurance industry. I’m not a big fan of it partly because it is the only industry we allow to openly discriminate. The cost of industry’s liability from the storms is rapidly rising. Again, several factors contribute but by far the largest is climate change. For some time now we have seen premiums rise astronomically and, in many instances, insurers simply pull out of markets. Ask most Floridians about homeowners insurance.
Climate change is real, impactful and left unaddressed it will win.
If the phone rings informing me that I won the trip to the destination of my choice what will be the destination? I’d have to ask my wife but at the moment it is much, much less likely that she will choose Hawaii.
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