Over the years, we have witnessed out fair share of disasters – both natural and man-made. These disasters have taken lives and displaced many, even leaving them scarred for life. While the country tries its best to respond as efficiently and effectively possible when disaster strikes, other factors can get in the way of public service.
Although politics should be far from everyone’s mind when talking about disaster preparedness, we can’t ignore the fact that it plays a major role in the creation of helpful policies and in ensuring that these agencies and services get the funding they need.
The executive order on climate change President Donald Trump announced Tuesday afternoon is an explicit attack on President Barack Obama’s efforts to fight climate change.
But it also implicitly denies we’re at risk from climate change in the first place.
As Bloomberg reports, the order — which you can read here — rolls back Obama’s executive orders and guidances that the government consider the costs of climate change–related disasters in planning and policymaking.
This is backward. If climate change is real — regardless of the cause — why not prepare for the costs and damage of it? We can already see the impacts. In January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told Vox that abnormally high tides in parts of the country have turned “from a rare event into a recurrent and disruptive problem.” There’s a clear need, the agency wrote, “to support preparedness planning … about future changes in sea level and associated coastal risks.”
The Obama administration made supporting preparedness a priority. And Trump is doing away with that priority.
Threats of disaster will remain a constant reminder for all of us to be prepared all the time. From our own homes to the schools and offices, we should have a disaster preparedness plan in place. And we have no choice but to always remain on our toes as global warming and climate changes mess up with our weather systems and make natural disasters worse than they did in the past.
That proposal is “the cornerstone for adaptation planning throughout the government,” according to Christy Goldfuss, managing director for the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality under Obama and now a vice president at the Center for American Progress.
Its effects ranged from the mundane to the radical. For example, the order directed the General Services Administration, which manages federal buildings, to make sure the government wasn’t signing long-term leases in areas likely to get inundated with floods, Goldfuss said. It also allowed different federal agencies to coordinate more far-reaching programs, like the relocation of communities most threatened by climate change.
But there are also some who do not share the same sentiments as President Trump and acknowledges the threat of climate change as something that is real and even more dangerous than what the administration gives it credit for.
Senator Dick Durbin, the ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, called Trump’s decision “a security disaster.”
“Climate change is doing more damage to American military assets than any bombing raid,” Durbin said in a telephone interview. “General Mattis is a realist when it comes to national threats. I hope that in a quiet moment he’ll pull the president aside and explain the reality of climate change and national security.”
Former officers echoed that criticism. David Titley, a retired rear admiral, said the national security risk was beyond doubt.
“The Department of Defense will be operating in an environment fundamentally changed by climate,” Titley, now a member of the advisory board at the Center for Climate and Security in Washington, said in an email. “Our bases and training ranges will be at increasing risk, and conflicts that may have remained as regional brush fires may burst into international crises.”
President Trump may not see the value and importance of addressing climate change issues but we are still hoping he will not compromise everyone’s safety by pulling out funding for these agencies that prepare for such eventualities. He may live in his high tower and feel comforted by his millions of properties, but in the end, they won’t be able to protect him in case Mother Nature gets fed up and unleash her fury to mankind.
Climate change may be a novel concept for him but as the highest elected official in the land, he must take all threats seriously and enforce security and protective measures to prepare for any possible disasters. By ensuring the safety and security of the public from all sorts of threats, that’s the best way for him to repay the trust entrusted to him by many – making his presidential win possible against all odds.