Greg Gunner, left, kisses his grandmother Mabel Bishop, 99, on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas, in their home that was damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Gunner carried his grandmother, stricken with Alzheimer's disease, out of the house as the floodwaters rose, telling her they were going fishing to try to keep her calm. He voted for Hillary Clinton in November, and says the country's political divides have left him with little faith in the government's ability to get things done. But he believes the storm that wrecked his town is a preview of what global warming will bring if the nation's divided political sides don't find common ground to address it. 'The intensity of the destruction taking place these days, there's something going on. I think it's a wake-up call, to say, hey, what's important? What's really important?' he said. 'Are you going to work together, or are you going to pull each other apart?' Photo: David Goldman / AP

By Claire Galofaro
15 October 2017

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (Associated Press) – Jefferson County, Texas, was drowned by more than 60 inches of rain during Hurricane Harvey, which left wide swaths of the county in ruins. Last November, Jefferson flipped from voting Democratic in presidential elections to instead back Donald Trump, who has dismissed the concept of climate change as a hoax and has worked to undo regulations meant to mitigate its damage.

Scientists say climate change doesn't cause hurricanes but that warming and rising seas supercharge those already forming. Some who lost everything in Harvey's floodwaters say they're starting to take the threat of climate change more seriously now, and they want Trump to show more leadership on the issue. But this is a place that depends on the petroleum industry, and others applaud Trump's efforts to reverse environmental policies that they see as harmful.

Here are some of the voices from the rebuilding in Texas.

"IT'S A WAKE-UP CALL"

Greg Gunner slumped down on his front stoop and dropped his head in his hands, feeling for the first time since the flood claimed his home that the weight of his troubles might overwhelm him.

Day after day, he had tried to keep smiling as he pulled up the carpets and tore out the baseboards. Inside the damp house, his 99-year-old grandmother, stricken with Alzheimer's disease, lay in bed in a white nightgown and his 74-year-old mother's joints ached from rheumatoid arthritis. […]

Gunner, a Democrat, believes the storm that wrecked his town is a preview of what global warming will bring if the nation's leaders don't find common ground to address it. There have always been storms, he said, but nothing like this.

"The intensity of the destruction taking place these days, there's something going on. I think it's a wake-up call to say: What's really important?" he said, but the country's political divides have left him with little faith in the government's ability to do anything about it. "Are you going to work together, or are you going to pull each other apart?" […]

"I WONDER WHAT WE'RE DOING TO THIS PLANET?"

Joe Evans watched from his window as the rain stretched into its second day and the flood started lapping up into his yard, and he wondered if it would ever end.

In that moment, the Beaumont Republican was overcome with an unexpected sense of guilt: "What have we been doing to the planet for all of these years?"

Evans once ran unsuccessfully for local office as a Republican. He ignored climate change, as he thought Republicans were supposed to do. As an African-American in the GOP, he said, he felt like he needed to "out-Republican the Republicans."

"I wasn't going to go near it," he said of environmental issues. "In the short-term, it didn't have any effect on me, at least I thought it didn't, so why would I even go down that rabbit hole?"

Evans voted for Trump, though reluctantly. He assured himself that Congress would keep Trump from doing too much damage.

"What has he really done up to this point? Nothing," Evans said. But he does think the president could make a difference if he acknowledged climate change as a reality and tried to rally Republicans to find a way to apply conservative principles to simultaneously saving the Earth and the economy.

"He's able to move people in a direction that most leaders can't," he said. "So if he wanted to take up the issue and say, 'There's something to this, guys,' the people will probably listen." [more]

Texans hit hard by Hurricane Harvey rethink climate change

0 comments :

 

Blog Template by Adam Every . Sponsored by Business Web Hosting Reviews