Scientists have told us that global warming is real, and they have described many of the catastrophic results, but as a country, we are unprepared. Many are in denial. When the devastating effects begin in earnest, where do we go for help? The government will have few answers, and help may be a long time in coming as the government rushes to develop resources and plans that should already be in place.
The thing I find the most alarming about the COVID-19 response was the lack of equipment and safety gear for our health care providers. One might well mistake us for a third-world country. What we hear from the experts is that the system was not designed for such an event. And I ask why not? They knew it was a definite possibility, and we barely avoided some earlier outbreaks of disease in Africa. The flu of 1918 with more than 500,000 deaths in the US is well documented. Our government was warned many times by health organizations about the real possibility of a pandemic, and still we were unprepared.
Last year, my son and his wife watched a movie about a pandemic that they related to me when they were visiting. I remember telling him that my worst fear was not an attack from missiles launched by North Korea or some other country. My worst fear was that someone would enter the US with a highly contagious disease and it would spread throughout the US before it could be contained. And now that fear is being realized, just as I imagined it. The US was not prepared for such an occurrence, and I do not think it is prepared for the effects of climate change. I lived through hurricane Irma in Florida when it ravaged the state, and it was not a pleasant experience. But I think that event was minor compared to what the future will bring.
You have probably heard the quote “Chance favors the prepared mind.” The actual quote in a slightly different form is from Louis Pasteur. He said, “In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.” I think it is time for all of us to be prepared because the alternative is now staring us in the face. In response to the coronavirus, rather than a minimal shutdown and quick response, we are facing extended shutdowns, enormous disruption to business and families, and deaths in the tens of thousands. Let’s not go down the same path for global warming and climate change. The effects are real and are already happening, although for many they are now just an inconvenience. Soon devastating effects will be felt throughout the world and for many it will be a matter of life and death.
If you find yourself inconvenienced by the COVID-19 restrictions and the store and restaurant closings, think about life without shelter, electric power, mobile-phone reception, and food and water. This is not just a possibility; for many it will be a reality. And it will not be just the people in some third-world country. People cannot say they weren’t warned; scientists have been shouting out the dangers for over a decade. What is missing is a serious response and preparation on the part of the government.