Editorial: Be ever vigilant

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Our plan was to take a break from all the talk about hurricanes and Barbuda and touch on something a bit lighter.  Notice that we used the past tense in our opening sentence because that plan had to be tossed out and revamped when we saw the news that there were two disturbances in the Atlantic that have the possibility of forming into something more severe.
It was not the news that we wanted to hear or communicate but it is news that we must all heed and be prepared to take action.  The early afternoon report from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, referred to “a tropical wave located about 1100 miles east of the Windward Islands,” said to “have become better organized”.    The bulletin continued, “Environmental conditions are conducive for development, and a tropical cyclone is expected to form over the weekend.”
Not yet impressed?  Well, “Tropical storm or hurricane watches could be issued for portions of the Lesser Antilles on Saturday, and interests in those islands should closely monitor the progress of this system.”  Oh great!  We just put away the shutters and now we might have to bring them out again.  Hopefully, by the time you read this, it would have all fizzled (fingers crossed).
And, guess what?  Behind that wave is Tropical Depression Fourteen.  A slow moving storm (9 knots) that will have days to develop in the warm Atlantic Ocean.  It is still too early to predict the path of this storm but we need to keep a keen eye on both of these weather patterns. 
Whether you are a climate change believer or denier, we should all accept that this is an active season and as such we should remain on guard.  We have been lucky twice!  But luck is one of those things that eventually runs out.
Unfortunately, we are one of the small island states that is at great risk of climate change.  That’s right, we believe the scientists!  According to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, “The two dozen island nations of the Caribbean, and the 40 million people who live there, are in a state of increased vulnerability to climate change. Higher temperatures, rises in sea level, and increased hurricane intensity threaten lives, property and livelihoods throughout the region.”  With the passage of record- breaking Hurricane Irma, many of those boxes, in that paragraph alone, have been checked.
The thing about denying the existence of climate change that we do not understand is that it is akin to disbelieving the weatherman about hurricane forecasts. Sure, they are never perfect but as we said recently, it is better to prepare for the hurricane that never comes than to experience the one for which you not prepared.
So even if you are one who wants to deny the existence of climate change and all the scientists that vouch for its existence, and even if you want to say that the statistics and evidence are meaningless because of weather cycles, wouldn’t it be a good plan to prepare anyway?  Take some action, just in case?  And, just as it is prudent to prepare for a forecasted hurricane, wouldn’t it be foolhardy to dismiss the possibility of climate change?
Aside from the obvious, one of our biggest gripes with all of this climate change talk is that the ones that deny are the greatest contributors, and the ones that will feel the impact greatest, such as little ole’ Antigua & Barbuda, can do little to nothing to change things.  Our contribution to global warming and climate change is miniscule so there is little we can do. 
To put it in perspective, according to a 2014 study of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and some industrial processes, about 70 percent of global emissions were from just five countries (China, the United States, India, the Russian Federation, and Japan) and the European Union.  And deny all you like but the 10 billion plus metric tons of carbon emissions annually cannot be good for our environment.  There must be some repercussions as Mother Nature seeks to correct the damage inflicted by man.
It is amazing how a plan for something light could turn into a weather warning and then into a rant about climate change.  But then again, writing is like a road trip – plans often meet with detours.  Not to worry, it is the journey and not the destination that matters.

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