Two record-breaking monster storms in two weeks reach the US. Is G-d punishing or warning us? Is this a reaction to Trump’s reign? Maybe for its racism? Or maybe more suitably, for not supporting the Paris Climate Accords? Some might say: perhaps. I would argue: really? And the monster earthquake that just hit Mexico is a Heavenly rebuke of them?
Why Do They Happen?
Such “readings” of G-d’s mind are wanting. The Rabbis only say: when something bad (almost) happened, examine your deeds. Ask yourself if this could be a hint that your or your community’s behavior needs an update. Just, if it is a Divine warning, let it not be on “deaf” ears!
However, there is another option, also for atheists. These are all known reason for these storms being more damaging and more deadly:
- Greenhouse effect: warmer seas: stronger winds, storm surges
- Greenhouse effect: warmer air: contains more moist, which gives more energy to storms
- Greenhouse effect: melted poles: higher seas, higher storm surges
- Greenhouse effect: melted poles: storms more often stalling
- Greenhouse effect: old equilibriums and buffering systems are beaten: more extreme chaotic weather; also: greenhouse climate accidents (fires, rotting in drying up lands – don’t drain swamps or tundras!) increase greenhouse warming (vicious circle)
- More population on the globe: more people to hurt
- Millions living closer to the coast than ever: more people to hurt; storm surges (together with tsunamis) are the greatest killers
- We ain’t see nothing yet; environmental disasters we experience now, are the first effects of a very slowly avalanche set in motion already years ago. It will take a long time too before we will see results from any climate improvement, slowdown of destruction.
What to Do?
Don’t blame G-d for human made climate changes, poor warnings systems for poor communities en poor building standards in poor and dictatorial countries. Where was G-d? Where was man?! (Besides, it is interesting that people who would never address G-d for praise or request, do turn to Him with complains.) NB: US flooding that kept the world busy for two weeks, coincided with one in Nepal, Bangladesh and India that’s dozens of times more deadly – where are the media?
So we can pray, but know what to pray for: Miracles to save innocent people, to let us escape results of old misbehavior; and promise we’ll care for all people, also inside dictatorships and otherwise poor.
If anything, Trump should build a wall with the ocean, not Mexico, though it might be cheaper to support Paris. Seriously, it’s preposterous to think that he will ever enforce a greener society. He’s on a four-year reelection campaign. He’ll only do things that speak to his traditional voters. It is true that conserving the planet fits very well a conservative economy, but then start educating not Trump but his base, because until they are convinced, it won’t happen on his “watch.”
You can beat your panic-brewed passivity and help stop the deadly heating up the environment by saying to people you love and from younger generations:
I promise you to help stop climate change.
Then you list what concrete change in action that means from you.
Keep repeating the promise and adding implications.
Those may include having others do the same.
Some touch questions may be asked: what are you willing to forgo: eating endless amounts of meat, driving a private car, having air conditioning, careless use of water, not throwing out your anti-activist passivity-promoting TV, all of these?
It took many years for things to get out of hand, so you may take your time to improve. How about a monthly new goal?
Another action is: to help stop hate, wars, hunger and sickness. The main cause of human death is human unhappiness. Listening to people with respect is a way to help humanity to survive. We can also ask and teach others to listen. Spread the word! Happy people are the best forces against hate, wars, hunger and sickness.
So don’t tell me nothing can be done. The above may take all your free time.