The New Plague: A Name Change for Climate Change
After reading the following article, http://www.voanews.com/english/news/environment/Climate-Change-Panel-Says-Expect-More-Extreme-Weather–144966925.html, titled “Climate Change Panel Says Expect More Extreme Weather,” it is hard not to make the immediate connection to the story of Pesach.
“The 594-page report is the work of 220 authors from 62 countries. It cites thousands of scientific studies. Enough is known, the editors say, to make good decisions about how to manage risks of climate-related disasters.” It discusses the prediction of these scientists that “While no evidence connects global warming with specific local weather event… warmer temperatures, boosted by CO2 and other gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, will trigger more intense droughts, heavier rainfall and stronger storms.” There is a high probability that weather during the past two years, including 1600 tornadoes that crisscrossed the United States, rainfall that was 80 percent more than the seasonal average in Thailand, and Russia’s hottest summer experienced in 500 years, is evidence of this shift. The IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri stated that “it’s very clear that heat waves are on the increase both in terms of numbers and duration” and “another important finding is the fact that extreme precipitation events are on the increase.” Not to mention that extreme weather disasters are cost $80 billion a year on average.
Having lived through some incredibly odd winters in NYC over the past two years, whether due to climate change or not, I think the issue is starting to creep back into the consciousness of regular citizens after several years of stagnation in terms of public discourse. I think Pesach is a perfect time to start up the conversation in our own communities. Although energy is consistently a hot topic (excuse the pun), climate change has been totally eclipsed by other issues. Maybe it needs to be rebranded because so the term global warming and climate change have both been so tainted by rhetoric and propaganda.
My suggestion is to just call it the “New Plague.” That way, whenever there is a snow storm in August, a hurricane in the Greenland, a flood in the Sahara, or a see level rise that overtakes small island countries, we can just say, “oh it’s that New Plague striking again.” We don’t have to think about why these events are occurring or event try to come together in order to create solutions for mitigation and adaptation. No, instead we can just pretend that it is G-d sending these events to serve a greater purpose.
The only thing I can’t figure out is the reasoning. Is there a metaphor here in that we are enslaved in some way and these events will free us?
Any clever suggestions would be appreciated.