To continue our discussion of the terrible Texas tragedy and lessons learned, I believe these lessons could become a turning point in America. Good policy should be developed to reform city planning, upgrade our infrastructures and support systems necessary to provide far better safety measures than are currently available in most cities and rural areas across this country. The catastrophes in Texas and Louisiana should become a teaching moment in American history, let’s call it “lack of planning vs planning for future storms”. 2017 can be our pivot towards long term planning for the health and well being of Americans, all Americans!
Clean air and clean water are not slogans. We need a strong Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has been devastated under Trump, and scientists to staff it appropriately again, study city and town planning and their water supply. It is especially important that Americans no longer acquiesce to bad policy; rather they should demand to be informed about all of the consequences to state and local leaders’ actions. Freedom to build on clay soil that can’t absorb flooding was folly. Freedom to build oil refineries and hazardous chemical manufacturing plants near a major population area was another folly. Americans have been put in harms way and we should be informed about these actions prior to building so we can do something about it. This is no way to run a democracy! We can do better.
In the case of Texas, where many of these industries have manufacturing plants, there has been little oversight. So when a catastrophe like Harvey destroyed cities and towns, leaving them without drinkable water and with toxic air, this calls for Texas’ leaders to make major changes. It’s time to consider responsible rebuilding, while acknowledging the potential effects of Mother Nature and mitigating against those effects. ( I also strongly suggest that they insist on large contributions to the recovery from the Oil Industry who benefits from both Texas and the Gulf as its home base.) If they don’t do it, “Houstonians” have two choices. They can continue to pay for flooding and toxic waste as insurance costs rise and live with continual flooding and disaster. Or, they can rebuild acknowledging thier risks and think and live smarter, which will be cheaper in the long run. “We the People” cannot be victims; we are survivors. We learn from our mistakes and then should move forward together!
We must begin to advocate for funding new weather satellites and oceanic studies, along with funding our scientists and engineers, and our own IT professionals in support of “critical infrastructure”. Let’s demand a Federal Budget and Institutions that do no harm and plan for our future survival by mitigating climate changes.
While these last few Posts have been about the Texas flooding, we should also consider the changing landscape of America as increased intense heat creates forest fires in the West, making once arable land unsustainable to future agricultural growth. Fifty years ago, who thought the North and Northeast might become the ideal place for renewing sustainable farming and vineyards. We may not have the land mass, but we do have empty factories for hydroponics. The time to think outside our comfort zone is now. The time to nurture and vote like-minded individuals with innovative ideas into our State and Federal government is now! I want a safer, high quality future for my children and grandchildren. I can’t afford to be complacent or selfish. Can you? Let’s move forward together!
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