Creation Care #2

Basic physics and climate

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall and destroyed many homes and property in Louisiana. We were part of a Mennonite Disaster Service team that went down to Pointe-Du-Chene. What we saw were boats and sheds and other debris scattered willy-nilly over the bayous. Homes had already been built 12-feet above the ground on stilts, but they were not high enough to keep the waters out. Many trees died when their root systems were drowned, covered by salt water.

More recently, Hurricane Ida resulted in vast destruction along the shores of the U.S. We observed a number of critical factors:

  • The storm moved across very hot water in the Gulf of Mexico – increasing the intensity of the storm
  • This storm was the fifth all-time strongest storm to hit the mainland of the U.S.
  • In the past seventy years, the United States has averaged three land-falling storms a year; Ida is the seventeenth in the past two years. (Bill McKibben, New Yorker, August 30, 2021)

The physics of climate are clear:

  • Warm air can hold more water than cold air can.
  • In warm, arid areas you get more evaporation, and more drought, and more fire. (Consider this past summer’s fires in B.C. and dry conditions on the prairies)
  • Water evaporated into the atmosphere comes down: more flooding rainfall.
  • Energy is being trapped near the planet’s surface because of the carbon dioxide that comes from burning coal and gas and oil.
  • The impact is melting ice sheets, rising seas, more violent storms.
  • The higher the temperature goes, the worse the storms will get. (Bill McKibben)

Reduction in Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

  • Scientists are calling for a reduction in CO2 emissions as a way to reduce or at least maintain the global temperatures and slow up any negative impacts.
  • McKibben suggests two ways to do that: organize so that the governments will listen to concerns for the earth and reduce fossil-fuel use.